I live in the beautiful tension of being an anglican & anabaptist.
In the Anglican (Episcopal Church) I encounter a spirituality that is bigger than myself. As an anglican I practice my spirituality in community, therefore is not just my spirituality but I join the spirituality of those who gather around the Lord’s Table. In the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist I encounter the beauty, mystery and otherness of God.
In the Anabaptist praxis/ethos I encounter the counter-cultural lifestyle of Jesus followers. As an anabaptist I join the prophetic voice of those against the Empire. The anabaptist have taught me to be faithful to the Kingdom in the times when religion is just another commodity in the global market.
This is why in the recent months I find myself an active member of two groups with lots of potential for change and hopeful imagination – Anglimergent and Submergent.
Anglimergent is a generous and generative friendship among diverse Anglicans, engaging emerging church and mission.
Our aim to become and remain friends, and in so doing to incarnate a deeply Anglican ecclesiology (way of being church) which is ‘in sync’ with the perichoretic (relational) nature of God and kenetic (self emptying) Way of Jesus, and working in common cause on the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Consultative Council, and seated on a ‘three legged stool’ of: ‘reconciliation, justice and mission’.
We are appreciative of the rich and deep heritage of our Anglican way of being Christian, and how Anglicanism (when released from modern strictures) is deeply resonate with the hungers people have for authentic community, intellectual honesty, deep tradition, ancient-future spiritual practice and servanthood in the way of Jesus. As the original ‘third way‘ (via media) within Christianity, and as a diverse, multi-cultural and global communion, Anglicanism is uniquely poised to engage the imaginations of spiritual seekers in today’s world.
Submergent wants to re-baptize the Christian imagination. For two thousand years, we have drifted from our prophetic impulse. When Jesus began his movement 2000 years ago, he called his followers to a radical way of peaceâ€¦a way of loving enemiesâ€¦a way of embracing the outsiderâ€¦a way of forgiveness and transformation and reconciliation.
Too often, however, weâ€™ve turned Christianity into a way of reinforcing the status quoâ€¦a way of controlâ€¦a way of self-righteousness. Weâ€™ve left the shadow of the Empire and seated ourselves on its throne.
The name â€œsubmergentâ€ reflects the essence of two movementsâ€“one that is 500 years old and one that is only just emerging. These movements (the Anabaptist movement and the emerging church movement) both seek a way of faithfulness in the empire. They both yearn for a faith that reflects the vitally prophetic impulse that sparked Christianity 2000 years ago.
1. Submergent will be at the New Conspirators Conference in Seattle at the end of this month and intend on hosting a lunch â€œtable talkâ€ for those interested in Submergent. We will be introducing ourselves, discussing what the emerging church and anabaptist tradition needs from each other, and dreaming and scheming about the future of Submergent.
2. On May 9-10 Submergent will be co-sponsoring Brian McLarenâ€™s â€œEverything Must Changeâ€ book tour stop at Goshen College.