I hear the idea that the Christian world- specifically evangelicals (include emergents)- is going to pot. There are those who wonder, "Can any good thing come out of those who don't think just like we do? Who don't have "church" like we have it? No. A resounding, "No!!!"
This opens up a host of issues I don't care to try to touch on here. What I'd like to look at briefly is the idea that God's work continues on. And God's work often neither looks "pretty" nor feels comfortable. Nor can we know with scientific precision how God is going to work out his will we see in Scripture. It can take on different looks and practices. Different ways of fulfilling God's revealed will in Jesus, as given to us from Scripture.
Just yesterday Scot McKnight had a quite interesting post outlining a huge, diverse (I believe), scattered, sprawling movement. Of people who are disenfranchised at least in their minds by "church". But who end up, perhaps, in the end, practicing more of a pure church.
This is really not a question between either seeing the glass half full or half empty among professing Christians and their practice as church. It's more like being open to the wind of the Spirit in finding ways to more faithfully live out our faith in following Jesus as those of the community of God in mission to the world.
I say to those engaged in this, "Keep at it." This is the kind of learning, as we have Scripture in hand and are seeking to do God's will as church, that can really make a difference in the world. This is what we need. This will help the rest of us in learning to do God's will as church, better.
What is your take on church more as missional community, which departs from traditional church in a number of significant ways? Does it have to be an either/or question? What about the Reformers saying that the church is to ever be reforming?