Hamo’s been mixing it up in Oz with Don Carson, enough so that it takes [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] full posts to recount the blow-by-blow (with good coments on the last one from Scot McKnight). I think that some of us were about done with Carson, but here’s Hamo stirring the pot again… and spinning it so that I’m slightly less annoyed with Carson. But only slightly. Turns out that DA took a look and a listen to what was going on down under where they refer to the “emerging missional movement,” emphasis on the missional aspect. In some respects they don’t resemble the EC (and especially EV) in the US, to the point where Carson doesn’t even seem to entirely think of them as ’emerging’ at all. I don’t buy that last one, but in DA’s eyes, it’s a compliment. You have to view through the lenses of his own definition of the emerging church, which it seems doesn’t quite jive with that of anyone who’s actually in the conversation. For the record, the scene in Canada more closely resembles the Aussie scene than the American one, so I’m going to stretch this all the way into a compliment for the emerging church in Canada from DA Carson. Okay, too much stretching.
Well, never mind. It seems that some people are seriously experiencing emerging church burnout anyway. Others (i.e., Robbymac, who would probably sympathize with burnout) are seeking a kind of “radical middle” someplace in the gulf — or holy rift between the EV set and traditional orthodoxy… or in Steve Knight’s “rift” post, between, well, let me quote:
There is a riftâ€”a â€œholy rift,â€? if you willâ€”coming within American evangelicalism. In many ways, itâ€™s already here. Itâ€™s the rift thatâ€™s being caused by two camps of Christ-followers pulling on opposite ends of the evangelical center. On one side are those who self-identify with the â€œemerging churchâ€? movement and on the other side are those who are probably best defined as fundamentalists / literalists.
He goes on to discuss an LA Times article on the Sr. and Jr. Chuck Smiths, which story he calls “an amazing microcosm of the evangelical divide that is opening up beneath all of our feet.” Anyway, perhaps this “radical middle” is something perhaps much in the vein of Hamo & friends’ version of emerging. Mainly missional, perhaps the waters one is “called to paddle in.” I wonder where “St. Larry” would paddle.
In the midst of the fray, Darrell Bock is beginning to blog about the emerging church (HT: Stephen Shileds), and (unlike Carson) has invited dialogue from “emergents” in what looks to be a more even handling of the subject, including what will hopefully be a more fair — and helpful — critique. Bock says he “want[s] to discuss the emergent movement because it is seriously trying to deal with the culture as it is and raise important issues about the church as it is.” Sounds like a promising conversation to me.
Still, it’s the missional part of the conversation that appeals to me. As an older Bilind Beggar post getting fresh attention this past week opens,
Since the Jesus Movement of the late 60â€™s and 70â€™s, there has been a budding movement within the people of God towards an incarnate lifestyle that actively engages with the culture. Not â€œof the world,â€? but the incarnation of Jesus â€œin the worldâ€? rather than in sheltered enclaves we call â€œchurchâ€? where they seek to draw others to us. This movement seems to have accelerated in recent years with the rapidly changing cultural context of America and the increased marginalization of the traditional church.
The post goes on to define what some of the primary characteristics of missional church are and are not.