Thursday, March 30, 2006

Before moving on into the Biblical passages that support the idea of the interrelation of the Body let us revisit why I am relating this to the emerging church movement. Those who have been in any conversation with the emerging church idea know that it can be characterized as a reactionary movement. Well, reactionary to what? Some would suggest that it is a reaction to the strict doctrinal creeds of some denominations. Others would suggest that it is a reaction to the watered down “Seeker Sensitive” churches that reach out to everyone but truly touch no one. Still others would say that the emerging church is a reaction to modernity and the Enlightenment’s sway upon the Church at large. All of these examples, and more, are legitimate reasons why another church movement is emerging among the Body. What I would like to point out is that all of these reasons, and probably many others, are inherently connected to the fact that the church is simply not functioning as a Body.

I have seen the brutality of a father in disciplining children that he has never taken time to build a relationship with but whom he expects to obey his every conscious and subconscious expectation. I have also seen the man who meets everyone and has “connections” all over, yet could not tell you an intimate detail of any one of his acquaintances. And we have all seen the man who is so driven by his independent reasoning and opinions on the world that he is oblivious to the importance of another’s point of view. These are all men who have not “interrelated” properly. They set their own agenda, make their own expectations, seek their own ends, and sink their own ship. As I suggested earlier, the church has long been the pulpit of such men, or rather, of such ideologies.

So it is my observation, as I have interacted with the Body, that the Emerging Church Movement is really seeking a community that looks and acts more like Christ. There might be some deviations of opinion about how exactly this should look but the foundational desire is a common one. If some individuals are looking for something other than that then all they are really looking for is another avenue to indulge the self, to lift up the idol of autonomy. In what way do you view the Emerging Church Movement? Do you simply desire to live with brothers and sisters in Christ in such a way that would do honor to His presence among us; that would image His presence within us? Do you desire to live an intentionally interrelated life within our Savior?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Welcome to the Interrelational Church blog. My desire is to communicate an ecclesiastical direction for those who are questioning the traditional structures of how “church” is done. There has been much talk about an “emerging” church over the past decade and I would like to offer some form to the emergence. I would like to name the emerging church.

Why the “Interrelational Church”? Why not the “Relational Church,” the “Community Church,” or even more relevant, the “Postmodern Church”? Why is the word “interrelational” so apropos to what a Biblical representation of the Church should look like? I believe that the term “interrelational” best describes how the Body of Christ should work. Some definitions of the word “interrelate” will help make the case: defines “interrelate” as: “have or bring into a relationship: to have a relationship in which each person or thing depends on or is affected by the others, or cause persons or things to have such a relationship.” defines “interrelation” as: “mutual or reciprocal relation or relatedness.”

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “interrelate” in a transitive sense as: “to bring into mutual relation,” and in an intransitive sense as: “to have mutual relationship.”

These definitions primarily suggest that the term “interrelate” refers to relationships that are mutually effective and cooperative. The Encarta definition is especially helpful in that it expounds on the fact that “interrelatedness” means dependence on the other; to be affected by the other. It is a “reciprocal relation,” as puts it. Leaving the “inter” out of the “relation” leaves the “mutual” aspect out and thus leaves the relationship up to the winds of individuality. That is what the “inter” is ultimately trying to deconstruct; the individuality that drives most relationships. The Church has long been the pulpit of the individual rather than the Image of Christ.

“Interrelational” is a descriptive term that reveals the reciprocal relationship that each individual has within the Body of Christ. One member of the body cannot move without affecting the rest of the body. There is diffĂ©rence, but it is a corresponding difference; one that works upon a common foundation that “inter”-locks those relating. The “Interraltional Church” is the name that we believe should be given to the emerging church. It represents community with a foundation; community with a common purpose. This purpose limits it and opens it up. It limits it in terms of ethical interaction with the world but yet opens it up to communicate with that same world, in hopes of drawing more individuals into the interrelated body of Christ. Yet the foundation must never, can never, be compromised in order to allow others in on their own terms. God does not make deals on the “other’s” terms. The Foundation of the Body can never point to “other” than Himself, because to do so would be idolatry. So therefore, the Foundation on which we stand as an interrelated body, Christ Jesus, must be represented in a faithful way, a way that is faithful to His revelation of Himself.

With this brief statement as a compass heading, let us begin to discuss church in terms of interrelation and cast visions together of how to best establish these Biblical concepts in local congregations of the Body of Christ.