Friday, September 16, 2005

about up/rooted

Declaration and Invitation


From Abraham to Moses to Jesus and the Apostles, God works in and through His people by taking them out of what they know and understand and moving them into exposed and difficult situations. All throughout history God has moved in this way: uprooting his people in order to work mightily through them. The followers of Christ all live according to the same call the Lord gave to Abraham, "Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you" (Gen. 12:1) At this time, the Church, especially in North America, is being uprooted from familiar ground (call it modernity or whatever you will) and rooted in unfamiliar territory (the emerging postmodern, post-Christian culture) and as a result is experiencing a re-envisioning of all aspects of being and living as the people of God. Some welcome and embrace this transition; others view it with varying degrees of apprehension. Yet within this upheaval we are not left stranded and drifting in this changing culture. Though we are "resident aliens" (1 Peter 1:1), living off the land in which we find ourselves, we are rooted in the apostolic witness to Jesus Christ. Just as the people of God were guided by the cloud by day and the fire by night in their wilderness wanderings, so also has God provided the means necessary for our survival. As God’s people we have been given the gift of the Spirit who guides us into all truth (John 16:13) through Scripture, the history and tradition of the Church, and the community of believers, local and global. Therefore we are both rooted and uprooted in this emerging culture.
In the midst of this liminal situation, transitioning from one epoch to another, the best way forward is to work out the transition together, exploring the future in the midst of friendships and partnerships. Untangling ourselves from (past)modern hindrances to faith and Church life and re-imagining the Church in this emerging culture is best done in a community of wisdom that is guided by the Spirit. Because we do not seek a firm and definite definition of this emerging culture but a permeable approximation, what we need is not a rulebook or prefab program, but a community dedicated to living faithfully within this emerging culture, while simultaneously dwelling within the story of redemption.


As a means toward supporting, encouraging, and expanding the conversation concerning this emerging culture, we are a "collaborative friendship to understand and engage the emerging post-Christian culture."

Theological Commitments

  • We are committed to God as the foundation of reality. In a world where particularity is a scandal, we seek rootedness in history, following God as revealed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • We are committed to maintaining the authority of Scripture—the apostolic authority of Holy Scripture as a valid witness to Christ beyond modern reductionistic, propositional scientific criteria.
  • We are committed to the faithfulness and integrity of the church as a ‘contrast culture’, witnessing to the reality of the Kingdom of God.

Practical Commitments

  • We are committed to being a space of communal reflection, questioning, wondering, and rethinking essential aspects of the church as it stands "between gospel and culture." Therefore, we will gather monthly, if not more frequently, to discuss topics related to missiology, ecclesiology, spiritual formation, justice, the arts, leadership, and catechesis.
  • We are committed to deepening relationships among current and emerging church leaders. Therefore, we will establish and maintain a website to facilitate this friendship. We will develop a common way of life that seeks the Lordship of Christ in all things through practices of prayer, worship, works of mercy, and other spiritual disciplines as a means toward forming our lives out of our consumerist culture and into the Life of Christ. We will gather face to face with each other either on the first Monday of the month or other more informal times.
  • We are committed to being a place to stimulate creative resources for the benefit of this friendship and the larger Christian community. Therefore, we will generate critical and creative essays and articles, as well as art, music, and literature as expressions of new ways of being the Church and living into the gospel.

While utilizing existing internet communities, books, and conferences to enhance our conversation, we emphasize a commitment to the importance of regular face to face interaction. We commit to cultivating this "collaborative friendship" among local/regional pastors, church planters, worship leaders, artists, and students in and around Chicago.


This "collaborative friendship to understand and engage the emerging post-Christian culture." we call up/rooted, in recognition that we are simultaneously rooted as the people of God yet uprooted in this changing world. We invite Christians from all walks of life to join us.


up/rooted’s purposes are closely aligned with those of both Emergent (we are an Emergent cohort) and The Ekklesia Project, both national organizations creating community and intellectual resources for the emerging, post-Christian Church


Beloved said...

Dear friends in the faith,

May I have the grace of entering the 'conversation' in a bit of an unorthodox way? May I begin with a brief story?

Several months ago, I wandered to your blog via The Ooze. It just so happened to be at the time you posted "Question #1: Universalism". At the time, I was appalled that you were even opening the door to what I viewed (and still view) as heretical. At that point in time, I most certainly identified myself as emergent, but found it very difficult to engage in such a conversation without inevitably regurgitating the whole issue of sound hermeneutics, and that did not seem to be the tone of the conversation, so I opted out.

Over the past few days, I've been dialoguing with some folks over at TSK about MacArthur's new anti-emerging church book, as well as a critique from some Moody profs. The question was raised whether Moody scholars had any reason to suspect Emergent to be riddled with heretical views of Christ. Immediately, your blog series on Burke's Heretic's Guide and universalism/inclusivism came to mind, and so I mentioned that perhaps Moody's opinion had been skewed by local Emergent communities (without mentioning you by name), but without coming to any conclusions. Eventually, other folks piped up with up/rooted's name, and Andrew directed us to your "Commitments", which seemed orthodox to me.

So, first, I would like to apologize for assuming the worst, when I had not had adequate conversation with you to make a sound judgment. And second, I would like to extend an invitation (or accept yours, however you want to look at it) to sojourn together in some form or fashion in the future. As a practically progressive, doctrinally conservative emergent, stranded in suburbia (Wheeling), I long to be a more integral part of the emergent conversation in Chicago. I believe that many (if not most) of the convictions of the EC are necessary to keep the Church on track (or bring it back). I am disturbed by the prevalence of either/or mentality evidenced not only in right-wing fundies, but even emergents and left-wing extremists. I do not accept the polarization of Truth and love, belief and action, nor there indistinction. I am committed to incarnational theology and mission, as well as to the preservation and proclamation of orthodox "propositions".

Currently, my wife and I are active participants at Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, and feel like the Spirit of the Lord is there, and our spirits agree with theirs on many fronts. But I, especially, want to be connected in a greater way with those who are intentionally committed to the emerging way in Chicago.

In hindsight, I respect your commitment to fostering an atmosphere where questions are welcomed and people are not patronized, and I maintain these as high priorities for the Church myself. Forgive me for previously jumping to conclusions.

In Christ,


Mike Clawson said...

Hi Matt,

I don't know how long ago you posted this comment, but I only just found it today (1/10/08). In case you come back here to check, I wanted you to know that I appreciate your apology and I would love it if you want to join us at any future up/rooted events. Come hang out with us anytime!

-Mike Clawson
up/rooted co-coordinator