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Center for Action and Contemplation

A Change of Consciousness Guiding Us Toward Contemplative Action

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Emerging Church

A Change of Consciousness
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I have learned to prize holy ignorance more highly than religious certainty and to seek companions who have arrived at the same place. We are a motley crew, distinguished not only by our inability to explain ourselves to those who are more certain of their beliefs than we are but in many cases by our distance from the centers of our faith communities as well. Like campers who have bonded over cook fires far from home, we remain grateful for the provisions that we have brought with us from those cupboards, but we also find them more delicious when we share them with one another under the stars. —Barbara Brown Taylor [1]

What is happening in Emerging Christianity is far bigger than any mere structural or organizational re-arrangement. It is a revolutionary change in Christian consciousness itself. It is a change of mind and of heart that has been a long time in coming and now seems to be a new work of the Holy Spirit. Only such a sea-change of consciousness—drawing from the depths of the Great Ocean of Love—will bear fruits that will last.

The change that changes everything is the movement away from dualistic thinking toward non-dual consciousness. We know that if we settle for our old patterns of dualistic thought, this emerging phenomenon will be just one more of the many reformations in Christianity that have characterized our entire history. The movement will quickly and surely subdivide into liberal or conservative, Catholic or Protestant, intellectual or emotional, gay or straight, liturgical or Pentecostal, feminist or patriarchal, activist or contemplative—like all of the other dualisms—instead of the wonderful holism of Jesus, a fully contemplative way of being active and involved in our suffering world.

Emerging Christianity is both longing for and moving toward a way of following Jesus that has much more to do with lifestyle than with belief. We do not want to solidify into an institution focused on certain words and the writing of documents. We want to remain, if at all possible, focused on orthopraxy (right practice), compassionate action flowing from non-dual consciousness.

We are grateful and content to let our historic churches and denominations take care of the substructures and the superstructures of Christianity. Some are gifted and called to that, but most are not. Our churches have trained us, grounded us, and sent us on this radical mission. We will keep one happy foot in our Mother churches, but we have something else that we must do and other places that we must also stand. We have no time to walk away from anything. We want to walk toward and alongside.

Gateway to Silence:
Rooted and growing in Love

[1] Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith (HarperOne: 2012), 224.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Emerging Christianity: A Non-Dual Vision,” Radical Grace, vol. 23, no. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), 3.

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