Friday, September 23, 2005

Things That Make You Go HUH?

Defining the Emergent "conversation" Part 2

In July, when Fide-O was just a pup, I posted a blog on Brian McLaren and the emergent “conversation”. My intention was to give a working definition of the emergent “conversation”. I must admit that it has been one of the hardest tasks I have ever taken. It is now late September and I am sure of one thing. I still have no clue what anyone from the emergent “conversation” is talking about. There is a good reason for this. They can’t define themselves, and they take great pride in their lack of clarity. No one in the “conversation” knows what they are talking about either. Their battle cry seems to be “GIVE ME AMBIGUITY OR GIVE ME SOMETHING ELSE”. I do, however, agree with the seldom wrong, always certain Pyromaniac when he said that the emergent “conversation” would leave about as quickly as it came.

I am going to make an effort to add to my previous definition of the emergent “conversation”. Maybe Part 3 will come sooner than two months from now.

The emergent “conversation” uses a lot of clever phrases. I would like to take a moment to help define those phrases to those who are not yet familiar with the Post-modern lingo. I have recently taken a class called “How to Talk Without Being Understood 101” followed by the 102 class called “How to Speak With No Authority”; so, I am now qualified to speak on the subject of the emergent “conversation”.

“Ancient-Future Worship”- this is a favorite term of all the emergent congregations. "Ancient- future" worship, like all worship, should in some ways resemble the tradition doing it. If it is not authentic, it’s bogus and a show. Authenticity is so key... I can't say it enough. In this area, there is no predetermined worship style. What is key is taking seriously the witness of the early church (Acts 2:42) and the ethos of today's culture, and doing so in a way authentic to your tradition (whatever that may be). quote from

So, what did our early church Fathers do that falls under this “Ancient-Future” worship? What is “whatever that may be”? One such ancient form of worship used by emergents are Prayer Labyrinths. These ancient Celtic structures where used for contemplative prayer. To walk the labyrinth is to create balance within one's brain as the soul seeks to restore balance within its male/female aspects - the duality of its creation - the electromagnetic polarities of its physical experience. Labyrinths today are used in eastern mysticism, yoga, and the emergent “conversation”. Bear in mind that the Labyrinths were created by the same group that built fairy mounds which held magical kingdoms. Labyrinths were later used by the some Catholic churches around 1230 A.D.; which is strange to me considering the EC’s insistence that they are going back to Book of Acts worship.

Sacrilegious yet Strangely sacred” – this was the term used on a door hanger I received from our local emergent church. The emergent “conversation” loves the attention they get for being rebellious. It’s like a teenager who knows they are wrong, but would prefer the attention over doing what is right. The emergent conversation has embraced the heretical. Their philosophy begins with the supposition that if they get enough people on their side then eventually they will be right, like theological democracy. Regardless of what is the actual truth, they can make their own truth if they can get enough people to vote their way. They claim to embrace history, but that is absurd since they ignore most church history. Much of what they do embrace was completely pagan even during church history.

Like most rebellious Christians, the emergent “conversation” is about 40 years behind the world. The 60’s are over. Free love and free spirituality have already been tried. Making it free worship and free spirituality doesn’t change the outcome. The emergent “conversation” is nothing but a bunch of “christian” hippies trying to be cool. In the end, they just end up disillusioned. The great thing for the rest of us is we see the end result, and it ain’t pretty.


Sojourner said...

Look, it is just plain spooky when it is harder to figure out the emergent conversation than it is the problem of evil.

DOGpreacher said...

Wow! Just checked you guys out. checked into your archives for part 1 of "emergent conversation",
and could not help but read the other great posts. FIDE-O is the perfect blog-friend for me (being a dogpreacher), and will look forward to joining the conversation.

The Dogpreacher.

Frank Martens said...

what the wha?

Man, I go to a church that talks like this, and every time they look at me woundering if I understand I just give them the "WHA?" look.


SolaMeanie said...

I am not sure that this movement will go away as quickly as has been suspected. After all, the seeds were planted long before the official EC idea began in the early 1990s. Also, the latest kerfuffle Brian McLaren began over homosexuality on the Leadership Journal blog has really ignited a firestorm.

There is one good thing least the aberrant theology is being exposed more widely. John MacArthur's Shepherd's Conference will be dealing with the EC this year at some sessions. The Master's Seminary also has some downloadable lectures on the subject.

Anonymous said...

First let me say I really enjoy this site, and my theology pretty much lines up with yours.

Next let me say that this emergent church really is getting at some important things that we've been missing for years.

Why do you do "church" the way you do? The emergent church is reaching this postmodern culture of today and it really is working.

Why shouldn't we as Christians worship in different ways? What is wrong with having a very "vintage" or "ancient" worship-style?

Today's culture wants something spiritual. We have something spiritual. You said, "The 60’s are over. Free love and free spirituality have already been tried." Isn't the only way we can have free love and free spirituality through Jesus Christ? Shouldn't we offer free love to all those who wander into our churches? Shouldn't we freely display spirituality in our churches? Think about it.

From what I've gathered from Dan Kimball's book, "The Emerging Church," is that they are getting back to a "communal," "Acts 2," discipleship focused church. Discipleship isn't knowledge or education. "Discipleship is holistic faith and action" (215). I think theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer would agree with that. (The Cost of Discipleship).

Scott, don't bash these brothers and sisters until you actually have a better understanding of what they're about.
I tend to be cynical, myself, it's a result from being a college student, but really try to look at these guys with love and understanding instead of cynicism.