I am quit sure that the word “all” was not accidental. From Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, to Pentecostal, the eC believes that all Christians are agents of God and have something to share with the global Church. According to http://www.emegerentvillage.com/, they see every form of the church has weaknesses and strengths, liabilities and potential, rather than favoring some forms of the church and critiquing or rejecting others. They believe that the effect of sin and injustice require a sincere, collaborative response from all Christian forms. They see the need to strengthen existing churches and the need to plant new ones. They seek to peacefully include all Christian sisters and brother, rather than use the “us versus them” mindset. The many failures of the church become their own, which humbles them and calls them to repentance. They celebrate the many heroes and virtues of the church, which inspirers them and gives them hope.
This value causes them to be actively involved in a local church. “Church” is the community where they seek out authentic Christian faith in authentic Christian community. They seek peace among followers of Christ, and to offer critique only prayerfully whenever possible, especially those with whom they may disagree. They strive to build sincere friendships with Christians from other traditions.
This value could be summed into one phrase, “true Christian unity.” Having lived all my life within the same tradition (having grown up, trained in a formal academic setting, and worked for two churches) I can say with confidence that we failed to carry out this value to the full. I must be fair; I do see things getting better. I see it’s current leaders being less judgmental and more tolerant of other Church traditions than the leaders before. However, this current generation of leaders still has the mind set of: us verse them, we are right…they are in error, why don’t they see things the way we do. Fellowship is limited to degree of their tolerance. To use the words of an eC leader, “Tolerance is not the same as having value.” True Christian unity can never take place until we learn to value one another.
As I reflect of my own life, I see God’s hand molding me into this emergent value. Even before I heard emergent, God was leading me to see the big picture of Christian unity in ways my peers often did not. I felt isolated, troubled, and even rebellious toward my own tradition. However, now I feel more at home with this eC crowd. Peace remains within me even though I may be alone in thought. In my younger days, this isolation would cause my words to be harsh and anything but loving. Though I am still growing out of this angry phase, I am seeing the light.