OK, I said in an earlier post that I was taking a break from addressing frustrations in the “Emergent” camp. That lasted a couple days.
I came across a youtube video where Doug Pagitt offers some “reflection” on the terms emergence, Emergent, and the emerging church. You can view it here…
I’m not even sure where to begin…
A while back, when I made note that there seems to be a evident attempt by some within Emergent Village to blur terms to make their pet project larger than what it is, someone got very mad at me. They blasted me for being negative and assuming things about anothers heart. The problem with their statement is I have been around these talks for a few years now. I have sat and dialogued with or at least listened to the voices I am addressing. I have watched their work and have watched their trends. As a pastor and a bookstore owner, I have had two very interesting vantage points to take all this in. I do not speak off the cuff or without consideration.
So, with that in mind, the “reflection” above is again, different than what I have heard before from Doug Pagitt. This is another example of when a term is not working, we redefine it. Then if we say it enough and in our best “professor” type format, then maybe they will believe it.
Emergence – My definition? A new word for postmodernism. Yes, it does effect more than just the church and should not be ignored. It does not redefine Christianity or Truth but it is a factor in reaching the world. I get it. However, it’s been around for 500 years? Um, OK? Ah, no.
Emerging Churches – Churches who are addressing the postmodern community in none traditional ways. It is not a statement about theology as much as style. A church can be theological sound and emerging as well as a church can believe falsehoods and be traditional. They are independent of one another.
I can see the emerging church movement as a subculture within emergence. Still with ya Doug on this little part.
Emergence = Emergent. Ah, no.
Now he does mention Emergent Village and Emergent at different times so you could say “Tom, you’re being a jerk. Obviously he means the two as separate.” If this was the only video or “reflection” I have heard on this, I would probably give the benefit of the doubt. However, it’s not. I do believe it is a conscience confusion to add more credence to the organization of Emergent Village, which commonly goes by “Emergent”. If this is the case, then saying that the emerging church movement which embodies thousands of churches is a subset of Emergent, a few leaders having a following of a few hundred churches is a little bit of a stretch.
But for fun, let’s say I’m wrong. OK, Tom you’re wrong. Doug is drawing a distinct line between Emergent and Emergent Village.
OK, then why the need to call Emergence…..Emergent?
Second, Emergent is not the network within the emerging church movement! There are several different options. There are many fab churches within Emergent Village. I don’t deny that. Just because I disagree with many theological stances of some of the “leaders” including a disbelief in hell, salvation through an accepting of Christ as Leader and Forgiver, and some others. However, I don’t believe in guilt by association so I’m not saying that. There are many theologically messed up churches in Emergent as well as in any network.
For instance, I am getting more and more involved in Catalyst, a network for emerging churches as well that I am very excited about, challenged by, and encouraged within. I’m sure there are many teaches that are scary and some awesome ones as well. That will happen when there are thousands of churches coming together. However, on the main points of salvation beliefs, I agree with the leaders and the message they are putting out there.
Sorry, that was a side rant. If you want to say that Emergent Village is “A” network within emerging church movement but it is not “THE” network.
Yes, I am on a rant. Sorry. I really want to take a break from it but it’s kind of liking having an idiot brother-in-law (Emergent, not just Doug) in the family. You want to keep your distance and not get affected by the goofiness. However, they just do something else at the family get together and you just want to bang your head against the wall.
Here’s what I would love to see happen……the leaders of Emergent repent and move forward more Biblical sound. I am praying for this.
In the mean time….
Be a network of emerging churches. Stop claiming to be “the” network
Don’t talk about others using labels and then dance to redefine them to create an illusion
Don’t talk about traditionalists hiding behind education and intellect and then list your credentials on your home page and pull them out when a skeptic disagrees with you
Don’t say others are branding and marketing Christianity and then go out and do it yourself including a jazzed up “Old Time Revival” book tour
(Forgive me Republicans) Don’t pull a Palin where you put blogs out there and then refuse to answer questions or challenges. When you do finally take on a high profile skeptic to push the agenda, answer their questions and converse with them instead of talking to them tongue in cheek trying to expose them as “hypocrites”.
OK, that’s enough for now. If you disagree with me, that’s more than fine. My blog for my vent, I guess. If you think my blog lacks the grace I should give, you’re probably right. Pray for me. However, that doesn’t change the points made for your consideration.