Technorati rocks. I can almost always find interesting material through its search field, stuff on blogs I don’t normally read… I just found a post on a brand-new blog that only has one post so far. I also found Dave Berge talking about The Hyper Modern Church. He starts off with,
I am what you might call a mega church hater. I strongly question the validity of thousands of people belonging to a “church” and that functioning as an authentic Christian community rather than a source of entertainment and a producer of religious goods and services.
…so you know I’m in line with that. But then he goes all soft and reconsider-y and I worry about him, but near the end he comes up with an excellent observation; read it twice if it doesn’t grab you the first time.
I believe the emerging church conversation captures the essence of my feelings of dissatisfaction and its value as a movement or a conversation or whatever will be in how it empowers people to use their Spirit driven dissatisfaction to establish new communities they believe best represent the church for people to live out the will of God for the world. Maybe a better way of saying it is the emerging church movement will succeed or fail in how well its spreads a missional mentality to the Christian community, a Christ centric and Kingdom of God centric message. I think this will take the form of new communities because how can this new wine go in old wineskins?
I also discovered someone quoting Doug Pagitt’s recent words, “We are called to be communities that are caldrons of theological imagination not â€œauthorized re-statersâ€? of past ideas.” with his discussion following, suggesting “the basic, core activities of the Gathered People of God will have to be designed such that all people, as disciples, are active participants rather than passive recipients.” and “More importantly, worship will be the expression of the life of God lived out all during the week. The core of our life will be cohorts of disciples learning together and engaging in the common life of ministry together.” Yeah, he’s gettin’ it.
Meanwhile back at the farm, Alan Hartung is talking about a Church Fight! and noting,
What really bugs me about the whole attack on the emerging church right now is not the critique, not the fact that those with power are trying to stifle voices, nor is it that most of the critique is ridiculously unfair, unbalanced, and inaccurate. Okay, those things bug me, but what REALLY bugs me a lot, a really, really, really, ridiculously a lot… is the fact that MOST of the critique fits the established church just as well. At least the basis for the critique. You see, the established evangelical church operates as though it’s position is privileged.
The middle part lays out his argument, and concludes with,
The heart of the emerging church (the one God’s been birthing around the world filled with people who may or may not know the term) is to live out our faith in a world that’s changed, and to be able to communicate that faith honestly, rightly, and purely in an increasingly hostile world.
So, when you want to critique a structure, do so on the basis of what the structure actually does, and not just because you think your structure’s the bomb diggidy and holds some imaginary privileged position. It doesn’t.
Speaking of criticism, Si Johnston offers us Conversant with Don Carson, which is basically the private side of Don Carson, Si’s notes from a recent meeting with the man we like but whose critique we love to hate.
Also btw, Scot McKnight’s Doctrinal Statements and the Emerging Movement 4 is up this morning.