As many of your who read this blog will know by now, I really enjoy reading and hearing Richard Rohr. (www.cac.org). His Franciscan way of seeing the Church and the world (whilst never allowing himself to fall into a dualistic sense of either) somehow resonates with my own inner struggles and questioning.
The Jewish prophets had one foot in Israel and one foot outside and beyond. So must you have one foot in your historical faith community and one foot in the larger world; one foot rooted in a good tradition of accountability and another in your own world of service, volunteerism, occupation, a subgroup, or what I call “lifestyle Christianity” and some call “Emerging Church,” which desires to move beyond mere belief and worship systems to actual lifestyle choices and new accountability systems for giving your life away.
How else can we imitate the surrender of Jesus, who did exactly the same in relation to his own Jewish religion? He never left it, and yet in some ways he always left it when it did not heal or help real people. He formed his own little “parachurch” within and yet alongside the Jewish priestly system, which became, rightly or wrongly, its own separate religion which we now call Christianity.
As the 12th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes, we do not really appropriate things ourselves until we actively hand them on to others. We have to find the Love, and then give the Love away; and it is amazing how the two events do not always happen within the same group. I think they are both training grounds, one for the other. The first is our spring and our well (home base); the other is the channel away from home base that keeps our well from becoming brackish and stagnant water. (Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations #53)
One foot in, one foot out. Never leaving, but always left. This perspective on life within and without the Church walls, I believe, is not only the way I see Christianity heading (or ’emerging’) but also a very Christ-ian concept which we would do well to live out.