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 resonate with the people of this City and in ways that draw 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 Carroll Gardens and Red Hook in Brooklyn and the Sunnyside, Astoria, and Long Island City 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 and within most urban areas the Church and Christianity increasingly exist within minority status. This is the first time in U.S. history where the Church no longer occupies a position as a primary influencer of societal thought and action.  A majority of younger people are now raised without any kind of spiritual or faith-centered education.

For followers of Christ, how shall we live? How are we to understand ourselves as humans, as citizens of this country, and in relation to one another? How do we help our neighborhoods flourish? How do we draw, educate, and form new people who want 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 Church (a.k.a. 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 ideology, people got tired of all the politicking and left. Plus, there developed among Baby Boomers a generational way of thinking that demanded that Christianity be remade in an image reflective of general cultural trends. 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 rising generations reaching adulthood and coming into their own and as a response to the increasing politicization of American Christianity, many people never became involved in and have no desire to be involved with organized Christianity (or any religion). The "Nones" arrived.

Among many X'ers, the "Emergent Church" conversation arose. 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 less importance to the general society - and at times in real conflict with general cultural trends.

The Emergent conversation was correct in pushing us to rethink how to experience this Faith within dramatically different contexts, but we realize that many new "communities" and expressions tend to be temporary and transient. The movers and shakers often repeated the same mistakes of the past repackaged in modern technology and terminology. 

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 and its interaction with society.

What does it mean to experience anew the enduring Faith in quickly changing cultural contexts? What does it mean to investigate the Christian Faith within emerging societal expectations never before experienced in the U.S.? What does it mean to experience a religious/spiritual quest - to find God - as new and intriguing?

The Way of Christ

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.

When we think of a "worldview," we consider a consistent understanding of our world in the context of our culture, history, language, and lived experience. At any given time, all of this can be fraught with conflict between the ideals we espouse and what actually goes on within and around our everyday lives.

The Way of Christ teaches a means of living and understanding the world that is increasingly alien among the general population of most "Western" societies. What are the implications? As Christians, what are we to teach and proclaim? How are we to be the imago Dei among the people in our everyday lives in ways that resonate by them?

Within this construct, we are currently focusing on two areas of emphasis for our common life:
1. That which enables human flourishing
2. The seeking of wisdom

THE IMAGO DEI SOCIETY

Striving to be the imago Dei through our everyday lives.