In what ended up being not one of the finer hours for my message board, we were visited (read: plagued) with a troll who once offered this insightful critique of the emerging church movement. We could tell he was serious because he used TEH CAPS LOCK!1!
EMERGING CHURCH REQUIRES THAT YOU
1. BE WHITE
2. MAKE MORE THAN 70K / YEAR
3. USE A MAC LAPTOP
4. HAVE A STUPID ASS BLOG
5. WEAR TRENDY WHITE SUBURBAN CLOTHES
6. PRETEND THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THINGS LIKE JUSTICE AND LOVE
7. PARTICIPATE IN RITUALS THAT MEAN NOTHING BUT IF WE SAY IT MATTERS IT WILL
8. USE POWER POINT IN CHURCH SERVICE
9. MASTURBATE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ONLY
10. WANT TO SPLIT THE CHURCH EVEN MORE BECAUSE A FEW MEGALOMANIACS IN AMERICAN EMPERIALISTIC FORM WANT TO BE KINGS OF THEIR CHURCHES AND A NEW WIDER CHURCH.
I don’t know how he researched our masturbation habits (though I must say, that certainly adds a new dimension should we ever consider developing a secret handshake), but I thought that I would try to actually engage him in conversation. Just as I’m sure this is exactly the kind of post that would make my emergent friends happy. Anyway, an actual emergent scholar, Scot McKnight gives a more cogent analysis of the Emergent Church movement in The Covenant Companion called “The Future or Fad: A Look at the Emerging Church Movement”. For those that have no idea what I am talking about when I refer to the “emerging church”, McKnight defines it this way:
So what exactly is the emerging movement—or the emerging church as it sometimes known—all about? It is a conversation about the future direction of the evangelical church in a postmodern world; it’s a reaction and a protest against traditional evangelical churches; and it’s a conversation focused less on theological niceties and more on “performing” the gospel in a local setting.
“Emerging movement” is an umbrella term that refers to a group of churches, pastors, writers, and bloggers who are exploring the missional significance of culture, philosophy, and theology in a postmodern context. Within the EM is the Emergent Village organization, largely an American group identified with Brian McLaren, Ivy Beckwith, Tim Keel, Chris Seay, Doug Pagitt, Dan Kimball, and Karen Ward, along with Andrew Jones (a.k.a., the “Tall Skinny Kiwi”) who lives in the United Kingdom. Other emerging voices of sorts would be Rob Bell, author of Velvet Elvis, and John Burke, author of No Perfect People Allowed.
Our church considers itself a
We join in the conversations, but have no interest in any of the faddish aspects that some folks tend to adopt in the name of being trendy. We describe our church as missional rather than emergent because here anymore, when you say emergent people either have preconceived notions of what you are about or have little idea what you’re about. [It didn’t take but a few encounters for me to come away thinking that “I have a pretty good idea of how it is perceived. A bunch of what amounts to Christian hippies; New Agers cloaked in Jesus. Self-stylized, post-modern, deconstructionists who hold to no absolute truths, no moral core, and don’t value Scripture.”]
The trap of such a perception–or worse, the reality–comes if a church, in the name of being different and relevant end up just changing the trappings of worship rather than the content. Worship isn’t about mood lighting or an acoustic guitar (or for that matter, a full worship band who has the volume set to 11). And I shouldn’t have to constantly sit through a series of Celtic influenced services where I come away thinking that Jesus was actually the Lord of the Riverdance.
Maybe it’s just me.
Or maybe not.
My friend Emergent Mosaic poses some interesting points illustrating his frustrations and concerns and thus why he’s leaning towards becoming post-emergent. I love the phrase “a generous ortho-praxis.”