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The Upstart Christian Sect Driving Invisible Children


glintofpewter
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http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/mission-from-god-the-upstart-christian-sect-driving-invisible-children-and-changing-africa/255626/1/

 

A complex article about the Emerging Church, Uganda, a progressive theology - I hope you can access it.

 

Excerpts:

 

"America has wrapped itself around the cross, and that is blasphemy," Russell told me. "Our point is, let humanity be the identity; then just join with humanity."

...

 

The Emerging Church preaches, in its uniquely deconstructionist way, what it claims is Jesus Christ's original, true message, seemingly lost long ago: that God lives in each person, that the Kingdom of Heaven is here on Earth now, and that faith is not belief but an action and spiritual state of being to be experienced creatively, through human relationships, and by raising questions.

 

"There are a lot of us who would agree that we need to re-focus on Jesus's core message, which is very, very different from what a lot of Christians have focused on," Brian McLaren told me in a recent interview. Members of the movement don't necessarily seek the answer to life's questions or even believe those answers necessarily exist. "It has a lot more to do with what is God's will for the planet, and how do we human beings start cooperating and addressing each other.

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The Emerging Church preaches, in its uniquely deconstructionist way, what it claims is Jesus Christ's original, true message, seemingly lost long ago: that God lives in each person, that the Kingdom of Heaven is here on Earth now, and that faith is not belief but an action and spiritual state of being to be experienced creatively, through human relationships, and by raising questions.

 

 

Great message. Good news.

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http://www.theatlant...frica/255626/1/

 

A complex article about the Emerging Church, Uganda, a progressive theology - I hope you can access it.

 

Excerpts:

 

"America has wrapped itself around the cross, and that is blasphemy," Russell told me. "Our point is, let humanity be the identity; then just join with humanity."

...

 

The Emerging Church preaches, in its uniquely deconstructionist way, what it claims is Jesus Christ's original, true message, seemingly lost long ago: that God lives in each person, that the Kingdom of Heaven is here on Earth now, and that faith is not belief but an action and spiritual state of being to be experienced creatively, through human relationships, and by raising questions.

 

"There are a lot of us who would agree that we need to re-focus on Jesus's core message, which is very, very different from what a lot of Christians have focused on," Brian McLaren told me in a recent interview. Members of the movement don't necessarily seek the answer to life's questions or even believe those answers necessarily exist. "It has a lot more to do with what is God's will for the planet, and how do we human beings start cooperating and addressing each other.

 

I really don't know what to think of this. While I agree with some of the above sentiments, I'm not wild about the idea of using hyper-emotionalism to "sell" a cause.

 

I watched the Kony2012 movie, and it was indeed compelling and very well produced, filmed, etc. Too bad it danced around the truth.

 

I don't know. Truth matters to me. I had the same feeling when I discovered that Henri Cartier-Bresson, my Photojournalist hero in college, faked some of his famous photographs. I still enjoy his photography, even though I know he set some of them up rather than wait for that "decisive moment."

 

Is the so-called "Emerging Church" better than traditional Christianity? You say potay-to, I say potaw-to. It's still a hallucination to me.

 

What's wrong with doing the right thing just because it's the right thing? What's religion got to do with it?

 

I don't need Jesus to tell me that starving children ain't cool.

 

NORM

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I'm like you, Norm - I don't know what to think of this either. I too have watched the Kony video and donated to the cause, because I think it's one of many things worthy. But after learning the above it does strike me as weird that Christians (whether fundy or emergent) feel that they have to 'hide' their beliefs to get people on board. If they are so driven by Christ, I'm not sure why the reticence concerning their motivation.

 

Do they think people won't care as much about the Kony injustice if it's highlighted by Christians?

 

Of course it is a good thing to fight against such an injustice, but I'm unsettled by the 'stealth' so to speak. Why is/was it neccessary?

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If they are so driven by Christ, I'm not sure why the reticence concerning their motivation.

If this were bait and switch I think this would be a concern but they are not offering soup and a sandwich if you listen to a sermon and they are not a front for capitalism I think. They just want to be about the work inspired by Jesus and Micah and Amos.

 

I think it is similar to the evolution of democracy, which owes much to Christianity, and which John Keane calls the first human government because it owes nothing to gods. Democracy has crossed a threshold and so perhaps has Invisible Children.

 

They want real change in a real world.

There are a lot of us who would agree that we need to re-focus on Jesus's core message, which is very, very different from what a lot of Christians have focused on

 

 

Dutch

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I hope you're right, Dutch, and much of what the article says does seem to indicate that.

 

Maybe it's just me, but little phrases like "We are able to be the Trojan horse in a sense, going into a secular realm..." don't sit well with me. It seems to be saying that people have to be 'fooled' into caring. But perhaps it was just a poor choice of words by Russell.

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My thoughts, that first, thismovement does seem driven by emergence of a generation from with tradtional evangelical Christian background that are, very much like many of us here, questioing, rejecting, things that have gone wrong in the church, being drawn to focus on Jesus's message of Christians as workers for peace and justice in the world..

And, that shying away from being labeled or identified as Christian, I think given the 'images' so much of Christian religious have put into popular thought, there is a determination to make it clear this is a break away from that. And yet, again like many of us here, there are things from those evangelical Christian roots from which these people have arisen they aren;t ready to,can't, just entirely turn loose of...

I see it as a potentially powerful 'transitional' movement within a shifting religious/spiritual consciousness...

 

Jenell

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Like Dutch, I want to believe that these people are working from a pure inspiration, and not the bait-and-switch. I like to believe that there are people out there who work and help and support because it's the right thing to do, as opposed to a way to (potentially) convert people.

 

I think the message they are spreading is a good one, though. God lives within us, the Kingdom is in the here and now, and faith is action, not lipservice. It's hard to find fault with that. If it gets people thinking about other people, and stirs their desires to be of some good to suffering humans, then why not. The Christian church has a long-standing tradition of helping the poor, the suffering, the sick, and the needy - it doesn't always have to come with a Bible in the face.

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Just for a reference point, here is a more local view:

 

 

EMERGING: e-merg-ing (ĭ-mûr’jĭng)

1. newly formed or just coming into existence

2. to come forth into view

3. to rise from an unfortunate state

 

Land of the Sky United Church of Christ is a newly formed community of faithful people. Many of us grew up in the church, some of us are new to church–all of us believe that the church of the past does not have to define the church of today. We are committed to taking the best of our traditions, incorporating transformative life-giving practices into our community and our lives, and letting go of the institutional baggage created by centuries of dogma. Like the prophets of old, we are committed to living justly. We seek to love our neighbors with the compassion and mercy of Jesus Christ, and to live simply, in harmony with God’s creation.

 

http://landoftheskychurch.org/emerging/

 

 

For me, this is what I grew up with, and why I struggle at times seeing the world any other way.

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Norm wrote: "While I agree with some of the above sentiments, I'm not wild about the idea of using hyper-emotionalism to "sell" a cause."

 

The fact is, hopo-emotionalism generally translates in apathy....humans are naturally lazy thinkers, apathetic creatures of habit and routine, and whether viewed in context of historically, major social changes and cultural shifts, or even in the lives of small communties or even individuals and personal relationships, people can go along a long long time 'waiting' for something to change, that gets worse and worse, but as it does, they just get more and more comfortable, apathetic, perhaps pessimistinc, nothing can change, make a difference.

 

From Ghandi and the situation he addressed in India, to the outspoken activists of our own country's abolition, suffrage, and civil rights movements, it has taken a major uprising to incite emotions to bring about action toward change. Without that, I doubt we'd ever have gained the ground we have in those areas. And without an occasional booster shot, we'd still likely slip backwards in apathy.

 

 

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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I agree with Jenell. It's unfortunate, but not everyone is able to intellectually assess a partcular situation. Appealing to the emotional side is a common way to get people to pay attention. Think of the commericals for programs like World Vision, for example. The message "help a sick, starving child" is moving, but paired with the image of a crying baby, it's a lot more powerful. People have a real, almost visceral response to that - it's guilt-inducing.

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Could anyone here link this quote to this board?

 

 

Micah 6:8

 

New International Version (NIV)

 

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

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Like dutch, I would say I do relate to it, in how I interpret matters of my faith, and how I would hope to be. And, perhaps, it does reflect something of the basic perspective of at least many that would consider themselves progressive or liberal Christians.

 

Further than just the excerpted quote itself, when viewed in context in Micah, it is posed as in contrast to other ways people may think to please god, such as through observance of religious rituals and legalistic practices, or by some 'guilt/repentance/atonement' process.

 

Jenell

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Actually, i have wondered if the name chosen by these people, "invisible children', may have a signficance not so immediately obvious as how it might be applied to the neglected plights of abused and exploited children in the world, one that is actually more 'defining' of what they feel they are about, in a sense of self-identity.

 

I recall having read, i think in some older works by past theologicans and christian thinkers, reference to what were called "the hidden brethren", or the "hidden church." This was in reference to people who were not in their outward appearances to others, or by church and/or social standards as applied to their lifestyles and behaviors, recognized as being "true believers", valid Christian brethren, often even overtly excluded from the church and religious community, but who in their hearts, and in truth in their walk, are truly beleivers, and even surrendered and committed to God's service.

 

Jenell

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