Sunday, April 20, 2008

Are you Emergent?

The registration fee for the T4G Conference was $249. Honestly, I thought that was a bit steep when I registered. Then, while at the conference, before virtually every session we were given 2-3 current books. By the end of the conference each person received something like 15 books. I am certain the retail cost of the books I received is near $200! All of the books are quality, I have already read two of them.

One of the books is entitled "Why we're not Emergent (by two guys who should be)". It is co-authored by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. It is an excellent book which is well worth reading. I think it is the best book on the Emerging Church movement currently available, it is certainly the most interesting. Kevin DeYoung opens the book with an excellent diagnostic to determine if you are "emergent", in so doing he really identifies some of the outward signs of the movement:

After reading nearly five thousand pages of emerging-church literature, I have no doubt that the emerging church, while loosely defined and far from uniform, can be described and critiqued as a diverse, but recognizable, movement. You might be an emergent Christian: if you listen to U2, Moby, and Johnny Cash's Hurt (sometimes in church), use sermon illustrations from The Sopranos, drink lattes in the afternoon and Guinness in the evenings, and always use a Mac; if you readng list consists primarily of Stanley Hauerwas, Henri Nouwen, N.T. Wright, Stan Grenz, Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, Jim Wallis, Frederick Buechner, David Bosch, John Howard Yoder, Wendell Berry, Nancy Murphy, John Franke, Walter Winks, and Lesslie Newbigin (not to mention McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, etc.) and your sparring partners include D.A. Carson, John Calvin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Wayne Grudem; if your idea of quintessential Christian discipleship is Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, or Desmond Tutu; if you don't like George W. Bush or institutions or big business or capitalism or Left Behind Christianity; if your political concerns are poverty, AIDS, imperialism, war-mongering, CEO salaries, consumerism, global warming, racism, and oppression and not so much abortion and gay marriage; if you are into bohemian, goth, rave, or indie; if you talk about the myth of redemptive violence and the myth of certainty; if you lie awake at night having nightmares about all the ways modernism has ruined your life; if you love the Bible as a beautiful, inspiring collection of works that lead us into the mystery of God but is not inerrant; if you search for truth but aren't sure it can be found; if you've ever been to a church with prayer labyrinths, candles, Play-Doh, chalk drawings, couches, or beanbags (your youth group doesn't count); if you loathe words like linear, propositional, rational, machine, and hierarchy and use words like ancient-future, jazz, mosaic, matrix, missional, vintage, and dance; if you grew up in a very conservative Christian home that in retrospect seems legalistic, naive, and rigid; if you support women in all levels of ministry, prioritize urban over suburban, and like your theology narrative instead of systematic; if you disbelieve in any sacred-secular divide; if you want to be the church and not just go to church; if you long for a community that is relational, tribal, and primal like a river or a garden; if you believe doctrine gets in the way of an interactive relationship with Jesus; if you believe who goes to hell is no one's business and no one may be there anyway; if you believe salvation has a little to do with atoning for guilt and a lot to do with bringing the whole creation back into shalom with its Maker; if you believe following Jesus is not believing the right things but living the right way; if it really bugs you when people talk about going to heaven instead of heaven coming to us; if you disdain monological, didactic preaching; if you use the word "story" in all your propositions about postmodernism- if all or most of this tortuously long sentence describes you, then you might be an emergent christian.


AliGirl said...

This post could not have been more timely for me. I was actually going to ask you about this very topic after the service today (and ask you how you got to my blog! ha!), but there was a huge line full of babies and my hubby was hungry.

We have a friend who's gotten into the emerging church pretty deep, and he and I've been having a duel, of sorts, on his blog. This book sounds really good, because, other than my postmodern courses during undergrad, I'm not very familiar with this movement. One of my arguements was Jesus' usage of "Word" and "Truth" to name Himself. If words don't mean anything because they're merely cultural, and if there is no truth because we can't really be sure, than what can we say about Jesus naming Himself such - that he doesn't exist?

I also wonder where you draw the line with the whole "I don't know" thing - seems like a very slippery slope.

Reepicheep said...

Ali, I had intended to get to you and "Barnzey" also!

I found both of your blogs via Nathan alerting me via Matt Austin's Facebook! Small world!

I have just ordered a bunch of these books for the book table, pick one up for sure. You and Chris should definitely read it considering all the ministry to young people you have. I want to hear your take.

Frontier Forest said...

This book does sound enlightening. I would to the Lord that a bunch of “Emergent Seekers” would have been in last evenings worship! It was one power-filled message of HOPE. After all, isn’t this the kind of theology seekers are searching for… a rational explanation of the world’s condition with consistent answers. Romans 9:10-24 has the answer. This is what understanding God’s absolute Sovereignty is all about?

christianlady said...

My church feels like it's stepping into this a bit. What's the difference between Emergent/emerging?

All I can say is our church is always talking about transformation and the like. Trying to figure out what to do...stay or go, for now it's stay and pray. We're not doing labyrinths yet...