Thursday, September 08, 2005

A New Kind of Conversation: for the bemused, the blazing and the grinding

Mention "the emergent church" and you will be met with reactions that range from puzzled bemusement, blazing enthusiasm, or tooth grinding consternation. This topic has kindled debate and fueld discussion on the blogosphere, in print, and in conversation. For those who fall into the bemused category, you might want to read the wikipedia overview (while the lingo might be a bit technical, the links at the end of the article are a portal to other helpful articles) or the emergent webite called The Ooze.

Then we're caught between the blazing enthusiasts and the tooth grinders. The challenge to discussing the emerging church is that it is continually emerging -- no-one truly speaks for the movement, though there are a number of prominent voices in the conversation. As such, there are trends within the movement that are of concern to those of us in the "Emergent Paleo-orthodox Conversation" (these are the people who tend to grind their teeth). However there are also some elements of the conversation that are refreshing and much needed (these are the people who tend to blaze with enthusiasm).

For instance, I'm quite concerned by the ambiguity about the knowability of truth -- much of the emergent conversation seems to flirt with a dangerous subjectivism. On the other hand, I find the missional focus to be quite refreshing -- that the church is not a club to which we belong, but a mission station in the community in which it is placed, and we're called to minister to that very community. Like I said, some points of concern, but also points of praise.

Some of the main voices in the emergent conversation are inviting an online discussion of the emergent movement. They're calling it A New Kind of Conversation. If this topic has any interest to you, whether you're bemused, blazing, or grinding, please sign up to be a part of the conversation. This is an opportunity to both sing Amen and to voice concern.

Soli Deo Gloria

PS -- Also, take note that I've redesigned the links section at the bottom of the right hand column. It's organized now by eras of my life (because, of course, it's all about me). I've added more links to interesting people. But you can help by pointing me to more folks who ought to be on the list (I'd love more links to old friends from High School, College, and Seminary -- please help me reconnect). The blogosphere, after all, is about expanding the conversation.