The "Emerging Church" has been around for a bit, some times using a different name. There has been some confusion about what it is, who they are and where they’ve come from.
I’ve finally come across a good explanation of "EC" and it answers a number of my own questions. Have a read:
Myths of the Emerging Church [by Linda Jamentz]
myth: EVERYONE in the ec believes __________ (fill in the blank).
do NOT all believe the same things so we cannot be lumped into a box.
some are calvinist, some are Orthodox, some are quaker, some are
conservative, some are liberal, some believe in universalism, some are
arminian, some are even armenian. 😉
The emergent church began one day when Jerry Falwell had a splitting
headache. He called Jim Dobson, who promptly fetched a battle-ax and
smote Falwell in the head. When his skull split, Brian McLaren, Spencer
Burke, and Tony Jones emerged, fully grown, clothed in flannel shirts,
and drinking Starbucks. They called themselves "emergent" and joined
the pantheon of American religious celebrities.
reality: How could I come up with a reality better than that? 🙂
myth: EC names a quasi-para-church assembly, one with membership rolls, a monthly newsletter, and requirements for applicants.
Not even the EC crowd can decide who is and is not EC; the tag refers
to tendencies within established traditions just as often as it
describes those forging entirely novel traditions.
myth: brian mcclaren speaks for the emerging church and we all bow down to him.
reality: brian mcclaren speaks for himself. some of us (i.e. me for one) have never even read him.
myth: the emerging church is a non-profit organization with a board of directors and the national coordinator is Tony Jones.
reality: No, that’s Emergent Village, a horse of a different feather.
everyone in the ec doesn’t believe in truth, the bible, or morality.
they only want to have sex with whoever they can. therefore they really
as one oozer said: i am sure
i believe in truth, though i think we will not find it totally in this
life. i believe the bible is inspired but not inerrant. i am big
believer in morality, though mine is different from american dream
value or the religious right.I WANT to have sex with whoever i can but
i choose not to.
When on high the preachers became too noisy for the Market Forces, they
sent forth the mighty dragon PoMo to destroy all of them. Thus
threatened, the people of Christendom, the public religious figures,
gathered on the plains of Saddleback. They called out to one another,
"Surely we shall perish here! Who has the strength to defeat this
foe?"From among them stepped Brian Marduk-Laren. He said that if he
could deconstruct the mighty PoMo, they must reverence him as the
hippest of all latte-drinking preachers. He went forth and faced the
dragon, striking it with a windy speech about overrated literary
theories. The dragon, realizing that there were no foundations that
(s)he could set on fire, became the pet of Brian Marduk-Laren, and all
of the public religious figures rejoiced, holding up Marduk-Laren, the
win-winnest of all.
reality: No, just on a mythology kick! 😀
myth: "emergents" don’t believe in "absolute truth"
lot of us involved in the emerging conversation believe that the term
"absolute" in front of truth is a product of the Enlightenment’s quest
for certainty in regards to knowledge. We believe there is truth, and
we can know it, but to know it is to be involved in a relationship with
the Author of all reality, and even our best attempts at knowing are
chastened by our fallen nature, the limitations of language, etc. We
can know, and continue to know, as we grow in our relationship with God
and His people (past and present community of faith).
"emergents" have a very low view of the Bible, believe it to be errant
(or "not inerrant"), and genuinely have little use for it
lot of us involved in the emerging conversation have such a high view
and ultimate respect for the Scriptures and their message to us as
God’s people, that we refuse to label them with terms that arose in the
era of enlightenment and scientific method, i.e. inerrant. We believe
that defending inerrancy is answer the wrong question, and giving away
our faith for the realm of reason, and trying to defend the tradition
of our Scriptures, not on faith, but on said reason. We believe that
everyone comes to the Scriptures with presuppositions and biases, and
that owning up to them and being part of an interpretive community
(past and present) helps us to wrestle with understanding and living
out God’s message and story in our time and place.
A) No one in the emerging church believes in the existance of heaven
and hell B) Everyone in the emerging church believes in universalism
and practices eastern contemplative practices C) Yoga gets you closer
myth: Emergents willfully abuse punctuation in their forum posts.
can/will not k(now)ingly dict:ate proper u:sage. "They" simply fol/low
the con/vent/ions that "I"nternet and CORPorate folks have set. [ehem,
linda here: my lack of capitalization has nothing to do with
postmodernism. i’m a designer and i like uncapitalized type, just like
good old e. e. cummings]
myth: people in the ec are evasive and won’t give you straight answers.
reality: as len j says in a great post on his blog,
"Postmoderns are not looking for answers so much as someone to honestly
share the journey." honesty is key. we don’t have all the answers and
don’t pretend to. and we don’t like it when others pretend to have all
the answers or give pat answers to the difficult questions of life that
only God can answer.
myth: Emergents are all cool: cool hair, cool clothes, and down with pop culture.
myth: people in the ec don’t go to church.
church is the body of believers. it is not a building nor an event on
sunday morning. thus, we don’t "go" to church because we "are" the
church. but, we do gather locally with other believers for fellowship
and edification, but this may take many forms such as a dinner in
someone’s home, hanging out in a coffee house or pub, or serving at the
local soup kitchen.
myth: The EC is really for younger people who will eventually "grow up".
EC is not an age stage related movement; but rather a response to the
growing issue of expressing the message of Christ in a context
understandable to the postmodern worldview. The 60 year old adult who
has lived in Seatlle for their entire life is likely to possess much
more of a postmodern worldview than the 18 year high school graduate
living in the Permian Basin of Texas.