Monday, November 12, 2007

Am I Emerging? (conclusion)

So...am I emerging?

Here is my answer: no and yes

Let me explain:

No - (The "no" part of my answer is kind of like a disclaimer for the "yes" answer). The problem with language and communication is that there is this thing called "interpretation." This makes it so that a term or phrase can have different meanings to different people. Thus, "emerging" can have some negative connotations in the Christian community that, frankly, I don't want to have ignorantly placed on me. I don't want to be stereotyped by a label (I don't think anyone does).

Also, calling oneself "emerging" can be a symptom of sin if one's motives are of a rebellious nature. I've met many many people in their 20s and 30s who go to "emerging" churches simply because they're tired of the evangelical church they grew up in. Rather than staying committed to a church body and helping bring about healthy change, they choose to jump ship in search of a church that better meets their emerging needs. I don't want to be one of these emerging folk who seem to be more committed to upheaval than to love. While I don't think it's always wrong to leave an unhealthy church community--I recently went through that process--I also think commitment is a big struggle for the emerging generation. We just don't value commitment the same way past generations did (notice I said "we"). That said...

Yes - I'm a postmodern, missional, kingdom-of-God-seeking, faith-journeying, question-asking, dialogue-driven, justice-seeking, vintage-valuing, Scripture-studying, holistic-Gospel-teaching, I've-been-to-Imago Dei-and-Mars-Hill-and-I-enjoy-reading-Rob-Bell emerging guy.

I don't work at an emerging church. Nor do I buy into everything Emergent Village has to offer. But I do value a lot of the ideas that are being spoken of in emerging churches. I value open dialogue with people. I value authenticity. I value the mission Jesus gave His bride. I value teaching a holistic Gospel and not just a bullet-point Gospel. I value seeking the kingdom of God in our midst. I value the authority of Scripture. I value understanding the context we are living in so that we can better understand and love people in the name of Jesus. If these are emerging values, then I'm all for it!

So if you asked me now, "are you one of those emerging church guys?" be prepared for a long and fruitful conversation over coffee so I can share my answer and hear your thoughts!

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