Rebellion, Godliness and the Emerging Church

Just heading off to Greenbelt, so probably won’t be posting for the next few days…

Will have this resonating in my mind as I go though – probably the most complete description of what Vaux was trying to do, what the book aims to encourage, and what I hope the Emerging Church succeeds in doing:

Recall how in human history the saint and the rebel have been the same person. Socrates was a rebel, and he was sentenced to drink hemlock. Jesus was a rebel, and he was crucified for it. Joan of Arc was a rebel, and she was burned at the stake.

Yet each of these figures and hundreds like them, though ostracized by their contemporaries, were recognized and worshipped by the following ages as having made the most significant creative contributions in ethics and religion to civilization.

Those we call saints rebelled against an outmoded and inadequate form of God on the basis of their new insights into divinity. The teachings that led to their deaths raised the ethical and spiritual levels of their societies. They were aware that Zeus, the jealous god of Mount Olympus, would no longer do. Hence Prometheus stands for a religion of compassion. They rebelled against Yahweh, the primitive tribal god of the Hebrews who gloried in the deaths of thousands of Philistines. In place of him came the new visions of Amos and Isaiah and Jeremiah of the god of love and justice.

Their rebellion was motivated by new insights into the meaning of godliness. They rebelled, as Paul Tillich has so beautifully stated, against God in the name of the God beyond God. The continuous emergence of the God beyond God is the mark of creative courage in the religious sphere.

Beauty. In type.

From ‘The Courage to Create’, Rollo May

Written in 1975


3 responses to “Rebellion, Godliness and the Emerging Church”

  1. enjoy GB mate!

  2. 1975 – how does all of that go unnoticed by the church for 30 years?
    i too pray the emergent church can grasp this vision.
    enjoy greenbelt!

  3. confronted by this post and better for it …