Monday, September 22, 2008

The "X" Church/Movement/Thing

There are critical discussions happening all over the blogosphere regarding the "Emerging Church."

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Gen X intellectuals are notorious for hating the fad, and guess what the Emerging Church became a fad. The anti-institution, anti-Boomer, post-Modern church finally grew up, found itself at home, and hated it.

Gen-X'ers are also notorious for whining, and I just can't help myself from thinking, "This is what we wanted! An enormous discussion of what it means to follow be the have faith in God!" Now that it's here, we (and I use "we" as a proponent of the Emerging discussions and as a young Gen-Xer) want to chuck it. We started the discussion, and now others have engaged...well, now, apparently, it's too big. There are so many voices engaged that there has come...[gasp] disagreement [insert sinister music here]!

We can't use Emerging because it sounds like Emergent, which we DEFINITELY can't use because those crazy liberal Evangelicals might burn the Church right to Hell. Missional doesn't sound as cool, but it's OK because it sounds like something a Christian should do. "Organic" is passe, and besided organic products are usually more unhealthy than the rest.

Most discussions I've read are about renaming one group so that another group of Christians won't be confused with them.

I thought boxing people and ideas in were the very things we were fighting so hard to avoid? I thought that engaging the world and the Church were our goals. Now all of a sudden we want to switch names and identities because someone has a different idea that we don't share? How absolutely dogmatic and Modern (could I have insulted post-Moderns anymore?).

I know that some have said they don't want to defend others' beliefs due to the broadening of the Emerging concept. Well, I don't like defending the Crusades, the Reformation, D.A. Carson, fundamentalists, John Spong, or even myself most days...but that's life.

We are what we are. Names are irrelevant. A football called a squiggie is still a football, the name is merely a symbol of the reality present. No matter the new name we try to present, there will always be those that disagree, misrepresent, or misunderstand.

Changing the name in this case sounds too much like, "It's my ball. It's my rules, and if you don't like them, I'm going home."

Perhaps we need to be discussing the real issue: Why isn't the Church effectively ministering to the culture and people around her?

1 comment:

Todd said...

That's an interesting topic for discussion. I admit that any time I see either of the words Emergent or Emerging then Church I pretty much just avoid reading about it since I rarely know which is which.

Even in this blog post I read that word and then followed by reading skeptically until I could figure it out based on context. So I can definitely see why the Emerging Church movement would desire to call itself something else to avoid confusion.

But I also agree with the point that the name makes no diiference. Getting wrapped up in movement naming is not the point of it anyway. Let people call it what they want it doesn't matter either way. While I don't know the heavy details of what the Emerging Church is striving for I feel a connection with it as it seems like somehting I have been involved in since high school before it had a name. Back then we called it Gen-X ministries, but now that it has arrived it is all the same and call it what you want its new-ish and has already been called a million things.