Adam Cleaveland linked to a Jewish Emergent Article which annoyed me in the first paragraph by mis-defining Gen-X and Millennials (I’ve ranted on that before already—must…. resist…) but pushing past that, the article highlights a sister-trend to the emerging church within the Jewish faith. The article opens,
[N]ew spiritual communities unbound by conventional expectations about the roles and parameters of a synagogue… focus on devotional experiences that move beyond the walls of the synagogue, build community, and, perhaps most of all, create what they call an authentic connection to their traditions and to God. De-emphasizing the 20th-century themes of Holocaust memory and â€œIsrael right or wrong,â€? the leaders are formulating a community-based spirituality through a return to Judaismâ€™s sacred pillars of Torah, prayer, and social justice.
My colleagues and I at Synagogue 3000 call this phenomenon â€œJewish Emergent,â€? because of similarities with a Christian movement known as the Emerging Church. …â€œEmergentâ€? Christian theologians and pastors have united to create new spiritual communities based on ritual innovation (including a return to traditional liturgical forms) and a renewed commitment to social justice.
The article goes on to describe several characteristics of this emerging Jewish movement, all of which have a familiar ring about them and are compared in the article. How about this one:
Both Jewish and Christian emerging communities practice what one leader called â€œorthoparadoxâ€? â€” the creative tension that arises when doctrine and intentional practice are given equal weight in organizing a communityâ€™s priorities.
It’s a good reminder of the wider social and cultural forces at work which provide fuel for the birth of the emerging church. One might go so far as to imagine that there’s something more at work, a stirring of the Holy Spirit so far outside the mainstream evangelical church that it’s affecting even Judaism. -Gasp!- But wouldn’t that be just like God? Perhaps some of the reshaped priorities emerging are so important to God that he can’t just rely on the church to “get it.”