Friends, I must confess…it’s not easy to do this…but I think I’m an emergent! In other words, the whole emergent church thing makes sense to me, more so than the institutional church…but I’m a member and servant of one heck of an institution!
I spent some time yesterday looking at something of the debate going on between the EMC (emerging church movement) and mainstream evangelicism. Really interesting stuff, with a lot of axes being ground! The weird thing is that most people make huge assumptions and generalisations (I’ve just done it with this statement!) whilst criticising others about making huge assumptions and generalisations.
Having reflected on this for a while, I’ve looked back to my experiences whilst tying to figure out where I stand. About 3 years ago I would have said I was totally all for post-modern, emerging church…but then I grew up some and realised some of the pretentiousness of the whole thing. But then recently, I’ve been struck by the massive inadequacies of mainstream Christian religion – and at the same time theologically challenged to accept the openness of God. By that I mean that we can’t simply put God up in a nice evangelical, arminian box…what about the great mystery of the great unknowable? Of course, that isn’t reason never to explore who and what God is (that’s the whole point of doing theology as far as I understand it!) but it’s just that evangelicism seems to want nice and easy, abc answers and systems, whereas the EMC is more about asking questions, searching, conversation rather than proclamation, relationship rather than separation.
The one thing that worries me is the middle classness of it all…the fact that you need to have the time and the education to be able to realise you’re post-modern and part of the emerging church conversation…but what does this actually mean to the everyday people of Exeter? Having said that, what does church mean to most people anyway? I really want to be part of this re-imagining of church, and hope I will be able to be. Although perhaps the Salvation Army version is the neo/primitive salvationist thing? Hmmm…