This is an idea that seems to float about in the emergent conversation. These words get bandied about. For example, Makeesha writes: "Can we create a new and more effective Body of Christ that better glorifies the multifaceted beauty of our Living Lord?"
From an Orthodox perspective, any such question MUST be approached in the forum of personal repentance, I think. I have to ask: Can I become a new and more effective servant of Christ who better glorifies the multifaceted beauty of my Living Lord? And that is why I go to confession. And that I way I engage in the ancient disciplines of the Church. That is why I learn to fast, pray and give alms both in time and money. That is why there are intercessory prayers offered up on behalf of all.
But the idea of recreating the Church...this doesn't sit well with me. Who are we, to take such power into our own hands? Who are we to stand in such judgment on our brothers and sisters? Because the Church is not just the ones I see when I go to a certain place on Sunday morning, or Saturday night, or whenever. It includes those who have already fought the fight and who are interceding for us in heaven. We are one body, and to speak of "recreating" something as holy and precious as the Church of Christ, whom He has made His pure and spotless bride, is presumptuous.
Now, if we want to use different language, and challenge the people of God to works of mercy, to purer lives, to living the gospel in new and deeper ways, this I can wholeheartedly endorse. But missional living is nothing new. It may be a new word to define a certain phenomenon, but I would offer up St. Juliana of Lazarevo, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Xenia of Petersburg, St. Herman of Alaska and espcially St. Maria (you know, the one in Paris) as a examples of missional saints. The list could go on and on. This is nothing new. From where I sit, intentional community is room temperature, and saints such as these are those we strive to immitate.
The Church, then, does not need something new. She needs something ancient. She does not need us to recreate her, but rather WE need to be recreated by the great physician and healer, Christ.
So perhaps we agree in principle, but not in the language being used.
Talk to me.