I want to say "Thank you" for your recent comments. I really appreciate hearing what others have to say.
Stemming from a lot of different motivations, and as you can tell, I am deeply interested in what is being called the Emerging or Emergent Church. Regarding the so-called EC, I did a couple of posts last summer. They are here and here.
For now, my plan is to do a lot more reading and listening and less writing about this. However, I do want to add a follow-up to yesterday's post about the Emergent Church.
The leaders within this movement would be the first to admit that there's a real sense in which the EC has never been and will never be a church per se. My contention is that the other word "emergent" is likewise an overstatement or misnomer.
Why? First, a disclaimer. Admittedly, I am looking at the phenomenon called the EC not as a "member" (where would one go to join?) though I am sympathetic to some of its emphases and directions. Nor am I a well-read student of the EC.
I enter this discussion mainly as a student of American Christianity in the 20th and, now, 21st centuries. And here's what I see. The sociologist David Moberg has described a certain group of theologically-conservative Protestant Christians . . .
"whose stance is more of a 'spirit' than a well defined theology as they advocate an interest in human beings as whole persons (not just 'souls' to be saved) in active Christian involvement in sociopolitical affairs, including the revolutionary struggles of our day, in new forms of worship, . . . in reappraising life values, and in opposition to the idolatry of nationalism and the judging of spiritual commitment by external culturally defined appearances and participation. They thus draw close in political, social, cultural, and even theological concerns to many of the priorities of 'mainstream . . . liberalism'."
Sounds familiar, yes? Moberg's description was published in 1975. And he's summarizing the observations found in Richard Quebedeaux's book The Young Evangelicals, published in 1974 (the year, by the way, that Brian McLaren turned eighteen).
So my take is that what we're looking at in what is described as the Emergent Church is not particularly "emergent." The sort of discontinuity suggested by that term is, in my opinion, unwarranted.