Together We Seek...
Young adults and others seeking an authentic life of faith around Detroit keep calling out for community. Their lives of independence, while perhaps freeing, also alienate. In that vacuum we seek to create local generative friendships that have "welcome" built into their very fabric.
In some cases these communities take the form of fellowship groups gathering people from an existing congregation. In other instances the emergedetroit network is a laboratory for planting and nurturing new missional communities in Detroit.
In conversation with other intentional communities around the country and world we are eager to see how living radically, locally, and with the compassion and hospitality of Christ will help build the church from its very grassroots. Look for the "Detroit Villages" house churches among the other groups of the emergedetroit network.
From the earliest days, Christians professed boldly their belief about who God is and what God has done. Particularly we celebrate the radical revelation of God in Jesus Christ, fulfilling God's redemption of creation through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Whenever we stand and say "Jesus Christ is Lord!" then we say important things about God, but we also say important things about the powers and principalities of this world that seek to claim our allegiance. For us Jesus is the Christ, the savior, and by claiming him as Lord of our lives we reject all earthly powers and means that are disobedient to Jesus' will. It is this Prince of Peace that saves us and calls us to his work of justice and mercy.
Within the emergedetroit network, theology is not simply a list of dogma, although the tradition of the church is taken as an important witness. Our full understanding of theology, rather, is the whole artistic conversation among God's people exploring analogically the meaning of the Eternal Trinity to the best of our finite capabilities. Ultimately everything we say about God both is and isn't (like all analogy) and thus the reality of the incarnate Jesus Christ can be our only true theology.
Not only are we called to lives of personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ, we are also called to share that good news with all the nations - calling the world into relationship with Jesus. This sharing happens through mission/servant work, through personal relationships, through art, music, writing. We look forward to all the ways God has in store for us to share the message of Christ with others.
In our life together within emergedetroit we have found that the deepest discipleship happens not in large crowds or congregational gatherings. Rather, those large gatherings inspire the actual deep discipleship that happens in homes, with neighbors, at work, etc. We take seriously the bibical instruction to go out in small numbers to share the gospel and live the Christian life. Certainly the witness of a large community all living rightly is important. But that Christian Way is made most manifest on personal and local ways.
Today we share these local and unique stories of living the Christian life deeply through a wide variety of media. Blogs, emails, Twitter and sorts of other "feeds" help keep us up to date on how others are living for God and for Good.
John Wesley, in his "A Short Explanation of Christian Perfection," wrote these words about the interplay between our personal piety and the fruits of that condition:
...to be 'sanctified throughout;' even 'to have a heart so all-flaming with the love of God,' (to use Archbishop Usher's words,) 'as continually to offer up every thought, word, and work, as a spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God through Christ.' In every thought of our hearts, in every word of our tongues, in every work of our hands, to 'show forth his praise, who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.' O that both we, and all who seek the Lord Jesus in sincerity, may thus 'be made perfect in one!' - John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection
Within the emergedetroit network we find no more succinct explanation of how our own personal salvation through Jesus must take place within the context of actions that both reveal such a saved condition and make the love of Christ real for those around us.
We have participated in and encourage others to participate in intentional spiritual discernment retreats. We also participate in mission internships through churches and agencies and encourage others to bear fruit of God's good work in their lives in this way. Like the Foundry Society of early Methodism, ours is a God that drives us away from our own sin and guides us to mission and ministry with those in need.
The emergedetroit community values locally created worship arts. So, for our worship gatherings we have begun compiling new songs and prayers that have served as a part of our worship liturgies. Some are totally original, others are reclamations of older texts or tunes. Below are some links to these songs, prayers, texts, etc. Please use them, share them, give us feedback on them!
Along with these worship arts, the emergedetroit community values regular celebration of Holy Communion. Following United Methodist belief, our Communion table is open to all who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in Christ for the world. In that regard, the bread and the cup are offered freely by Jesus who instructed us to remember him in this act, but they are not offered cheaply. What God in Jesus expects of us who take Communion amounts to nothing less than our whole lives!
At other times we have reclaimed the Methodist practice of Love Feasts (inspired by the Moravians during the 18th Century) as a modern worship-act. These simple meals of bread and water are shared along with the communal witness by participants about how God has delivered and inspired them. We also celebrate other communities around the globe who are practicing local liturgy creation and look for ways to share together the worship art that we all are creating for the glory of Jesus.