Defining experience of 2010 #2: The debut of the Renovatus Manifesto

I know, I know.  It sounds really pretentious when your Church puts out a document called a manifesto. But that ship sailed a long time ago when we named this Renovatus.  After you Latinize your name, you never get to worry about being pretentious again!

When the Renovatus Manifesto debuted in November of 2010, it wasn’t entirely new.  Everything that we stated was already true about the character and direction of our Church, but I don’t think we had ever captured it with this degree of clarity.  I didn’t set out to write a doctrinal statement–there is a reason we recite the Apostles’ Creed every Sunday: we are pretty certain it can’t be improved upon.  But I do believe passionately that there is a very particular call for each local Christian community, and that is absolutely crucial that everybody within the community understands the precise nature of that calling.

When we released the Renovatus manifesto, we nailed it to the door.  These are not negotiable–they are the defining characteristics of Renovatus as a movement.  Anything we owned partially or haphazardly before, we are owning up to fully now.  This is our culture.  It captures the shape of our past and the character of our future.

This is what it is to be Renovatus:

We are a people under renovation.

We are in an ongoing process of growth, change and development.  We will own up to where we are, but we won’t stay here.

We are a community of liars, dreamers and misfits.

We are a house of mercy.  We will advocate for broken and marginalized people everywhere, inside and outside the Church.

We are people from the future.

We act in fearless conviction that the rules have changed and that we are partnering with God to make that change visible.  We will not be reactionary to anything or anyone, because the apocalyptic even of resurrection has already transformed the world.

We ARE your grandmother’s church.  And your great-grandmother’s church.  And your great-great-grandmother’s church.

We embrace continuity with the Church’s past.  We seek intergenerational and cultural diversity.  We will harness the classic spiritual practices and truths that transcend time and place.  We are a local representation of a timeless community.

We will practice the liturgy and the primal shout.

We will incite worship that engages both intellect and emotion, believing that the head and heart are to be integrated and not divorced.

We will build altars in the world.

We will collect and tell stories.  We will celebrate and honor the people, places and things that God chooses to use.

We will reach out without dumbing down.

We will challenge you to think hard about God, Church and culture.  We will not treat you like a consumer, but as a co-conspirator in the re-imagining of the world.

We will embrace flesh and blood.

We believe life in the Spirit has to be lived in a body.  We celebrate the Eucharist as the full expression of God’s use of flesh to accomplish His purposes.  Our own bodies are now broken with His for the sake of the world.

We are not looking to escape the world, but to re-make it.

We believe the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.   We anticipate His kingdom coming and His will be ding done on earth as it is in heaven.  We will not be done re-making the world until the final restoration of creation.

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