I have to go back and read this article again, so I thought I’d share: A Growing Hunger for Honesty and Authenticity; it begins,
You have feelings of fear and dread. Your PCA born-and-bred son has gone away to the “big university.” Will it be a negative influence? Will he reject his covenant heritage?
He returns home for his first break, and you begin to notice some strange and disturbing patterns. As you ask him about his faith, he’s elusive. At church on Sunday, he seems uncomfortable and irritable. You begin wondering if this is it – the moment every Christian parent dreads. Has your son abandoned the faith?
At Sunday dinner, you muster the courage to ask. And his response floors you. Dad and Mom, I’ve got something to share with you. I’m frustrated with church. It doesn’t tackle the deep issues I wrestle with. Here it comes. This is it. You grab each other’s hand. And then he says it.
This doesn’t go where you think it turns out sonny has gone all emerging-church on them. And the article continues on to explain what the emerging church is… so for anyone (like me) who’s found themself in conversation answering questions like “Brian who?” and “Emerging what?” this article should be of help…. because it’s nice to be able to explain it without sounding like you’ve been hoodwinked by the emerging boogeyman going postal on the evangelical church. More:
The new, emerging church (2000-) led by the younger evangelicals involves a re-commitment to the depth and substance of historic Christianity, without the rigid fundamentalism or mindless liberalism that characterized much of the church in the twentieth century. Within these churches one is apt to see a focus on the Trinity and God’s transcendence (“it’s not about me”), a fondness of mystery (“don’t pretend you have all the answers”), a desire for honesty (“don’t make church a show”), space for lament (“I need to know God hears my cries”), the language of story (“don’t give me more principles…show me how I fit into God’s story”), and a craving for community (“size isn’t proof of God’s presence; love is”).
The article is of interest to me because it considers people leaving Pentecostal / Neo-Pentecostal / Charismatic churches in search of a more emerging church experience. “Wait a minute,” say the Pentecostal / Charismatics, “We’re the ones who left the traditional churches, why would you want to leave here?” Turns out I’m not the only one wondering about this… in this blog post from EC’05, Desert Pastor says,
A Charismatic who is part of the Emerging Church is a pretty rare bird. In fact, some would say that an emergent-charismatic is an oxymoron! For this reason, along with many others including my own observation and wondering as to why so few Pentecostals and Charismatics are part of the emerging church conversation
Read the comments too, you’ll start to get a sense of how big this question is and how nobody’s got a real handle on it yet. Having recently come to the realization that I am, yes, a post-charismatic (that label is for you, Rob), this question has occupied my thought somewhat lately. As I start reconstructing, it is very likely that this is one of the issues I will need to grapple with. Without giving up on some of the fundamental charismatic doctrine, what does post-charismatic emerging church look like?
To be continued.