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. 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 in New York City

Imago Dei is situated with the people of New York, primarily in the neighborhoods of Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the Sunnyside neighborhood in Queens. We currently have two Home Groups - one for adults and one for college students. (Home Groups are regular gatherings where we discuss life, faith, and how it all fits together in the contexts of our lives.) For more information: info@imagodeiinitiative.org

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

Over the last sixty years, we have seen definite upheavals in American Christianity resulting from the dual influences of generational change and in the infusion of socio-political ideologies into the affairs of the Body of Christ.

A perfect storm developed in the 1950's and '60's. When the Protestant Mainline denominations allowed themselves to be overwhelmed by liberal ideological thinking beginning in the 1950's, people got tired of all the politicking and left. Plus, there developed among Baby Boomers a generational way of thinking that demanded that Christianity must be remade. There was a generational rejection of that which came before them. American-Evangelical denominations were the beneficiaries of the Mainline exodus.

As the 1980's began, the American-Evangelical denominations repeated the mistake of the Mainline by allowing themselves to be overwhelmed by conservative sociopolitical ideology, and young people began and continue leaving in droves.

These are the "Dones" we read about - those who left organized Christianity of whatever stripe and are no longer involved in any kind of religious organization. 

With Generation X (X'ers) coming into its own and with the Millennial Generation reaching adulthood and as a response to the increasing politicization of American Christianity, many within these and following generations never became involved in and have no desire to be involved with organized Christianity (or any religion). The "Nones" have arrived.

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.

The Emergent Conversation was correct in pushing us all to rethink how to experience this Faith within 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 mistakes of the past repackaged in modern technology. We are and continue to be all too human.

Interestingly, sociological studies over the past 20-years all suggest that what the "young people" want is what the Church always had - 1,700 years of enduring faith and practice - traditional architecture, liturgy, language, hymnology, etc., but with the allowance to forthrightly wrestle with and debate the particularities of the Faith.

What does it mean to experience anew the enduring Faith after former, negative experiences? What does it mean to investigate the Christian Faith in a context the U.S. has never experienced before? What does it mean for people who seek God without the inner demand to reject, but rather who see the religious/spiritual experience - to find God - 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." As American society continues to be less and less "Christian" (what is just, fair, compassionate, and loving of neighbor and all others) the implications for the Church and the way we live out the Way of Christ are significant.

How shell we then live?

We are currently focusing on two areas of emphasis for our common life:
1. That which enables human flourishing
2. The seeking of wisdom rather than the justification of propositional truth

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

THE IMAGO DEI SOCIETY

Striving to be the imago Dei through our everyday lives.