<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d11370521\x26blogName\x3dlifeawakened\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://lifeawakened.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://lifeawakened.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-9042490887796518309', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Missing the point?

So I read 3 issues of Relevant magazine in the last couple of days because I had them, but I really want to comment on the article in the July/August edition entitled Missing the Point. It is a short article about the emerging church that isn’t necessarily positive or negative. There are a lot of opinions out there, this one seems to say there might be problems with Emergent as an entity, and so maybe also the emerging church as a group. To set the record straight, Emergent is the official entity, not really a denomination, but a group that seems to oversee what is going on in the emerging church. The emerging church is less stringently defined, but is really where the grass roots efforts are coming from. For more on the division, I suggest you check out the article or do some googling. Or ask me directly.

So my reactions to the article. Or thoughts I had while reading it. Right now, Emergent isn’t set on defining a statement of faith or making blanket statements about anything. This seems to be a criticism, but I definitely see it as a positive. As we begin to see that divisions are only constructions of what we are able to do with our language and thoughts, it is going to be harder and harder to really outline what is right and what is wrong. When churches have statements of faith that require this and that and more and more, that is instantly not appealing. Weren’t all of these rules what Jesus taught against? Emergent (by way of Tony Jones, the national coordinator’s statements) does say that things like the Apostles or Nicene Creeds hold up, but that as we continue to build up more and more and more rules and regulations and requirements, we are drawing borders, creating and us and them. (Google Acts 29 network and read their doctrine, these are the kinds of statements I am REALLY wary of) Suddenly we have to get defensive and protect our borders, keep people out of what we hold onto. Jesus didn’t want us to keep people out. Jesus wanted us to open our doors, forget divisions, care for the lepers and the children and the prostitutes and the poor and the tax collectors, etc.

Emergent has also been accused of being the “Religious Left” as a backlash to those on the “Religious Right.” Oh yes, let us create more divisions. I mean, I can honestly say that I don’t agree with a word out of Pat Robertson’s mouth. I care about social justice. But shouldn’t we be moving away from these paradigms? Most people I know stand firmly in the middle because their opinions are so varied. Again, we create an us and them. Emergent doesn’t want to be the “Religious Left.” It just wants to be some place where people can be in conversation about things that are meaningful. Things that can help change the world.

The other big thing that keeps coming up is the issue of absolute truth. I think Jones did a good thing by really getting at the underlying meaning of what absolute is and is not. Do we have the right to use absolute as a label? Can truth as it stands be absolute? I’m wary to think so, I’m wary to make blanket statements about things I’m just beginning to sort out. All I know is that I’m on this journey, and though parts of it may be hard, I know that my relationship with God is something that I am certain about. Am I certain that everything I believe is true? No. But faith is something that I think gains strength when we wrestle with issues. I don’t think I could ever be complacent and not challenge myself in what I think and believe. I often worry about people who think they have it all figured out because when tragedy strikes it can all fall apart.
In any case, I do think the article was good, I think it is good to struggle with the ideas coming out of the emerging church. I also think that for the emerging church to move forward, at some point the focus must change from deconstruction to reconstruction. Though the shift in thinking is that we know less and less the more we know, there has to be a way to meld that postmodern thought with the gospels. I think there is beauty in the mystery of what God is calling us to be. I think there is something peaceful in the unsettling feeling that I just don’t know everything. I’m excited to call myself a part of a group that is working towards change and is working towards caring for others. It is all about conversation, and it is all about working towards the fact that the Kingdom of God is among us.
« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

2 Comments:

Awesome Post! You target what was the biggest transition for me: In eight years of secondary education and a lifetime of personal Bible study I was on a desparate quest to reach a point that I understood the mysteries of being a Christian. Even after being ordained as a pastor I still did not feel I had the command of everything I had hoped to find. It was only within the emergent group that I finally felt peace---that it was OK not to know the answers. I have found the joy is not in grasping the grail, but indeed the joy is in the journey.

By Blogger Kel aka Daddyo, at 8:35 AM  

Well,
I hate to let two different secrets out of the bag, but here goes:
1. there is not special secret book of answers that you are given at a certain age/stage in life - it is the answers you find and continue to find and continue to find and continue ... that make you who and whose you are.
2. also - there will continue to be those people who cannot define themselves as who and whose they are unless the do so by labeling someone else as other. for some it is not about their journey so much as it is about us v. them - keeping a small circle of us requires control and meticulous (sp?) definition ... which does not leave much space for "letting go and letting God."
Craig

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 AM  

Post a Comment