Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"why i'm post-emergent"

It finally had to happen I guess. I’ve just felt to often that the values I embraced for living the faith and I thought I saw in the emergent conversation have not materialized in reality. So I finally have to admit (not that anyone cares) I’m post emergent. Why? Here are five reasons.

  1. The conversation still looks to much like the old conversation, white, male and academic. The dominant culture still dominates.
  2. The values behind the conversation aren’t readily expressed in actions. No generous orthopraxis to go with the generous orthodoxy. (see my previous post)
  3. The lexicon of the white European theological framework which still dominates. There is very little inclusion of black theologians and the theological framework of people of color. People of color seem to be included in the conversation only if they are willing to use this language and framework. It seems we all need to read NT Wright in order to have any credibility.
  4. Talk, talk and more talk. My experience is we love to talk about this stuff but other than retro worship stuff we don’t get around to acting on it. Even so talk about diversity has never come to the fore. I want to be the church and act like the church not just talk like the church.
  5. Ultimately its about relationships and I have made some good ones which go beyond the whole emergent (non movement) thing. So I’ll go about the spiritual practice of reconciliation through relationships with my brothers and sisters and leave emergent tag to others.

andre daley explains.

it was #5 that i resonated with the most. i think we all long for the transpropositional. Now, for me, that's something I've gotten out of the emerging church conversation. But I also realize it's totally possible to talk about being transpo more than actually being transpo!

ht to jordon.


iggy said...

I am not sure that it is about being "post emergent". But rather, that some still have the umbilical cord has never really detatched from the "modern institution".

I agree to a point that there seems to be a lack of color, yet, maybe it is that we are expecting culture to adapt to the "framework"... which is without realizing it very modern. We need to allow the framework to develop within the culture, meaning that the definitions will also develop. To me diversity is not just about "color", but more acceptance. The realization that all of us are equals... that the highest of academia, and least educated can connect. In this, I see a trancendance of "color".

Also, this is still very new, and development of the values, which will define the "orthopraxis" that has to come from Christ, and grow in us to move to God's purpose. For if we expect ourselves to "do" the works of God... it won't happen, we need to allow God to "work" through us. That is true orthopraxis.

Remember this is about changed hearts, not academia, not a movement, not theology... It is the Life of Christ lived in and through us. In a way I see that we are on a journey where we know "it" is just over that hill.... and then we find the next hill... that compells us to the next hill.

Each is connected, yet the terrain has changed and we have grown stronger. It is in this journey that we beleive we will find what we "Hope" for. Yet, also knowing that we will not reach the fulfillment until the last day when Christ returns.


Anon said...

I must concur with this assessment (speaking as a white American male):

The conversation still looks to much like the old conversation, white, male and academic.


The lexicon of the white European theological framework which still dominates.

One of my first observations about emergent/postmodernist theology back in its "early days" was that there were millions of Christian believers in other parts of the non-Western world who knew the Lord, were taught of God, were filled with the Holy Spirit, were faithful in suffering, had genuine community life, yet who were (and still are) completely oblivious to everything "postmodern and emergent" - and it isn't hurting them any. It doesn't mean a thing to them, and they're doing fine without it. If the emerging church is THE "wonderful new thing" that God is doing right now, then why is he doing it almost exclusively in affluent AngloEuroWhiteLand, especially since, on the whole, that is arguably the most indolent, atrophied and toxified part of Christ's Body right now? Is our dysfunctional, ingrown state somehow ironically meritorious, and does it really give us a superior perspective on what God is doing?

It's interesting that emergent voices often cite the adage that "history is written by the winners." I think the same could be said of the emergent perspective on things. After all, we're the "winners" with the most publishing companies, coolest Web sites, most money, hippest conferences, and most frequent flier miles. We've already "won" the fight to write this chapter, since we own the printing press, the ink, the truck, and the bookstore.

Agree with the positive relational aspects (point 5), but also with the desire to drop the tags.

rick said...


Might I suggest you take a visit to Capitol Hill Baptist Church downtown just south of Union Station?

They are solidly traditional Southern Baptist and make no bones about it. Yet I saw more diversity on a Wednesday night Bible study there than I did visiting the largely suburban Cedar Ridge.

This isn't meant as a compare/contrast, but rather to point out that while the EC is giving lip service and warm feelings to diversity, there are traditional churches that skip all the warm fuzzies and go straight to just doing it.

Anonymous said...

Relatively speaking aren't you jumping the gun a little here?

This post-emergent position to me just looks like a post-patience position. Things won't change over night and they might not even change in a good direction immediately but then isn't that what it's all about?