Encountering the “Emergent Church”

For several years I’ve been reading about something called “the emergent” church, a flavor of Christianity that is striving to be more inclusive, accepting, and “back to the basics” of Jesus’ teachings of radical love and social reform. I’ll never forget the first day we broke bread together, actually hamburgers at Chris Madrid’s.

Gay and lesbian? No problem. Black, White, Latino, Latina? No problem. Doubters? Sinners?  No problem. Piercings and tattoos? All the better. We agreed that ours is not to judge, but to love and include.

Then I asked something like, “what about people who don’t believe in the trinity?” I could see the gears shifting. Now we were talking theology. Then I added,”like me”

Tell us more, they said.

“Well,” I replied, “when we stick to our guns about God being a very specific formulation (for example, the father, son, holy spirit), it’s hard to get radically inclusive.

Tell us more, they said.

“When God isn’t limited to the trinity, suddenly God can be found in the Buddha’s teachings, in the stories of Krishna, in the Torah – even in scientific understandings of the holy. We don’t even have to call God God. A God of oneness can be simply Oneness.”

I may have lost it there (but who knows), and after a few more meaningful meetings we lost touch with each other, more due to the transitory nature of emergent church circles than my theology. I hope.

Encounters like these cement my belief that ours is not only a religion (for those who have and will find their way to our church doors) but also a theology (which interacts with other religions and demands to be shared with the world). Unitarian Universalism is a theology of oneness, radical inclusion, and religious freedom. Don’t be afraid to preach it, for our story has legs.

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