(This Post was first posted at www.interrelationalchurch.blogspot.com on March 22, 2006. The content is still very relevant for the current state of the body of Christ. I look forward to some thoughtful responses to this post)
Welcome to the Interrelational Church blog. My desire is to communicate an ecclesiastical direction for those who are questioning the traditional structures of how “church” is done. There has been much talk about an “emerging” church over the past decade and I would like to offer some form to the emergence. I would like to name the emerging church.
Why the “Interrelational Church”? Why not the “Relational Church,” the “Community Church,” or even more relevant, the “Postmodern Church”? Why is the word “interrelational” so apropos to what a Biblical representation of the Church should look like? I believe that the term “interrelational” best describes how the Body of Christ should work. Some definitions of the word “interrelate” will help make the case:
encarta.msn.com defines “interrelate” as: “have or bring into a relationship: to have a relationship in which each person or thing depends on or is affected by the others, or cause persons or things to have such a relationship.” http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861621977/interrelate.html
wordreference.com defines “interrelation” as: “mutual or reciprocal relation or relatedness.” http://www.wordreference.com/definition/interrelation
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “interrelate” in a transitive sense as: “to bring into mutual relation,” and in an intransitive sense as: “to have mutual relationship.” http://www.mw.com/cgibin/dictionarybook=Dictionary&va=interrelation
These definitions primarily suggest that the term “interrelate” refers to relationships that are mutually effective and cooperative. The Encarta definition is especially helpful in that it expounds on the fact that “interrelatedness” means dependence on the other; to be affected by the other. It is a “reciprocal relation,” as wordreference.com puts it. Leaving the “inter” out of the “relation” leaves the “mutual” aspect out and thus leaves the relationship up to the winds of individuality. That is what the “inter” is ultimately trying to deconstruct; the individuality that drives most relationships. The Church has long been the pulpit of the individual rather than the Image of Christ.
“Interrelational” is a descriptive term that reveals the reciprocal relationship that each individual has within the Body of Christ. One member of the body cannot move without affecting the rest of the body. There is différence, but it is a corresponding difference; one that works upon a common foundation that “inter”-locks those relating. The “Interraltional Church” is the name that we believe should be given to the emerging church. It represents community with a foundation; community with a common purpose. This purpose limits it and opens it up. It limits it in terms of ethical interaction with the world but yet opens it up to communicate with that same world, in hopes of drawing more individuals into the interrelated body of Christ. Yet the foundation must never, can never, be compromised in order to allow others in on their own terms. God does not make deals on the “other’s” terms. The Foundation of the Body can never point to “other” than Himself, because to do so would be idolatry. So therefore, the Foundation on which we stand as an interrelated body, Christ Jesus, must be represented in a faithful way, a way that is faithful to His revelation of Himself.
With this brief statement as a compass heading, let us begin to discuss church in terms of interrelation and cast visions together of how to best establish these Biblical concepts in local congregations of the Body of Christ.