Emergent Village Values & Practices

From EmergentVillage.org:

Members of Emergent Village hold in common four values and several practices that flow from them. In the language of a religious order, we call these four values our “order and rule”:

1. Commitment to God in the Way of Jesus:

We are committed to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. In the words of Jesus, we seek to live by the Great Commandment: loving God and loving our neighbors – including those who might be considered “the least of these” or enemies. We understand the gospel to be centered in Jesus and his message of the Kingdom of God, a message offering reconciliation with God, humanity, creation, and self.

We are committed to a “generous orthodoxy” in faith and practice – affirming the historic Christian faith and the biblical injunction to love one another even when we disagree. We embrace many historic spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, contemplation, study, solitude, silence, service, and fellowship, believing that healthy theology cannot be separated from healthy spirituality.

PRACTICES:

* As Christ-centered people, to understand the gospel in terms of Jesus’ radical, profound, and expansive message of the kingdom of God.
* As people seeking to be formed spiritually in the way of Christ, to learn historic Christian spiritual practices (disciplines), and to use them for the development of character, integrity, and virtue which flow from true communion with God.
* As participants in the historic Christian faith, to be humble learners, to stimulate learning in others, and to give priority to love over knowledge, while still valuing knowledge.
* As lovers of God and God’s truth, to seek wisdom and understanding, which are the true goal of theology, and to engage in respectful, thoughtful, sacred conversation about God, world, and church.

2. Commitment to the Church in all its Forms:

We are committed to honor and serve the church in all its forms – Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Anabaptist. We practice “deep ecclesiology” – rather than favoring some forms of the church and critiquing or rejecting others, we see that every form of the church has both weaknesses and strengths, both liabilities and potential.

We believe the rampant injustice and sin in our world requires the sincere, collaborative, and whole-hearted response of all Christians in all denominations, from the most historic and hierarchical, through the mid-range of local and congregational churches, to the most spontaneous and informal expressions. We affirm both the value of strengthening, renewing, and transitioning existing churches and organizations, and the need for planting, resourcing, and coaching new ones of many kinds.

We seek to be irenic and inclusive of all our Christian sisters and brothers, rather than elitist and critical. We own the many failures of the church as our failures, which humbles us and calls us to repentance, and we also celebrate the many heroes and virtues of the church, which inspires us and gives us hope.

PRACTICES:

* To be actively and positively involved in a local congregation, while maintaining open definitions of “church” and “congregation.” We work in and with churches, seeking to live out authentic Christian faith in authentic Christian community.
* To seek peace among followers of Christ, and to offer critique only prayerfully and when necessary, with grace, and without judgment, avoiding rash statements, and repenting when harsh statements are made. To speak positively of fellow Christians whenever possible, especially those with whom we may disagree.
* To build sincere friendship with Christians from other traditions.

3. Commitment to God’s World:

We practice our faith missionally – that is, we do not isolate ourselves from this world, but rather, we follow Christ into the world.

We seek to fulfill the mission of God in our generations, and then to pass the baton faithfully to the next generations as well.

We believe the church exists for the benefit and blessing of the world at large; we seek therefore not to be blessed to the exclusion of everyone else, but rather for the benefit of everyone else.

We see the earth and all it contains as God’s beloved creation, and so we join God in seeking its good, its healing, and its blessing.

PRACTICES:

* To build relationships with neighbors and to seek the good of our neighborhoods and cities.
* To seek reconciliation with enemies and make peace.
* To encourage and cherish younger people and to honor and learn from older people.
* To honor creation and to cherish and heal it.
* To build friendships across gender, racial, ethnic, economic and other boundaries.
* To be involved at all times in at least one issue or cause of peace and justice.

4. Commitment to One Another:

In order to strengthen our shared faith and resolve, and in order to encourage and learn from one another in our diversity through respectful, sacred conversation, we value time and interaction with other friends who share this rule and its practices.

We identify ourselves as members of this growing, global, generative, and non-exclusive friendship.

We welcome others into this friendship as well.

We bring whatever resources we can to enrich this shared faith and resolve.

PRACTICES:

* To make an annual pilgrimage to an Emergent Village gathering; to give one another the gift of our presence at annual gatherings whenever possible.
* To publicly self-identify with Emergent Village where appropriate and to represent Emergent Village well whenever we can; to exemplify the best of what Emergent Village strives to be and do.
* To invite others to participate and welcome new participants.
* To seek to be positive and constructive in caring for the Emergent Village friendship. To find some specific ways we can help the circle of friends in Emergent Village.
* To stay reconciled to one another. To give one another the gift of commitment not to give up on, betray, or reject one another, but instead, to encourage, honor, and care for one another.
* To stay informed about emergent locally and globally via the website and email updates.

ACTION

We live out the four values of our rule through four lines of action:

* We explore and develop ideas, theology, practices, and connections … through conversations, conferences, think-tanks, gatherings, retreats, publications, learning cohorts, online resources, and other means.
* We resource individuals, leaders, and organizations – funding their imagination, stimulating their thinking, providing examples, events, literature and other resources to assist them in their lives and mission.
* We communicate our calling, vision, learning, and activities to the growing Emergent Village community, and to other interested people around the world.
* We provide ways for people to belong, identify with, and participate in this community, conversation, and mission at varying levels. We encourage the development of generative friendships, collaborations, and partnerships.