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Monday, July 27, 2009

Am I emergent? I might be


Tim Challies posts this quote by Kevin DeYoung knowing if you're emergent or not. I have to put a tick by a lot of those boxes.

"After reading nearly five thousand pages of emerging-church literature, I have no doubt that the emerging church, while loosely defined and far from uniform, can be described and critiqued as a diverse, but recognizable, movement. You might be an emergent Christian: if you listen to U2, Moby, and Johnny Cash’s Hurt (sometimes in church), use sermon illustrations from The Sopranos, drink lattes in the afternoon and Guinness in the evenings, and always use a Mac; if your reading list consists primarily of Stanley Hauerwas, Henri Nouwen, N. T. Wright, Stan Grenz, Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, Jim Wallis, Frederick Buechner, David Bosch, John Howard Yoder, Wendell Berry, Nancy Murphy, John Franke, Walter Winks and Lesslie Newbigin (not to mention McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, etc.) and your sparring partners include D. A. Carson, John Calvin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Wayne Grudem; if your idea of quintessential Christian discipleship is Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, or Desmond Tutu; if you don’t like George W. Bush or institutions or big business or capitalism or Left Behind Christianity; if your political concerns are poverty, AIDS, imperialism, war-mongering, CEO salaries, consumerism, global warming, racism, and oppression and not so much abortion and gay marriage; if you are into bohemian, goth, rave, or indie; if you talk about the myth of redemptive violence and the myth of certainty; if you lie awake at night having nightmares about all the ways modernism has ruined your life; if you love the Bible as a beautiful, inspiring collection of works that lead us into the mystery of God but is not inerrant; if you search for truth but aren’t sure it can be found; if you’ve ever been to a church with prayer labyrinths, candles, Play-Doh, chalk-drawings, couches, or beanbags (your youth group doesn’t count); if you loathe words like linear, propositional, rational, machine, and hierarchy and use words like ancient-future, jazz, mosaic, matrix, missional, vintage, and dance; if you grew up in a very conservative Christian home that in retrospect seems legalistic, naive, and rigid; if you support women in all levels of ministry, prioritize urban over suburban, and like your theology narrative instead of systematic; if you disbelieve in any sacred-secular divide; if you want to be the church and not just go to church; if you long for a community that is relational, tribal, and primal like a river or a garden; if you believe doctrine gets in the way of an interactive relationship with Jesus; if you believe who goes to hell is no one’s business and no one may be there anyway; if you believe salvation has a little to do with atoning for guilt and a lot to do with bringing the whole creation back into shalom with its Maker; if you believe following Jesus is not believing the right things but living the right way; if it really bugs you when people talk about going to heaven instead of heaven coming to us; if you disdain monological, didactic preaching; if you use the word “story” in all your propositions about postmodernism—if all or most of this tortuously long sentence describes you, then you might be an emergent Christian."

10 comments:

Tim Simmonds on 27 July 2009 at 22:30 said...

U2 and Moby? Emergent means being 15 years out of date then?

Phil on 27 July 2009 at 22:57 said...

Well, firstly it's Christians we're talking about. Secondly, it's American Christians so the fact that this music is mainstream at all is an achievement. Thirdly, it's mainstream with overtones of faith but isn't worship music. Lastly, fair point. It's not my quote.

Tim Simmonds on 28 July 2009 at 10:06 said...

prayer labyrinths and candles sound like a lethal combination.

Phil on 28 July 2009 at 10:07 said...

Does indeed - never tried them together but it's an idea!

markmeynell on 29 July 2009 at 10:54 said...

Feeling confused - point taken re music eras etc. But what am I if i tick only about half these boxes? Emerging with only one leg out...?

Phil on 29 July 2009 at 12:37 said...

Hi Mark
Emerging? Or you could be going the other way! What is that de-merging? Re-merging?

markmeynell on 29 July 2009 at 15:36 said...

Ah. Fair point...
Hadn't thought of that... (I suspect it's probably submerge, btw)
Feeling a bit insecure - i think I'll retreat back into my shell now...

Phil on 29 July 2009 at 16:59 said...

submerge - of course! Must have had a language bypass at that point

Huw on 1 August 2009 at 17:33 said...

I feel very emergent, actually! With no desire to submerge again, either. What is interesting about the word is that for someone like me in a "modernist" (propositional truth/evangelical) church, it can be the very actions of those churches that encourage emergence in the first place. You emerge INTO something else, and as I have commented elsewhere, what forces you to emerge is seeing the scripture afresh to walk humbly, love mercy and do justly. Above all, it means putting Jesus at the heart of our understanding of our faith, rather than the propositions we love so much in evangelical churches. However, if what God is after is a deep reaching out to each other in whatever faith expression we have been used to, then emerging can only go so far. We need, like Mark, to "keep one leg in the water" so we are always in touch with that that has fed and sustained us. I think that this, rather than the emergent bit, is what McLaren is really on about in "A Generous Orthodoxy". If being emergent means we pay more attention to God's longing for his creation, his beautiful (well, potentially) church and for his love-ruled kingdom, then, whatever music we listen to (any fans of Orchestra Baobab out there?) we are emergent....

Peter on 6 August 2009 at 12:44 said...

Most of the things in that list are fine with me (although I would tend towards seeing a lot of them as wishy-washy which I do not like). Some however are pretty horrible. If that is a list of requirements, then no thankyou.

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