This is my personal blog. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the congregations or presbytery I serve.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Emerging Christianity Conference

Day Three, cont'd.

Brian McLaren continued to work on finding the unity beyond duality. The early church exhibited a non-dual inclusiveness. What went wrong? Different models presented themselves until the experiment was aborted with Constantine's "solution," which was to reassert the homogeneity/hegemony model. The cross had been a sign of oppression and violence which Jesus subverted and turned against itself as a sign of liberation. Constantine sees it as a sign of conquest... and the church bought into it.

At the heart of the struggle for Christian identity today is the meaning of the biblical narrative. The creation-fall-redemption framework is largely assumed, even though it is inherently dualistic and imperialistic, based on Greek philosophy melded with Roman politics. It reflects Constantine's "assimilate or be destroyed" (ie. "the Borg") plan: imperialistic, violent, exclusive, and dualistic.

He reiterated a buch of stuff from his recent book, especially how we have learned to read the Bible backwards, through the subsequent tradition, and that it would be more fruitful if we could read the Bible forward, recognizing Jesus in his full Jewishness.

The emerging church has three resources in this: 1- a 3-dimensional, expanding biblical narrative, 2- a social understanding of the Trinity: perichoresis, interbeing without absorption, communion without conversion, one-anotherness, preserving difference in unity. 3- the gospel of the Kingdom which is non-dual: us-for-you, us-with-you.

The afternoon workshops I attended: the one on art and drawing was helpful in getting us to use both sides of our brain. But the one on ritual I found to be not as helpful and pretty lame. There was a lot about ritual and ceremony generally, but little was done to tie it into either the rest of the conference theme or the biblical narrative. Furthermore, I feel we needed to hear some practical application, like how to integrate different kinds of ritual into our local experience, and there was none of that. So that was frustrating.

The evening session was a "Lamentation." I did not see the point to this in the schedule but I went anyway. It turned out to be a kind of lament/dance of old white people/boomers, which I didn't have much patience for. Just about everyone here is fairly privileged. I could see a lament for the Earth or a lament for the poor, and some of this did come out. And I understand that we all have stuff that has slapped us down and disappointed us over the years. And I see how suffering is kind of the doorway to a non-dual mind. But we need to celebrate what is emerging. This could have turned into a giant whine about the church we have lost, and I get enough of that in my normal life. But it didn't. So I was ambivalent.

More to come....

1 comment:

John Edward Harris said...

While there is no specific point I want to comment on, I do want to thank you for the first hand reporting and accounts.