Leroy Garrett writes about changes within his denomination, the Churches of Christ, a group with which I once identified exclusively. I say exclusively because it is not that I do not identify with those churches today, it is just that I also find my identity with many others as well. I am not finding my home with fewer churches, but with more.
However, due to the demands of exclusiveness that are intrinsic to much denominational thinking, and very true of Churches of Christ, having a Christ-identity which embraces many denominations is sufficient to have one excluded from many groups.
In discussing what is happening among some Churches of Christ, Leroy praises one congregation in Fort Worth for not leaving that particular heritage "and becoming rootless." He talks about other congregations taking generic names and leaving the restoration.
However, I would suggest that there are not only these two options: 1) persisting in a restoration tradition, and 2) going generic and becoming rootless. In other words, is every congregation which doesn't keep a particular name and identify with a certain line of teaching and thinking necessarily rootless?
I am not accusing Leroy of believing in only two options. I don't know what he would say, but I am merely reflecting on my impression of his thoughts. I agree that many seeker-sensitive, mega-church wannabes do opt for a very generic and lowest common denominator type of ecclesiology, if not theology. Many do try to cater to people's consumeristic desires and apparently become rootless, even if unintentionally.
But let me say that I do think that there is another option - becoming rooted in historical, creedal, orthodox Christianity in a way that is not exclusive. Rather than becoming a rootless community, perhaps some congregations might leave the more distinguishing externals of Churches of Christ (or other denominations), not in becoming what some have called a-historical, but to move more thoroughly within historical Christianity.
If there is at least this third option, it is the one I aspire to follow. I certainly do not want to say that to preserve my "roots" I have to adhere to certain particulars of denominations in which I may have grown. I also do not want to simply reject those roots and be the church of now.
What if sometimes staying rooted means losing some exclusive aspects of an identity that comes with that particular heritage? Certainly seeking renewal within a denominational identity is admirable. One may also seek renewal within Christianity as a whole, and embrace the largest history of all believers.