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Emergent religion is an approach to religious identity and belonging that, while rooted in historical precedent, is situated and made at home in postmodern, postestablishment settings. First evident among Christians in “post-Christendom” contexts in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia/New Zealand, it has since manifested itself among Israeli, North American, and British Jews, and there are signs of emergence in American Islam. The communal life of emergent practitioners is marked by holism, pluralism, and an acceptance of ambiguity. Rather than form a community defined by physical location or gatherings at certain times and places, emergents define their community as people who have a shared mission in the world.

Emergent practice is concerned with “authenticity”—that is, experiences consistent with the roots of the tradition but ...

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