Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Emergent Mormons?

I saw an article over at Beliefnet by a member of the LDS church who was looking at Mormonism in the light of Emergent Christianity. This of course caught my attention because I would be classified by many as Emergent (I am at least on a similar trajectory) and because I live in the heart of Mormondom.

Beyond that, I have developed an affection over the past 6 years for Mormon believers and their faith.  In reading a few books on the Mormon faith and catching some video teachings, I came across one author/speaker in particular, Robert Millet, a BYU professor who shares my love for C.S. Lewis. For my 40th birthday, my wife phoned his office and asked if I could meet him after a conference he was speaking at. He did one better and we grabbed lunch together the following week. Through my conversations with Bob, I became convinced that God resided under no single banner. Many of my evangelical friends would disagree, but I have met few people whose desire to know God burns as strongly as Bob's.

I don't suppose too many Emergents know much about Mormonism. There are probably few Mormons who have read any Emergent authors. I like em' both, so this article brought to mind the old Reese's commercial where the chocolate crashes into the peanut butter.

In the article Ms. Riess asks, "What does Emergent offer to me as a committed Latter-day Saint?" Later in the article she comments "Part of the Emergent story is that we are more likely to encounter Jesus when we step outside our comfort zones and stop doing church primarily because that is what we're expected to do."

Ultimately, I think there lies the potential common ground. In all strands of religious thought, people are asking questions. Why do we do this? Why do we feel this way? How should I be relating to others? How can we do better?

Of course, in each religious group, there are voices trying to quell the questions, to get everyone back in line, back in the pew.

So in answer to her question, I think what we can offer each other is our perspectives, what we have discovered, and a safe place to ask those questions.

That was what Bob offered in each of my conversations with him. His perspectives, what he has discovered, and a safe place to ask questions.

It is a rare thing, and something I hope we all get better at offering one another.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Thanks Andrew, that's a good thought. The Mormons we see over here are mostly American missionaries but there is a Mormon temple a few kms from my house that I often go past. I often wonder what they believe but found the Book of Mormon so dense that I gave up.

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