Thursday, May 8

New Obsession

Before I get to this new obsession, I would like to say that I have taken my two hardest finals, and have felt a surge of relief. I still have three more, but those should be fairly easy.

Okay, so thanks to my friend, Olivia, I have a new obsession: The Emerging Church. Now, it's not like the "oh em gee I love this!" obsession... More like a "What on earth is going on? I want to know more..." obsession. All that I have heard about the Emerging Church has been from skeptics, so when I started reading blogs by Emergent Christians, I was very confused. They don't mention any of the stuff my friends had mentioned, like denial of Hell or watering down the consequences of sin, although one article did talk about keeping theology loose. (read it here!) This idea is put into words in Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis. I loved Velvet Elvis, I really did. But his "spring theory" was a little weird to me. I'm not really sure how I feel about removing pieces of theology like the Virgin birth and the Trinity... I really don't mind that Rob would just say I felt threatened... I just think he's wrong.

Anyway, I have so many questions now. So many things seem good about the Emergent church. The fact that they appeal to my generation is genius. Talk about granola! :) But seriously, they approach pop culture in a very real way. Instead of pretending it's not there, they approach it. I'm tired of Christians who try to pretend that controversies like drugs, sex, alcohol, and porn are not enjoyable. If they weren't enjoyable, no one would do them!! That's what has been cool about working at Pine Cove... When they ask you questions, you can be real. We don't have to pretend that participating in the things of this world isn't fun. That's just confusing. Although I have never really partaken in any of the mentioned "forbidden sins," I can tell by looking around that people like those things. I mean, I enjoy tv shows and movies that are full of that stuff. As Christians, we have to learn to approach those things with an attitude that says, "sure, it brings me pleasure. But I have chosen to stay away because I have decided to live above reproach." That is where I am unsure about the Emergent church... I found stuff about them appealing to my generation by acknowledging the things of our culture, but I could not find anything about how they respond to it... Regardless of if they are considered corrupt, "conservative" Christians can live in this world just as badly as anyone.

I want to read Why We're Not Emergent this summer. I am so excited to learn more. This Saturday, the Village is doing a seminar on the Emergent Church... I want to go SO bad!! But I have a final... of course. But if you are in Dallas on Saturday, you should so go!

And I really want to read Mark Driscoll's new book, Vintage Jesus. Mark was part of the emerging church, and said this about his experience:
In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God's sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.

So yeah, I am really interested in seeing what he has to say... The book looks SO cool.

Here are some other websites I checked out while reading about the Emergent church:
An Emergent Christian's blog
5 parts of the Emergent Church



liv said...

I just need to sit down and write up a really long post on my thoughts, thus far in the book (why we're not emergent).

As far as what you said about some of the things the emergent church deals with, i definitely agree that they have some very strong points--for sure. The whole concept of reaching this generation within the context of our culture is right on and definitely how i feel about ministry as a whole. However, I disagree with a lot of the 'conversationalist' within the emergent movement in that i don't think that our theology needs to be 'repainted' as bell suggested in order to meet the culture. That it isn't something that is constantly 'evolving.'

They, the conversationalist of the movement, tend to hold to a very low view of scripture that is frighteningly scary, to be honest. Some have suggested that faith shouldn't even be a part of christianity that its all about 'living the life of jesus..' that scares me, to be honest.

Anyways, those are just some really random and quick thoughts on that but I'm excited to talk to you and bryan more about this. It is extremely interesting and so relevant in the church today.

I was gonna go to the emergent seminar at the village but got called in to go lead on a 8thgrade retreat..we'll just have to buy the audio cd's i guess :)

"We long for Jesus--not a shapeless, formless, good-hearted ethical teacher Jesus, but the Jesus of the New Testament, the Jesus of the church, the Jesus of faith, the Jesus of 2 millennia of Christian witness with all of its unchanging and edgy doctrinal propositions" --p. 117 of 'why we're not emergent'

Lacey said...

hrrmm... this is interesting. i really would like to read up on this stuff, it comes up in lifegroup and many many many dialogues at Antioch (shocker).
in classic form of this week, i wikipedia-ed "emergent church" and that was a pretty good overview of the general stuff.

basically: COMMON GROUNDS. everything i've read seems to scream that common grounds is a form of the emergent church.

one thing i wonder about it how the emergent church views heaven. how do they justify entrance into heaven, if they claim it at all? it seems like the emergent church doesn't draw too many clear cut lines, so issues can be interpreted so many ways.

i love the openness of their postmodern ideas though... like you said, just accepting that the secular world is appealing and easy to enjoy. but i would like to hear more about where they go with that... just because we can all accept and agree that secularism is inviting, doesn't necessarily mean we should all go be missional and be secular. the whole "in this world, but not of this world" comes to mind.

hmm. i will stay tuned.

hales said...

The Common Grounds/Antioch/Granola look is def something of our generation that churches these days are using to reach us. But I don't think you have to sacrifice theology to reach people. Places like Antioch, UBC, and the Village do a very good job at reaching our generation without compromising God's Word...
And some of the questions they ask are a little over the top... hah.

Meg said...

I have been really wrestling with the ideas of the Emerging Church myself. It is something that my mentor at my home church and I discuss frequently. I have come to somewhat of a conclusion that it is much more than just this modern view of Christianity, but it is a movement. A movement past the traditional church, a movement based purely on love. Talking with pastors and reading Shane Claiborne, has made me realize the true call of Christians to merely love one another as much as humanly possible. To effectively change the world by loving them. Of course people (geniuses) such as Rob Bell go to the extremes saying stuff about the virgin birth and what not, they are merely trying to gain attention to the fact that nothing else matters if you do not love one another. This movement is much bigger than a couple of guys writing some books, but it is a call to change the world. To make Christians leave their lives of complacency, in which so many find comfort in. Leonard Sweet is a huge instrument in the movement, and he has a really cool podcast if you get a chance you should listen to it. But anyway, I am going to be praying for you this summer and I can't wait to see the way the Lord moves in you!

Mike Morrell said...

I appreciate the props on my blog -- you can find far more, though, right here on -- 6,000+ emerging church websites. Enjoy!