Christians & Jews discuss Emergent Sacred Communities

From what little I’ve heard so far, it sounds like the meeting between Christian and Jewish leaders on Emergent Sacred Communities was a huge success this past week. Emergent-US and Synagogue 3000 met together to discuss the creation of new sacred communities, and it there is now a Jewish Emergent movement. I’m very excited by this opportunity to meet and discuss with progressive Jews about community formation and spirituality. I hope this is just the beginning of future times of dialogue and joint-endeavors between  emergent Christians, Jews and hopefully those from other faiths.

Shawn Landres, with S3K, is doing a great job of updating the most recent articles and blog posts about the event, so you should be reading the Synablog. But here is a post where he quotes some different reactions (is it lame to link to a blog post that links to yours, and has you quoted? oh well) – quite varied reactions, of course. I’m sure it’s been made clear, but I have nothing but hope and support for ventures like this. But I am really interested in whether there are Emergent Muslims too…Anyone out there want to fill us in on some emerging mosques? It’s clear that “emergent” is not just a Christian-fad – but is a much wider and greater phenomenon….

Emergent Christian/Jewish Leaders Meeting: UPDATE

Emergent is engaging in a joint meeting with Christian and Jewish leaders to talk about innovate practices used in congregations and synagogues. The “Emergent counterpart” in the Jewish community is called S3K (Synagogue 3000). Doug Pagitt posts the news release on his blog. I wonder if there are emergent Muslims?

Update: And of course, it has created controversy. See the thread of comments here at the Emergent What? site. I think that some of these people need to sit through Ellen Charry’s The Church & Israel lecture. I personally find it encouraging that we are seeking to connect with other people from other faith traditions who are asking similar questions. There was one line in one of the comments by Bob Hyatt that I have trouble with:

I understand the idea that we begin to develop dialog with leaders of other religions in the hopes that from our friendship and cooperation on things like social projects comes the opportunity to introduce someone to Christ…

I’m beginning to write a paper on Christian-Muslim Interfaith dialogue, and the idea that we engage in dialogue, or social projects for the “opportunity to introduce someone to Christ” just doesn’t cut it for me. We engage in dialogue because we want to know more about the ‘other’ and, as Vincent Donovan says in his book The Church in the Midst of Creation, we do so always “open to conversion – conversion to a fuller truth. If we are not open to conversion, then the process we are involved in is not one of evangelization but of proselytism. If we are not open to conversion, then we have no right to enter into true religious dialogue” (116).

So, dialogue, and actions like this move of Emergent to meet with S3K, are actions that ARE (in my estimate) about conversion: not trying to get Jews to becomes Christians – that is, I’m sure, not even on the radar of Jones or McLaren (I have no idea, because I haven’t spoken with them – but I would HOPE that would not be on their radar). But rather to place ourselves in postures where we can engage with one another, be open to being ‘converted’ to a fuller truth, and be able to bring about God’s Kingdom.