Growing Economic Crisis Threatens the Idea of One Europe (http://tinyurl.com/bg2ugn). The basic premise is that the European Union has a common currency - the Euro. But they do not share a common polity. Quoting the author: "With uncertain leadership and few powerful collective institutions, the European Union is struggling with the strains this crisis has inevitably produced among 27 countries with uneven levels of development."
Mainline denominations have the inverse problem: common polity without a shared currency. As Presbyterians, we have a common polity as defined by our Constitution (Book of Order and Confessions). But we do not share a common currency - who we understand Jesus to be.
For years we have focused on tinkering with polity. What should be in or out of the Book of Order. At the recent assembly, translations and versions of confessions were debated. Renewal groups spend time on votes, issues, and overtures.
But what about the other half of the equation: Christology - who is Jesus? How do we understand our relationship to him, as individuals and the church? How does that affect our interpretation of scripture?
The PCUSA finds itself in the same boat: "Uncertain leadership and few powerful collective institutions" that result in the PCUSA struggling with the strains the crisis of postmodernity has inevitably produced among thousands of churches with differing understandings of the person and divinity of Jesus.
The missional church movement is about getting in touch with who Jesus is, what he is doing in the world, and figuring out how we are called to participate in his work. In this metaphor, it is about focusing on the currency.
Without a common currency what is the point of a common polity?