You might have to be charismatic or post-charismatic to really want to dig in on this one, but a budding discussion at Emerging Grace has me thinking about this question. The comment I just posted there says in part,
…I still believe in the prophetic… largely because I’ve seen the fruit. But right now I’m more than happy to keep quiet about it and be in a quiet season (I used to call that a desert, now it’s just a quiet purging). These days I feel more like living prophetically than speaking prophetically. In this regard, I kinda feel like I prophetically left my church… maybe in 2 years they’ll understand that.
I’m somewhat of the opinion that the emerging church is a prophetic movement, but not one filled with prophetic words. This is a good thing, because words are, at the end of the day, just words. Living your message is being prophetic, and it opens the door to slip in the odd word here and there anyway ;^)
I recall the quote attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.” (Or as I’ve said, “Live your faith. Share your life.”) I wonder though if this isn’t simply one of the ways of the emerging church… just as the missional lifestyle is one of the core values, with actions are prized above words…. in the same way, perhaps the prophetic voice to the church in these days is not a “voice” at all, but a way of life. The missional life speaking to the institutional church of another way of “doing life.” Come to think of it, that was how Jesus lived prophetically as well… but look where it got him, the old guard didn’t take too kindly to his way of living or his message.