"It is said that emerging Christians confess their faith like mainliners—meaning they say things publicly they don't really believe. They drink like Southern Baptists—meaning, to adapt some words from Mark Twain, they are teetotalers when it is judicious. They talk like Catholics—meaning they cuss and use naughty words. They evangelize and theologize like the Reformed—meaning they rarely evangelize, yet theologize all the time. They worship like charismatics—meaning with their whole bodies, some parts tattooed. They vote like Episcopalians—meaning they eat, drink, and sleep on their left side. And, they deny the truth—meaning they've got a latte-soaked copy of Derrida in their smoke-and beer-stained backpacks."
The above quote is introductory to a great article in Christianity Today, “Five Streams of the Emerging Church: Key elements of the most controversial and misunderstood movement in the church today,” by Scott McKnight. Thanks to Rob (Revolution Hawaii) for bringing this to my attention. It can be found in its entirety at the following link:
Just a couple of observational comments for reflection:
- Feels, looks and tastes like The Salvation Army when it was emerging as a movement (as most emerging church movements do).
- “Consciously and deliberatively provocative” – reminds me of the Old Testament Prophets, John the Baptist and Jesus...William and Catherine.
- “The truly infinite God of Christian faith is beyond all our linguistic grasping.” God is defined not in our sayings, but in our doings (Compassion in Action, Doing God’s Good).
- “He (Jesus) cared…not just about lost souls, but also about whole persons and whole societies” – which is the direct opposite to “institutionalization.”
- “…the issue of who is in and who is out pains the emerging generation.” This was very much an issue for WB, even as a teenager.
- “…like many in the emerging movement, I think the Religious Right doesn't see what it is doing.” Dogmatism is always deaf, dumb and blind, unfortunately.
The “emerging church” is not a new phenomenon; it has always been there, transpiring and evolving. It’s just that the labels assigned reflect the culture of the day. We shouldn’t be frightened or threatened by it, nor should we allow it to put us on the defensive. In fact, we would do well to embrace it just as James, John, Peter and all of the other disciples did.