A Christian discussion blog for those interested in living a blend of Christianity that is as counter-cultural as it’s supposed to be. As a counter-culture we need to make ourselves truly different, yet also truly available – to anyone and everyone. Postmodernism is here and the Church needs to embrace a paradigm shift- (i.e.- emergence). And we need to do this while coming together (i.e. convergence). The journey continues…

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Postmodern Tension

This evening I have been doing some research on Brian McLaren and the so-called "Emergent Church" movement. I must say that my feelings are decidedly mixed. Some of the things I read make me go - "Yes! That's what we need in the Church!" Other things make me go- "Ugh- tried that. It wasn't what it was cracked up to be." An expression from Ecclesiasties also comes to mind- "there is nothing new under the sun." Still, I am a die-hard- and as such, I'm still churning some of these questions through my heart and mind.

For those of you not too familiar with this material, the main goal of the Emergent movement, is to come up with an experience of Christianity (via a journey) that is vital, and engaging for the post-modern generation(s)- (aka Gen X and Gen Next). Now doesn't that sound great? In fact- doesn't it sound theologically "delicious?" It does to me. What I wrestle with however, after having pursued some of this stuff for several years now, is that it never ends up being quite what its seemed it promised it would be. Having "practiced" this pursuit, I, and others alongside me, have found that the thought and the goal is much more noble and engaging than the end product.

Human beings are human beings- and in that sense, there really is nothing new to be discovered. And even more importantly, the new or "newest" version of the church is just as susceptible, if not even more susceptible (by the very virtue of its "newness") to the brutal and base ugliness of pride. Being cutting edge, for the cutting edge's sake- is just not worth it. It's got to be about discipleship, or as an old pastor/mentor of mine used to say- "If it's not about changed lives, then let's turn off the lights and go home."

Now to flip the coin again, the part of me that resonates (even still) with the goals of the Emergent movement, finds it appealing because it hints at a change in attitude and approach. I still believe that for the most part, we (i.e. the Evangelical Church), approach "the World" with abstract doctrine moreso than with "incarnate love". And that's a big deal. There's a reason why Jesus came in the flesh rather than on a bunch of newly inspired slabs of stone. People need people to be examples of "the redefined life". It began with Him and is supposed to continue with us.

Anyway, I will write more on this in the near future but I thought I'd get out some raw thoughts while they were perculating- so to speak. I guess a good way to sum this all up would be to say that, after having been a part of a churchplant that was and is trying to walk out this postmodern journey, I have almost as many criticisms of it as I have of the "old regime" we came out of. But that's a discussion for another day. Stay tuned...

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