Saturday, February 23, 2008

Getting Bored with the Emerging Church?

There has been an increasing amount of chatter on the blogs about the imminent decline of the emerging church conversation/movement. Of those that make this observation are two types, the bored trend-chasers and those hungry for action.

The trend-chasers are ready for the next new thing, always in search of the magic formula or a get-church-big-quick scheme. As much as we would love to see it, the model presented by Jesus was not one of instant success. There were times that he began to accumulate a popular following, but we never see him passing out the campaign buttons or accruing majority support. Instead he wanted the committed, faithful guys that were going to help implement his plan for global transformation.

There are other trend-chasers that just love to wrangle with the sexiest new ideas. They were the ones that loved deliberating over the “hot topics” that Evangelicals have debated for a long, long time. They got bored with some of those topics and have moved on to the new set of “hot topics”. But the edgy sensation is wearing off. These are the bohemian followers of Jesus in search of the perpetual cafĂ© table with funky people, ideas, and espressos. These conversations are important and they help prevent us from domesticating theology as suburban myopia. But when they remain conversations only, it ceases to be the good news that has the potential to enliven peoples lives. The New Testament everywhere expects believers to externalize the inner transformation.

Then there are those that are frustrated by the conversation held in perpetuity. These are the ones that hear a good idea and are ready to walk out the door and do it. The emerging has sometimes been guilty of talking about some great stuff to the point of goosebumps and warm fuzzies, but there is no plan of action. When Jesus sent his disciples out (Mt 10; Lk 9; 10) it was time to imitate Jesus proclamation of the nearness of the kingdom in word and deed.

I love the exchange of ideas, the creative blogs, and the blog comment repartee. But it seems that with the frequency with which many of blogging and commenting, that there is little time for action. Let us be more diligent in proclaiming the good news in word and deed.


Jason Elder said...

Well said. We often say, "I need time to internalize that." I think I probably need to spend more time saying, "I need to externalize that." You verbalized my multi-faceted frustration with "conversational" emergent/emerging. It is just a walk down a cul-de-sac, maybe a new one, but just a walk there and back. And that frustration is the same I have with me. E.M. Bounds opens his book Power through Prayer with this great line that I think goes something like this: God is not looking for better methods. He is looking for better men.

M Crane said...

Well said Jason. Although i would add that the emerging church conversation has introduced points of action that were under-emphasized previously. Concern for the underprivileged, oppressed, environment, etc. were all points of action that the emerging church--along with a chorus of others--encouraged.

Now, let's do it. The conversation doesn't stop. We'll be helping and encouraging one another in doing things better.

The Brocketts said...

can I link you from my blog? I mean I can, but May I link you? I get home school moms but I do know of a few who would enjoy the conversations.

Katie Brockett

M Crane said...


Link your heart out.

The Brocketts said...

Alrighty then. I noticed that I chose the post where you said "stop posting and blogging and change the world" to comment about posting and blogging more! I enjoy reading your blogs/comments (instead of watching TV). Time to act... we are currently reviewing/considering/wondering/praying/watching/waiting/observing the local church in this part of the world, and our involvement/leadership in it. Good food for thought.

Random Goblin said...

I read Rowan Williams's "Where God Happens," about the desert fathers, and it completely blew me away. These guys (and girls) centuries ago were talking about the same stuff as the Emergents. But the Emergents aren;t really drawing on Christian tradition in a meaningful enough way. Essentially, they're reinventing the wheel and congratulating themselves for being so innovative.