Why I am emerging: An inclusive way to believe

Part 5 in a series on the emerging church

The rest of the series:
Part 1 – Come, emerge with me
Part 2 Why the emerging church does not exist
Part 3Why I am emerging: A new way to believe
Part 4Why I am emerging: A hopeful way to believe

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The Christian religion, denominations within Christianity, and individual churches often operate as though their particular structures are strong castles that must be defended against enemy attack. In some ways this is understandable. These institutions hold sacred beliefs that are valuable to those involved. Many of these beliefs might even be worth defending. However, the emerging church is not a religion, a church, or a denomination. In some ways it is not even necessarily Christian. In fact, as we’ve discussed, the emerging church does not exist. And this is one of its great advantages. The emerging church has nothing to defend. Nothing to fight for. There are no gates to lock people in or out. Now, this does not mean there is nothing sacred, nothing valuable to those within the emerging church. It simply means that the emerging church is not an object to be held. Rather, the emerging church is something to be given away. It is a conversation. It is for anyone and everyone. No one is excluded. And no one holds all the power. I view the emerging church as a large table. A table where all are welcome. There is always an open seat. While there may be reasons for churches, denominations, and religions to create rules for participation, there are no rules in the emerging church. The conversation is open to all – and the conversation is a friendship.

Let me explain this a little. In many ways, religions, denominations, and churches can never be safe places. Too many things are held sacred. And when those sacred beliefs or practices are challenged, there are those who move in to protect the sacred. This can happen in very simple ways. Someone might question the Bible and be quietly corrected. Another person might express a lack of faith and be told to pray for more faith. These are subtle ways that sacred beliefs are protected. Rather than opening up the question of the Bible’s authority or allowing doubt to coexist with faith, these possibilities are suppressed. This is just one kind of example. There are many. I’m not saying the emerging church is simply a place to doubt. Instead, I’m saying that the emerging church is a place for open conversation without the restricting confines of the walls often found in religious institutions. And hopefully the emerging church also impacts the institutions by creating safe places for conversation among those who may be part of these important institutions.

Does this make sense?

In short, I hope the emerging church is an inclusive and safe place to believe/disbelieve while having conversation about matters related to faith in today’s world.

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