Imago Dei Initiative

Striving to be the image of God through our everyday lives.

WELCOME to the IMAGO DEI INITIATIVE

We strive to experience the enduring Christian Faith within emerging culture and among rising generations.

We serve in New York City

We live and move and have our being in New York City, particularly Brooklyn. This is an incredibly diverse place of colors and ethnicities and languages and religions that is always changing. Our challenge is to be the imago Dei (image of God) in ways that will resonate among the people of this City and in ways that will draw and challenge them to consider the Way of Christ. The way we live our lives, the way we move, the way we speak during every moment within this incredible context serves as an example of loving God and loving our neighbors.

IMAGO DEI at ST. PAUL'S CHURCH

Imago Dei is situated with the people of St. Paul's Church in the Carroll Gardens and Red Hook neighborhoods of Brooklyn. You can find out more about St. Paul's on their website. You are invited to join the us on Sunday mornings at 11:00AM (10:00 AM in the summer months) for the Holy Eucharist services, Monday-Thursday at 7:30AM for the short (15-20 minutes) meditative Morning Prayer.

We are thinking through...

As we intentionally, consistently, and persistently investigate how we are the Church, the mystical Body of Christ, the community that strives to live the Way of Christ, we are continually thinking about our changing context. How shall we live? These are a few things we are thinking through...

The Church and Christianity in minority status

Among rising generations beginning with the Millennials, within most urban centers, and among a growing number of the less educated, the Church and Christianity increasingly exist within a minority status. The Church no longer occupies a central position among social institutions or as a primary influencer of societal thought and action. This is the first time in U.S. history where this is the case. A majority of young people are now raised without any kind of spiritual or faith-centered education.

For people of faith, followers of Christ, how then shall we live? How are we to understand ourselves? How are we to adapt in positive and productive ways? How do we draw, educate, and form new people who what to experience an authentic Faith?

The Enduring Faith

When the Protestant Mainline denominations allowed themselves to be overwhelmed with liberal ideological thinking beginning in the 1950's, people got tired of all the politicking and left. There developed among Baby Boomers a generational way of thinking that demanded that Christianity must be remade. There was a wholesale rejection of that which came before them. American Evangelical denominations were the beneficiaries of the Mainline exodus. As the 1980's began, the Evangelical denominations repeated the mistake of the Mainline by allowing themselves to be overwhelmed by conservative sociopolitical ideology, and young people continue leaving in droves. Boomers and some X'ers responded with the "Seeker Movement" which striped the expression of "church" of traditional iconography, liturgy, music, etc. The "Seeker Church" was born - they thought this would draw in again those who rejected the pre-Boomer Christianity. Yet, this became an extension of the Baby Boomer rejection of all that came before them. With Generation X coming into its own and the advent of the Millennial Generation reaching adulthood and as a response to the increasing politicization of American Christianity, these generations simply left organized religion altogether. The Nones are born. Among many X'ers, the "Emergent Church" conversation rose up. They took upon themselves the task of reimaging the Christian Faith in the context of Post-Modernism and Post-Christendom. They asked the question of how to live out the Faith in a pluralistic society where Christian thought and practice were and continue to be of little importance to the general society. This seems to be the final stage of the Baby Boomer endeavor - we continue to think we must remake Christianity into something different in order to be "relevant" or pertinent or popular. The strange thing is that sociological studies over the past 15-years seem to all suggest that what the "young people" want is what the Church always had - 1,700 years of enduring faith and practice. The Emergent Conversation was correct in pushing us all to rethink how to experience this Faith in dramatically different contexts, but we realize that many new "communities" and expressions are often temporary and transient. The movers and shakers have often repeated the same, ancient heresies of the past packaged in modern technology. We are and continue to be all too human. So then, what is the baggage the Church has been carrying around or the chip on its shoulder over the past six or seven decades? What does it mean to experience anew the enduring Faith, but in contexts the U.S. has never experienced before? What does it mean to people who seek God without the inner demand to reject, but rather see it all as new and intriguing?

Worldview and divergent understandings

What is generally understood as the "Christian Worldview" or perhaps "Christendom" has come to an end - or at least has come to an end among large segments of the population.

The National Study of Youth and Religion emphasizes that the default faith of younger people beginning with Millennials is no longer Christianity, but is now "Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism." Moreover, the study suggests that this is what Mainline Churches are teaching its young people, rather than the enduring Christian Faith. As American society continues to be less and less "Christian," the implications for the Church and the way we live out the Way of Christ changes.

When academia, when entertainment, and when cultural influencers no longer have an underlying "Christian understanding" of what is the human being, of what humanity comprises, of a person's place in society, of what society generally means, of what the material world represents to us - all of this places a new hurdle before the Church concerning the formation of Christians and a positive influence within greater society.

The Way of Christ teaches a way of living and understanding the world that is increasingly alien to the general population. What are the implications? What are we to teach and proclaim, even if unpopular or considered subversive or abhorrent? How are we to be the imago Dei among the people in our everyday lives in ways that can be understood by them?

THE IMAGO DEI SOCIETY

Striving to live as the imago Dei in our everyday lives.