Sunday, November 13, 2005

Emergent Conversation Day : The Holy Spirit in the Emerging Culture

Yesterday half a dozen or so of us from hOME went across to St Albans for a discussion day, looking at the subject of the place of the Holy Spirit in the emerging church/culture.
Jason Clark and I facilitated the day with a few minutes of input from the two of us at the start of play to get the ball rolling. we both shared our stories and how we had come to be having this conversation.
my take on it was really about wondering why, as i connect with people from the emerging church and alternative worship scenes, that i keep coming across so many people who could perhaps be described as being 'post-charismatic' i.e. "I used to be into all of that 10 years ago but i've moved on now" - that sort of thing. and i wondered whether the two things (i.e. emerging church and being post-charismatic) necessarily went together.
there was some very helpful discussion about babies and bath water - and how perhaps people had rejected charismatic spirituality becuase it had become so closely identified with a mono-cultural expression of christianity that in distancing yourself from that culture you also distance yourself from the essence of the spirituality behind it because the two have become so intertwined.
so i shared about becoming concerned with some of the things i had witnessed over the years in the charismatic/pentecostal movement - using two phrases - 'revival fatigue' and 'spiritual viagra' - to describe what i had seen. i am particularly concerned about how a purely charismatic spirituality (i.e. ignoring the other traditions) can so easily lead to burn out i.e. it is not sustainable.

i suggested there were two possible responses (although there are probably more):
1. adopt (and integrate charismatic spirituality within) a more 'preaching-centric' view where long term spiritual sustainability is acheieved through a basis in regular biblical exposition or
2. seek to integrate a charismatic spirituality within the liturgical-contemplative tradition to offer increased sustainability.

i said that hOME was exploring the second of these options - we are investigating a spirituality that emerges at the intersection of the liturgical/contemplative (in new forms) and the charismatic. unfortunately we don't seem to have come across too many others attempting to explore that territory.

all in all it was a good day. i was pleased we attempted an open-source approach with people writing up their questions on post-it notes and then self organising them on a wall - leading us into small group discussion and then feeding back.

i thought we lost our way a little bit in the afternoon with the feeding back session. it was probably a little on the long side and also it felt a little like we were struggling to stay on the subject and avoid a general discussion about the emerging church in general.

1 comment:

Matthew Francis said...

Sounds like a very worthwhile time together... found your site through Baker's, through Pomomusings in the States. I lived in Manchester for a couple of years 99-01, and was in on some of these type of conversations then. The Spirit is always more active than we could imagine.