Richard Rohr wrote a poem called “AND” that I, with great gratitude, used as a reading in my wedding ceremony. A wedding ceremony that I would describe an evolving and emerging expression of radical (=of the root) love and ritual. The poem embodies, to me, the essence of what I aspire to apply in my life, work, and faith. It is something exemplified in the practice of eastern faith traditions (not always, but more often than western traditions) and something us westerners really have to work at.
I struggle every day to live my life in the “and” state of being.
And teaches us to say yes
And allows us to be both-and
And keeps us from either-or
And teaches us to be patient and long suffering
And is willing to wait for insight and integration
And keeps us from dualistic thinking
And does not divide the field of the moment
And helps us to live in the always imperfect now
And keeps us inclusive and compassionate toward everything
And demands that our contemplation become action
And insists that our action is also contemplative
And heals our racism, our sexism, heterosexism, and our classism
And keeps us from the false choice of liberal or conservative
And allows us to critique both sides of things
And allows us to enjoy both sides of things
And is far beyond any one nation or political party
And helps us face and accept our own dark side
And allows us to ask for forgiveness and to apologize
And is the mystery of paradox in all things
And is the way of mercy
And makes daily, practical love possible
And does not trust love if it is not also justice
And does not trust justice if it is not also love
And is far beyond my religion versus your religion
And allows us to be both distinct and yet united
And is the very Mystery of Trinity
EVOLUTION NOT REVOLUTION
The new can always seem like a rejection of the old. But if the essence of emerging is “something coming into view” it does not mean that that “something” never existed before the present moment, only that it is “coming into view”. That implies that it was always there, we just couldn’t see it before. It was obscured from view until now.
Evolution means “the process of working out or developing”. It is growth and change of what was into something more, well, evolved.
Science says everything in nature evolves. Animals and humans and even micro-organisms evolve and the catalyst of one evolution creates a ripple effect in the natural world, requiring evolution of all the rest of nature to catch up.
We are in a time in humanity of flux and change. We have to adapt and evolve, emerge from what was to see that “something” that just now is coming into view. I believe that faith individually and collectively (as systems) have to evolve over time to survive and thrive. What is emerging in our world today is a new generation of Christianity that is looking to break down walls between everything around itself and evolve.
Evolution is not intended to destroy the old, what was, everything we are today is built on what came before it. None is right and none is wrong, just different, changed by what has come into our view. I do not see the emerging Christian faith as a revolution against what came before it but a way to help grow and build on the foundation of what was and help it to become more than it has been. It can stretch the container so that it can fit the new information, so that we can all run forward reaching towards the horizon. More spacious than ever before and so expansive that it embraces everyone and everything in it’s scope.
Emerging Christianity is an evolution, pulling us out of some of the cringe-worthy history that we sit upon today, taking all of the good lessons learned, wonderful practices and rituals, tradition and heritage, and build something that whether inside the container or out (Christian or another faith background) we can all enjoy and embrace in some way.