The first of these two videos talks about what Tickle calls "emergence christianity" (in an attempt to get past the Ermergent or emerging confusion) and goes on to explore what that looks like in community... I have to be honest I couldn't accept Tickles premise in "The Great Emergence" that there are these great moments in History every 500 years but I did find her observations themselves helpful... I'm privileged to count Pete as a friend and have always loved his bardic spirit, the way he captures truths in story and poetry not in propositions and arguments... in the first video there are two things that stand out for me... first, Lyotard's description of post-modernity as a condition not an ideology - it is something we feel rather than decide - Pete likens the what has become known as the emerging conversation/church to this - it is not something one joins or reasons but something one feels, something which emerges from all the elements; spirit, culture, person, scripture, story etc. it's not an academic discovery but one from the heart. For me (and for many I've talked to) I began to associate myself with the words emerging/emergent/emergence not because I was convinced by a writer/teologian but because I recognised myself in the way others used those words... so rather than following a leader I found myself being reflected back thus I felt myself a peer rather than a disciple of those speaking in the emerging conversation. I didn't join the emerging church I am the emerging church!
Secondly, he describes the nature of community for him, I guess he is a little difficult to grasp on this. Pete talks about a Donut Church - a church with nothing at the centre... "Oh but surely God is at the centre!" I hear you cry... but I think he is asking us to think about that. What I hear is that the "Church" is not an entity in it's own right, there is no being called "the Church" which has responsibility for the people... we often perceive there is and that entity/centre being manifest in the leadership... "the Church" he says has no pastoral responsibility for you. Pete says "we don't care about you" because their is no centralised "we" - there is only each other, as Pete puts it "the person net to you cares for you, if they don't your in trouble"... in other words the community does not exists other that in the net of relationships... In some ways this reflects Theseus's paradox otherwise told as the tale of George Washington's Axe, personally I like Terry Pratchetts version...
This, milord, is my family's axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family? And because it has changed gently over time, it is still a pretty good axe, y'know. Pretty good.Pete, I think suggests that we simply let go of the illusion of entity and see the significance of the interplay between the current parts... thus community is not held by the mythical entity embodied by a central leadership but by the network of individual commitment to care/love. Therefore rather than saying God is at the centre, we feel God in the synapses and moment that connect us. Which sort of leads into the second video where Pete talks about the idea that God is not the desription/name we use to describe the effect of God, but the effect itself - the wind of a traumtaic event not the way we describe the event. We experience God like light - we percieve light because of the effect it has on objects not as an object itslef, light is beautiful because of the way it reflects off surfaces, colours, textures etc. We can say the same of sound, we experience sound because of the effect the waves have on our bodies.
There are a couple more videos which talk about the wrestling spirit of emergence christianity and it's relationship with the inherited church... the latter one has some important things to say, which Pete was exploring last year at Greenbelt, which I may blog about later... but I'll let you chase those down yourself ;-)