Saturday, December 09, 2006

emergent stuff

The emerging/emergent church, as it is called, I think, in the present day, is largely a healthy expression of the younger generation seeking to make the faith their own. And they are not satisfied at just their personal selves and lives. They are looking at the whole thing.

In doing so, I think they're asking many good questions. Foundational ones, to be sure. Like, What does it really mean to be a follower of Jesus? What are we, as church in the world? And how is that to play itself out in the context of our day? These are questions of praxis (practice) and that is where their emphasis lies (generally). Maybe because they perceive the church at large to be concerned with theological belief, and much less concerned, evidently, with practice. Or they simply believe that both the theology and practice coming from it, are off track.

Overall, I think this is a good expression of faith for our day. Anything that makes us want to get back to the foundations of our faith, to see how it was expressed in belief and practice from the beginning, is good. And then seeks to understand what has happened in the story of God from that time to the present. And seeks to find what we're to be and do now, is good.

Instead of criticizing aspects of it we may find questionable, or mistaken, we need to step back and try to take in the whole. And ask ourselves, what is really going on here. We can do this only by letting the emergents speak for themselves. And hopefully, from that, entering into a conversation with them. In a posture of friendship as those who would receive, as well as offer anything.

Jesus Creed is a good place to start. Read and study from that blog, of Scot McKnight, and other emergent blogs he has as links. And read books from theologians who are influencing this movement, such as N.T. Wright, LeRon Shults, John Franke and Kevin Vanhoozer (not to mention, Scot McKnight).

I think we'll find in all of that, much we'll appreciate. And much there to help us in our own faith and journey as church, and as people of God.


Allan R. Bevere said...


I quite agree. I was part of a panel discussion on the emergent church a few months ago. I am amazed at how movements are criticized because they are not all things to all people. No movement within the church is, but clearly the emergent movement has massaged a raw spot in the faith of more than a few people.

No movement is perfect, but we should appreciate what is happening in the emrgent movement.

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks. I appreciate your own appraisal and thought in regard to this.

Lukas McKnight said...

I think, above anything, the word behind emerging is authentic. Real faith, real practice, real belief, real relationship- drop the rest. Nice post.

Ted Gossard said...

Yes. I pick that up, too. Authenticity is a nonnegotiable with emergents, and this makes them want to find what is real, and then be a real part of it. I admire that. And this should be true of all Jesus followers.

Dan Brennan said...

Good thoughts, Ted. I concur with Lukas' thoughts on authentic. I love the authentic passion among emerging Christians.

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks. This is important for these young people, and really for all of us- making the faith our own. And finding our place individually, together in the Story.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...


This is too often forgotten, so thanks for reminding us. Sadly, there are those who seem to refuse to be anything but negative about the whole journey. I have even lost relationship from extended family for my "affiliation" with the emerging church. Therefore, the importance of what you are suggesting is significant. Thanks!


Ted Gossard said...

Thanks for your thoughts.

Your thoughts remind me of something here that is important. There is something inherent in the journey that is unsettling. Faith, by nature, especially when viewed in Jesus, I think challenges us to the core of our beings. Many want a less unsettling and shaking in their experience. And think that to be right and righteous. But life surely teaches us something different than that. So I think this is part of what the emergent vision involves.

I would also add that if any group was judged like emergents are, then what group could stand and would we want to be a part or fit in with such group?