Sunday, March 30, 2008

Am I Emergent?

Why_were_not_emergentThere's a new book out entitled Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be). I've read through the book and find it pretty shallow - consisting first of a series of excuses as to why they aren't saying what it's going to sound like they later say in the book, followed by autobiographical vignettes intended to make the case that it's a miracle that these two young fellas aren't emergent (whew! but by the grace of God!), followed by a string of mischaracterizations, straw-manning and non sequitors - with lots of condescending faux humility.

Having said that, since I read it and need to make some excuse for why that few hours of my life wasn't a total waste, I excerpted a single sentence found in the book's initial chapter that
is the authors' proposed measurement of whether a Christian is "emergent" or not. I've gone through and highlighted in red what I think applies to me. You decide - am I emergent?

You might be an emergent Christian: if you listen to U2, Moby, and Johnny Cash''s Hurt (sometimes in church), use sermon illustrations from The Sopranos, drink lattes in the afternoon and Guinness [Southern Pecan, baby] in the evenings, and always use a Mac; if your reading list consists primarily of Stanley Hauerwas, Henri Nouwen, N. T. Wright, Stan Grenz, Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, Jim Wallis, Frederick Buechner, David Bosch, John Howard Yoder, Wendell Berry, Nancy Murphy, John Franke, Walter Wink sand Lesslie Newbigin (not to mention McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, etc.) and your sparring partners include D. A. Carson, John Calvin, Martin Lloyd-Jones, and Wayne Grudem; if your idea of quintessential Christian discipleship is Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, or Desmond Tutu; if you don't like George W. Bush or institutions or big business or capitalism or Left Behind Christianity; if your political concerns are poverty, AIDS, imperialism, war-mongering, CEO salaries, consumerism, global warming, racism, and oppression and not so much abortion and gay marriage; if you are into bohemian, goth, rave, or indie; if you talk about the myth of redemptive violence and the myth of certainty; if you lie awake at night having nightmares about all the ways modernism has ruined your life; if you love the Bible as a beautiful, inspiring collection of works that lead us into the mystery of God but is not inerrant; if you search for truth but aren''t sure it can be found; if you''ve ever been to a church with prayer labyrinths, candles, Play-Doh, chalk-drawings, couches, or beanbags (your youth group doesn''t count); if you loathe words like linear, propositional, rational, machine, and hierarchy and use words like ancient-future, jazz, mosaic, matrix, missional, vintage, and dance; if you grew up in a very conservative Christian home [church] that in retrospect seems legalistic, naiןve, and rigid; if you support women in all levels of ministry, prioritize urban over suburban, and like your theology narrative instead of systematic; if you disbelieve in any sacred-secular divide; if you want to be the church and not just go to church; if you long for a community that is relational, tribal, and primal like a river or a garden; if you believe doctrine gets in the way of an interactive relationship with Jesus; if you believe who goes to hell is no one's business and no one may be there anyway; if you believe salvation has a little to do with atoning for guilt and a lot to do with bringing the whole creation back into shalom with its Maker; if you believe following Jesus is not believing the right things but living the right way; if it really bugs you when people talk about going to heaven instead of heaven coming to us; if you disdain monological, didactic preaching; if you use the word ""story"" in all your propositions about post-modernism—; if all or most of this tortuously long sentence describes you, then you might be an emergent Christian.


Steve said...

I'm pretty much with you on what I'd put in red. You and I therefore are both affected by the emergent conversation. I wish more people would be.

Jeff said...

Steve - I agree. I'm encouraged by the number of people I come into contact with who are grappling with the same issues and often reaching similar conclusions.

Scott said...

You really need to be able to redden Stan Grenz and Yoder.

I'm with you on all of this but I hate the word ancient-future.

Eric Livingston said...

Didn't Jesus speak in red letters?