On a Friday night and Saturday morning in October 2013, Dallas pastor Danielle Shroyer shared with the Fellowship about what has engaged her in Emergence Christianity and what has enabled the growth of her Emergence church called Journey.
To watch a recording of Danielle’s Friday night talk, click here.
Both sessions were well-attended and the questions for Danielle were earnest and plentiful. Danielle talked and shared late into the night on Friday. Although designed to end by 1:00 pm on Saturday, she spent until after 4:00 pm (when she had to leave for the airport) talking with Fellowship Partners. The discussions with Danielle ranged widely. One example was about the centrality of Jesus and Christianity to her own and her church’s work. Danielle is well read and appreciative of differing spiritual and personal growth paths and programs, from Enneagrams to Ken Wilbur. She indicated explorations of such varying avenues are wide open in her community…but that “Sunday belongs to Jesus.” This is where the Fellowship is also – being open to small groups and discussions on different spiritual paths. We encourage any discussion during the week and the development of small groups around them. Discussions need not be limited to the Covenant, though facilitators of such discussions would be Covenant signers. On Sundays we become more intentional on keeping the focus on the Covenant in our public witness for worship and programs. Another question was around Danielle’s views on the nature of Jesus. Her own views were different than ours. But the varying beliefs were looked at as less important than what they enabled her to take away from them. Her convictions enabled her to feel God’s presence in every moment…even the darkest ones…and that sense of God’s immediacy in the human experience is something we could appreciate. In discussions with people of a different, or even the same, Christian denomination, we might find new dimensions of sharing in listening to how they feel that their beliefs help them be more Jesus-patterned in the way they live and interact. We can expand that process to include non-Christian religions and the growing category of Nones (those with no religious affiliation.) In such instances we may listen appreciatively to how their convictions assist them in:
- affirming the value of their life and others
- encouraging them in times of stress or moral ambiguity
- offering hope in the face of despair
- enabling forgiveness and compassion towards themselves and others
- finding peace and celebrating enduring joy
- resonating with a deep love for humanity and the earth
Danielle’s visit broadened our thought and affections, challenging us to consider new ideas but also affirming much of our current practice as a CS-emergence community. As we prepare for the launch of a broader community embrace through The Well, we intend to form partnerships from the beginning of leaders from other religions. We want to speak more effectively and compassionately to those with no religious affiliation…and in a way that authentically embraces them where they are…and not so as to just try to make them like us. We need to learn a larger affection and vocabulary, and more effective practices of listening and supporting. Danielle’s visit helped us in that direction.