Saturday, September 27, 2008

Church Tradition Story 3: Imago Dei

One time, Greg and I were hanging out with a group called Imago Dei. We went to a Celtic festival with them, but I'm not sure how that's relevant to the story.

Anyway, Greg and I had just met Imago Dei, but we didn't know what it was, so we asked Gary.
"It's us!"
"I mean, are you affiliated with a church or something?"
"I guess you could say that we are a church, but we prefer to think of ourselves as an intentional community. We aren't just about what happens on Sunday morning, we actually care about each other, and go through life together."

We talked about appropriate grounding for theological orthodoxy, I gave my "The Bible is not the word of God, Jesus is the Word" rant, and Gary nodded vigorously. I'm always a little terrified when my opinions on Christianity are taken seriously, so I asked Gary if Imago Dei is Emerging, and he said no, rather emphatically.

Imago Dei is a pretty neat intentional community. When we stopped at a gas station, a hat was passed around, and everyone shared as much money as they wanted to, which seems like a friendlier system than dividing up the bill exactly equally. When we got pizza, later, the hat got passed again. Pierre had given extra cash for gas, but didn't have any for pizza--no worries! We shared.

So we were sitting around, eating pizza, and Greg and I were asking some more questions about Imago Dei. Greg asked Jay where they meet; "Oh, we meet in homes," Jay said.
"So, you're a house church?" I asked.
"No, no, we're not a house church."
"If you grow big enough, would you get a building?"
"That's where our valuing multiplication comes in. If our group gets to be too big for us to have this sense of intimacy that we have now, we'll split."
"So you'll always be meeting in houses."
"Probably, yes"
"But you're not a house church."
"That's right."

Then, Greg asked, "Is there someone who's in charge?"
"Well, I'm the overseer."
"Oh, so you're the bishop."
"I guess you could say that I'm the episcopos, that's the Greek word for overseer, in the Bible."
"You're the bishop."
"Yes, I'm the episcopos."
"You're the bishop."
"I'm the episcopos."

Also, everyone in Imago Dei mentioned how much healing they experienced by reading John Eldredge's books; some spent a week with Eldredge in the middle of the woods in Colorado. I'm not sure how that's relevant to the story.


Edgy church breaks old rules, insists on new ones


  1. This is my favorite of your stories, maybe. These guys have some really cool and good ideas. The hat is really awesome. Really, really, really awesome. The constant division process is a lot closer to how I suspect the Church ought to work. But these guys, they also do some dumb stuff, as shown by the Bishop conversation.

  2. Yeah, I have to go with what Mr. Milligan said. Groups like this always seem to have good ideas, but get a little too anal about terminology and stuff.

    The hat idea sounds good, but such things have been tried before -- and they usually fail. Why? Because even Christians are sinful. The pilgrims tried to set up a perfect Christian socialist society at first. It just didn't work.

    And frankly, passing a hat is no different than how any normal people pass the check around and add to the "pot". Very often, I don't have the exact cash ot pay for lunch. One of my coworkers covers for me. And Christians very often don't want to be paid back. And I will cover others without expecting repayment.

    Same with the gas. Generally, the person driving will pay for the gas, but everyone else pitches in to help. You don't need to pass a magic hat for that.

  3. I also have a special soap box for saying the "Word of God" is not the Bible.

    (FYI, I have your blog feed syndicated over on LiveJournal now. Let me know if you can read any of my protected entries. I'm not sure if you have to comment first with OpenID before I can open up access to you.

    I can tell that your blog will suck me in....)

  4. I understand that doctrinal differences exist in the subtleties of language, but people that won't speak on your own terms just shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to making converts.