Monday, January 22, 2007

The Emeriging Church - Interesting Article

A friend of mine passed on an article to me on the Emerging Church. It's by Scott McKnight, who is a part of the Emerging Church and is also a professor at North Park Seminary (not on my top 100 list). I think it does give a very good overview of what the Emerging Church is, and even points out some flaws (which is hard for any of us to do about ourselves). I am sure much could be said in response the article, but if you want a good overview of what the Emerging Church is about, this is as good an article as I've seen. I'm going to include some lines from it, and then you can read more of it yourself if you want to - and you should read about it unless you are already very familiar with it. It's something you are going to hear more and more about in the coming years.

"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."

Gibbs & Bolger define it as - Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses nine practices. Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as producers, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities.

Some emerging Christians see churches with pulpits in the center of a hall-like room with hard, wooden pews lined up in neat rows, and they wonder if there is another way to express—theologically, aesthetically, and anthropologically—what we do when we gather. They ask these sorts of questions: Is the sermon the most important thing on Sunday morning? If we sat in a circle would we foster a different theology and praxis? If we lit incense, would we practice our prayers differently? If we put the preacher on the same level as the congregation, would we create a clearer sense of the priesthood of all believers? If we acted out what we believe, would we encounter more emphatically the Incarnation?

This article is worth reading, really. They are asking some great questions. I don't think you have to denounce truth to find the answers to the questions. Much more could be said.


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