Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Our First Gathering

We had a great first meeting last night. Albeit, there were only three of us, it was quality conversation. We got to talking about epistomological crisis and how to navigate one. I mentioned this qoute by Stanley Hauerwas, a theologian and editor of a book entitled Narrative Theology.

"The solution to a genuine epistemological crisis requires the invention or discovery of new concepts and the framing of some new type or types of theory which meet three highly exacting requirements.  First, this in some ways radically new and conceptually enriched scheme, if it is to put an end to epistemological crisis, must furnish a solution to the problems which had previously proved intractable in a systematic and coherent way,  Second, it must also provide an explanation of just what it was which rendered the tradition, before it had acquired these new resources, sterile or incoherent or both.  And third, these first two tasks must be carried out in a way which exhibits some fundamental continuity of the new conceptual and theoretical structures with the shared beliefs in terms of which the tradition of enquiry had been defined up to this point." pg. 11

We discussed the future of the eastern Iowa emergent cohort, we commiserated with our ideas we are afraid to mention in other circles, we had good coffee, Jesus was there. Please join us next time. We are looking forward to what this can become. We are taking it slow and focusing on the conversation. That reminded of Brian McLaren's emergent evangelism idea to count conversations instead of conversions. We decided to trust God with the outcomes.


Stephen said...

Hi! I was excited to see a group like this is forming. I hope to be able to join you at your next meeting.


Stephen Pradarelli

nancy said...

Here's some of our conversation on this topic from Monday and maybe some of my extended thoughts too...

One word that gets tossed around to describe this phenomenon is "liminal space". It is the time in between, the phase where what was doesn't work anymore and what you are becoming is not clearly defined.

For many of us, what "was" in regards to our understanding of faith, Christianity, and church doesn't work anymore. We have moved from a modern epistemology to a post-modern epistemology - in other words, we make sense of the world in a different way; instead of "knowing the truth", having the answers, believing in a set of propositional doctrinal statements - we articulate our faith in more organic, relational ways, and questions are often more important than answers.

This new space we live in can be unsettling at times (again, if you haven't read A New Kind of Christian you'll find a familiar story of the process of undoing modern faith), especially if you have been brought up in the church of modernity.

Which brings me to a recent observation - a lot of the writers of the emergent discourse and a lot of the people I connect with are around my age, 41 +/-. We're the generation on the cusp. We see and feel the shift. We are in the midst of this epistemological crisis.

Perhaps for the emerging generation, they reject the church because it has been a modern construct and the rest of their world is post-modern. They need to create churches/faith communities that are post-modern, but the power is still held by the modern/older structures and persons. We older persons, who are often in leadership positions, are trying to make this shift and create new faith communities as we learn to articulate Christianity in the language and culture of post-modernity.

Lon said...

Nan, you promised I could borrow that book. ;)