Posted by secondchurch on December - 8 - 2017

Thoughts from Pastor Mark

“Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise.” Karl Rahner
Rev. Matt Carriker, our guest preacher on Sunday, is lead pastor for a church without a building. They sometimes meet on the Brandeis University Campus, sometimes in a yoga studio or art gallery, sometimes in peoples’ homes, and sometimes in a park. Leadership may change each week. The shape and size of the congregation change each week. And their form of worship changes regularly.

If you read what I just wrote, you might discern that Second Church shares some of the qualities as Pastor Matt’s congregation, The Agape Spiritual Community, namely the latter two items – at least somewhat. Resiliency is the name of the game in the emerging church.

I have intentionally asked Matt to preach during our worship service and teach at the forum following worship in Advent. Advent is a time of waiting and longing; and some of the church has been waiting for change for years – from “The way we’ve always done things” to “Who knows what?” I’m praying that Matt takes some of the fear factor out of the waiting … anticipation of change’s unknown being the most difficult part of waiting.

What I think you are going to hear from Matt is that Second Church is becoming a new church that could survive and even thrive in the changing landscape of ministry. Our biggest challenge is our willingness to adapt to the dynamics of our culture, to the point of allowing things to get messy, which in my experience makes some Second Churchers wacky!  

Some of what we will hear from Matt is that the Emerging Church is rebuilding spirituality from the bottom up so that new organic forms of Christianity can take the place of worn out institutional expressions – forms that people “own” as their own, forms that we can teach to others … so that we can relearn how to propagate the gospel. What once was inherent in faith-sharing has died so we have to begin some faith practices anew.

Here’s what the Franciscan Richard Rohr offers a rather excellent description of what he and others see from Emerging Christianity:
Jesus is a model for living more than an object of worship.
Affirming people’s potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.
The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments.
Gracious behavior is more important than right belief.
Inviting questions is more valuable than supplying answers.
Encouraging the personal search is more important than group uniformity.
Meeting actual needs is more important than maintaining institutions.
Peacemaking is more important than power.
We should care more about love and less about sex.
Life in this world is more important than the afterlife (eternity is God’s work anyway).

If any of this makes sense to you, you are already inside of Emerging Christianity. I hope to see you Sunday when we talk and pray more about Advent Church!

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