Friday, May 04, 2007

Emerging Church - Collection

As with my Tribes collection two months ago, this is just a convenience post to put all my Emerging Church links in one place, with a sample paragraph to remind me which essay it was. Nothing new, but convenient for those who wish to review. The collection goes oldest to newest, in reverse order than online. Notice how long it took me to get rolling. Ugh.

Emerging Church - Very Preliminary info
There is a difference between the Emergent Church, which is a specific organization associated with Emergent Village, and the Emerging Church, which is a more generic name for a broad movement. Critics of the movement often fail to make this distinction, which is not only inaccurate, but somewhat insulting, as the distinction is often mentioned...

Church Emphasis
I am still reading up on the Emerging Church, and will eventually offer opinions. Akafred sent me an article about another movement, the Simple Church. In the last two decades there have also been movements of Seeker-Friendly and Purpose-Driven churches...

Magic Words
“Okay, I take his staff and I blaspheme his god. What happens?”
“How exactly are you blaspheming his god?”
“I, uh, say I blaspheme thee. I blaspheme thee. I blaspheme thee.
“Roll d20.”
“Your own deity strips you of two wisdom points. Wanker...”

Next Gas - 420 miles
I have noticed in myself that I feel a powerful ambivalence about the EC, and such strong attractions and repulsions are always interesting. An understanding of this is gradually taking shape...

Why Discuss EC At All?
Most people are not familiar with the Emerging Church, and don't show much interest in it when articles go by in the magazines or in conversation. There have been all sorts of movements in the church over the decades, so why should we pay particular attention to this one?...

Intro To Emerging Church
For wandering about the web, these sites provide ongoing discussion of what people are doing and thinking about the EC: Tall Skinny Kiwi and Scott McKnight's Jesus Creed site. Both have the advantage of talking about many faith issues with emerging church views in prominence, rather than a mere back-and-forth op-ed style of defense and attack of EC versus traditional model church. The Emergent Village site has both. There are hundreds or thousands of other sites, for which you can follow the links at these three...

The Emerging Conversation With The Assistant Village Idiot
The Emerging Church conversation is composed of nice, earnest people who want Christianity to be more than a text-based, Sunday morning experience. They want to return to some earlier, multisensory forms of worship, including especially the visual arts, which they believe have been increasingly neglected in the modern church. The EC stresses Christians in community, knit to each other but still interacting with the culture around them. They believe the older culture of Christendom has eroded to the point that the church can no longer use it as a vehicle for bringing Christ into the world, and new models for transforming society must be developed. They have very cool names, too, like Mosaic, Sanctus1, Solomon’s Porch, and Vaux.

So why would a Christian want to kick people like this around?

Probable answer: because I am a grouchy and irritable person who can only focus on the negative...

Beginning Slowly
The Emerging Church likes to have narratives instead of dogmas, so I will start with some stories.

There is an apocryphal story of a woman who had seven demons who came to Jesus. "Daughter," he said, "what would you have me do?" "Cast out six." she replied. "Or maybe five..."

EC And Postmodernism
This Postmodernism thing is very important to a lot of folks in the Emerging Church. As Assistant Village Idiot, it is my job to point out the obvious. In all my reading about the EC, I was puzzled by how frequently it came up. We’re postmodern. We minister to postmoderns. This is a postmodern world. The traditional church is stuck in modernity. This is puzzling because postmodernism as a philosophical approach is unnecessary to what most of them want to do...

Liturgical Dialogue
Cantor 1: They believe Christian practice should trump doctrinal disagreement.

Cantor 2: They’ll end up heretics

Cantor 1: You’re anal-retentive.

Cantor 2: They’re anal-expulsive.

Cantor 1: Lord, have mercy.

Cantor 2: Lord, have mercy.

People: Christ, have mercy.

Emerging Church And Community

Here’s another obvious statement: The Emerging Church movement is very big on community. They are very concerned with forming and nurturing community, living out in the surrounding culture as an example of the Kingdom of God. Readers may be grumbling at this point “what is this hypercritical SOB going to find wrong with that?” I’m glad you asked...

Another Postmodernism Thought

The Carol Gilligan theory I had rejected long ago. When quiet, respectable Alabamans didn’t want civil rights for black people in the 50’s and 60’s because it would be disruptive to their communities and way of life we didn’t call that a postmodern morality or ethics of care, we called it for what it was: self-serving rationalization. Some critics of the war in Iraq accuse George Bush and the war supporters of merely caring about our people over their people, discounting any supposed principle behind our actions as a mere evasion. They do not say this approvingly, noting that it is a more postmodern, ethics of care, feminine morality; they condemn it as an abomination. And if it were true that there were no other principles behind our actions, simply a preference for our people over theirs, it would be abominable. Huh. Go figure. When the tables are turned, the “advanced” morality is revealed for what it always was: evasion...

Charles River Church
I don't want to be a reviewer of churches ever in my life, because CS Lewis makes such a point of it in The Screwtape Letters. But I think like a reviewer, so it hobbles me somewhat...

Now that I have half-formed my own EC opinions, I will now turn to the DA Carson book that is somewhat critical of the emerging church. Perhaps the pendulum will swing the other way, and my hypercritical focus will be turned on the attackers now...

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
We use a form of self-fulfilling prophecy to train the young, or new members of groups. We announce to them what the expectations are: what virtues are expected, what faults will be excused..

We’re Irish; we have a temper but we’re loyal.
New Englanders aren’t very demonstrative in their emotions.
You’re a McInness, and no McInness has ever stooped to thieving.
Our people have always been slow to anger, slow to forgive.
We don’t do those things because we’re Christians, and we answer to God more than man.
That’s not the Army way.
Other companies will try and sell people things they don’t need, but we’re proud of our focus on the customer...

A Portable Faith
I read the words “Portable Faith” intended as a disparagement recently. It was an emerging church commenter criticising seeker-friendly and megachurches. I imagine the point was to emphasize the importance of community, and to take a swipe at church-shoppers seeking entertainment...

Funeral: On Art In Church
As a Protestant, I was always struck by how astonishingly ugly more than half the art was in Roman Catholic churches. Garishly painted statues, enormous murals of saints in pain, ornate altars that lit up like a carnival ride – what was with that? The expressions on the face of Jesus, and the stilted postures the put Him in – how did that give one the idea of a warm and welcoming God? Wouldn’t it be more likely that children would grow up petrified? The stained glass windows – now those I liked, even when they were impossibly ornate or had symbols I didn’t understand. We had stained glass in our church as well, and staring at them was sometimes the best way to get through a Sunday morning. A lamb carrying a flag, crowns, pelicans, ships – I loved that stuff. I had no clue what it was about until I was older, but it was great. Compared to listening, that is...

Is The World Changing?
It has become so automatic to declare that the world is changing, ever more rapidly, so that "change itself is changing," that hardly anyone doubts it. This alarming, difficult world we are entering is supposed to be so different as to disorient those not prepared for it. Technological advances will be so profound as to render our ability to cope with them in jeopardy...

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