The Incarnation, Eucharist, and Community

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : March 14, 2005

I have an article up on read it here.

for further reading . . .

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6 Responses to “The Incarnation, Eucharist, and Community”

  1. Bryan on March 14th, 2005 10:50 pm

    Just wanted to ask you and others who may read this to say a prayer for my wife. She is nearly seven months pregnant and has begun contracting and dilating (still very early). She is on bed rest. For more info, you can go here.

    Thank you so much.

    By the way, I so wish we had a “Pub Night” here. But, it’s the Bible Belt, so I had better not count on it. Have a great night. I am checking out your article.

  2. Van S on March 15th, 2005 8:45 am

    God bless you and your wife. Do you know if the baby is going to be a boy or a girl?

  3. Mike T on March 19th, 2005 9:03 am

    As I have read through blogs with a Christian theme or tone I keep coming across buzz words like “missional”, “emergent church”, “progressive”…where have I been, but this is all new to me. I started doing some web searches on these words and ame across the center for progrssive chritianity who have at their core the following 8 points:

    1. Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus;

    2. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us;

    3. Understand the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus’s name to be a representation of an ancient vision of God’s feast for all peoples;

    4. Invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to):

    believers and agnostics,
    conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
    women and men,
    those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
    those of all races and cultures,
    those of all classes and abilities,
    those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope;

    5. Know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe;

    6. Find more grace in the search for understanding than we do in dogmatic certainty - more value in questioning than in absolutes;

    7. Form ourselves into communities dedicated to equipping one another for the work we feel called to do: striving for peace and justice among all people, protecting and restoring the integrity of all God’s creation, and bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers; and

    8. Recognize that being followers of Jesus is costly, and entails selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege.


    The 8 Points
    Original Version
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    By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who:

    1. Proclaim Jesus Christ as our Gate to the realm of God

    2. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the gateway to God’s realm

    3. Understand our sharing of bread and wine in Jesus’s name to be a representation of God’s feast for all peoples

    4. Invite all sorts and conditions of people to join in our worship and in our common life as full partners, including (but not limited to):

    believers and agnostics,
    conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
    homosexuals and heterosexuals,
    females and males,
    the despairing and the hopeful,
    those of all races and cultures, and
    those of all classes and abilities,

    without imposing on them the necessity of becoming like us;

    5. Think that the way we treat one another and other people is more important than the way we express our beliefs;

    6. Find more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions than in the answers;

    7. See ourselves as a spiritual community in which we discover the resources required for our work in the world: striving for justice and peace among all people; bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers;

    8. Recognize that our faith entails costly discipleship, renunciation of privilege, and conscientious resistance to evil–as has always been the tradition of the church.

    Would these points also describe church movements that describe themselves as “missional” or “emergent”? I’m trying to get a handle on these new concepts…


  4. Mike T on March 19th, 2005 9:07 am

    Sorry, posted 16 points…don’t feel compelled to answer twice :)

  5. Van S on March 19th, 2005 10:41 am

    Not necessarily. I have difficulty with some of the language of the points you’ve shared. I’m pretty exclusivistic in that I think Jesus is the only way…

    “Missional” and “emerging” have their own specific meanings. Often, they are lumped together to generally signify “newfangled” approaches to doing church…a sort of more liberalized evangelicalism. I don’t use the words in that way.

    For me, “emerging” is a broad word used to describe the various original new approaches to understanding and doing church that have seemingly “emerged” at different places (mostly in the west) at roughly the same time. There is a tendency among most of these “emerging” movements to get back to a lost flavor of an older Christianity (a re-emphasis on discipleship or a re-emphasis on sacraments, for example), as well as a fresh emphasis on the ways we can be more relevant to culture. Many of these new emphases have started out of a reaction against the perceived brokenness of typical evangelicalism or the brokenness of the mainline denominations.

    For many within the emerging movement, this shift has required a change in one’s theological understanding of the nature of the church. This is where people begin to draw off of postmodern thought, since many of the problems within the established church have their source in their over-indebtedness to modernist thinking.

    Some have drawn from “missional” thought. The missional movement started with the inssight that our western culture is now post-Christian, and that we need to treat it as a mission field. This movement understands that the church’s mission isn’t merely a pragmatic outgrowth of our beliefs, but is based in the belief that God is a missionary. God the Father sent the Son. God the Father and the Son sends the Spirit. God the Father, the Son and the Spirit sends the Church (Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8). We express God’s activity to the world. So just as Jesus is the fullness of God embodied in a human being, the missional church follows Jesus? model, emboying the fullness of God as a new way of being human for the sake of the world. This theological approach resists the notion that the church is merely an institution that exists to get people saved, but puts a new importance on the nature and function of the church. The church doesn’t DO mission. The church IS mission. We are part of God’s expression of saving love to the world. We participate in the Trinity’s work.

    What both of these ideas look like in practice is up for debate. But these ideas of “missional” and “emergence” are challenging the assumptions of what it means to be the church.

  6. MIke T. on March 20th, 2005 7:52 am

    Thanks for you clarification/explanation. Frankly, I have a lot of problems with the eight points I listed…particularly with the idea that there are many ways to God; however, the reason I posed the question on you blog is because you share some of the same language as some other blogs I peruse. see:
    The author(s) of these blogs would hold to many (if not all) of these points but call themeselves emergent/progressive/missional/sojourners. A couple of questions come to mind when I hear about challenging the staus quo of the practices of the church: are the practices being scrutinized in light of the word of God -ie, what is the foundation of such an evaluative process? Are doctinal truths being supplanted in the name of cultural relevance?

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