Emergent Milk

Are we on the verge of the Great Emergence?

I’ve always enjoyed Phyllis Tickle’s insights .. and her accent!

“Emerging or emergent Christianity is the new form of Christianity that will serve the whole of the Great Emergence in the same way that Protestantism served the Great Reformation,” she said, in a speech that mixed doses of academic content with the wit of a proud Episcopalian from the deeply Southern culture of Western Tennessee.

However, anyone who studies history knows that the birth of something new doesn’t mean the death of older forms of faith. The Vatican didn’t disappear after the Protestant Reformation.

This kind of revolution, said Tickle, doesn’t mean “any one of those forms of earlier Christianity ever ceases to be. It simply means that every time we have one of these great upheavals … whatever was the dominant form of Christianity loses its pride of place and gives way to something new. What’s giving way, right now, is Protestantism as you and I have always known it.”

Emergent Church Forum Mp3 (via Andy Rowell)

I was surprised while listening to the forum and driving home one day that Tony Jones dropped my name there. Thanks Tony for my five seconds of fame :-)

Emerging/Emergent San Diego

Read this post for a more personal write up on the above forum. Or for those who want quick read rather than sitting through the long audio.

Conversation with Tony Jones

Nice short one …

Fred) Would it be a fair characterization to say Emergent Village is about revisionism, missional Christianity, and social justice? Can you unpack that for us? And as you do could you distinguish, for the readers, the difference between Emergent Village and the emerging church.

Tony Jones ) Well, Fred, “revisionism” is a loaded term. I’d prefer to say that we’re trying to recover the gospel from Constantinian and consumerist tendencies in modern, American Christianity. Emergent Village is little more than an open-source network based on friendship — we call it a “growing, generative friendship” because we expect this friendship to generate many beautiful things for God’s kingdom.

Personally, I’m a little fuzzy on the supposed differences between “emerging” and “emergent.” Some want to make a big deal of the differences, but they’re used interchangeably by all but the most inside insiders.

Fred) How do you envision a missional church? How would it be different from the conventional idea of mission?

Tony Jones ) Quite simply, I think of “missional” as outward-focused. The gospel is mission — it’s on the move, it’s going somewhere. The gospel is a movement, and the church had better be on board. I don’t think it’s optional: the church has to be missional. “

A force for good

Love the title ..

“Like mainstream evangelicals, emergents believe in spreading the Gospel and in the necessity of believers having a personal relationship with Jesus. The difference lies in how faith is applied the way it’s acted out “in the culture,” as emergents typically put it. In the eyes of the emerging church, Christianity lived out in the respectable confines of megachurches and suburbia is fading into irrelevance as a new generation comes of age with a passion for healing society and a reluctance to shout moralistic dogma. “If the church doesn’t love its neighbors,” McKinley says, “I don’t understand how it can say anything that’s going to have meaning in the culture.”

Emergents tend to be more tolerant than establishment evangelicals on issues such as abortion and homosexuality. Do emergents believe in heaven and hell? Yes, McKinley explains, but according to emergent theology, the point of being Christian is not solely to achieve heaven in the next life, but to bring some heaven to this life by doing the work of Jesus.”

On Conversations That Never Land: Clarifying a Few Things on Emergent Theology and Deconstruction
Liberating to fly … how does one land?

“To say truth never arrives might be construed as asserting that deconstruction does not believe in truth (truth with a little “t” or a big “T”). I don’t think this is accurate. For there is truth, truth “always on the move,” truth that is recognized but not controllable. The deconstructive thinkers (which Tony Jones and Brian McLaren find helpful) DO SAY that the truth never FINALLY arrives. Yet I think there is something constructive in this part of deconstructionist philosophy. There is, in a manner of speaking, a way that truth is always provisional. There is, in a manner of speaking, a way that truth (with a small “t”) is bound by context and language and is always in process of being embodied. There is, in a manner of speaking, a way in which there are always voices excluded which must be heard which change the nature of the way we communicate truth and highlight parts of it we weren’t seeing before. Deconstructionist approaches to truth push for all of this. For deconstructive ways of thinking keep the truth open (in the clearing of Hiedegger’s ontico-ontological difference). And so despite the detractors, there is truth here being “manifested” into and beyond the linguistic cultural structures we have been given.”

The Emerging Church’s Response to Evangelicalism

Christmas is a good season to check on our “good news”.

“If you ask me whether I believe there is a hell I will tell you yes. To me the reality of hell is real and it is evident in the evil and destruction of souls I see here on earth all the time. If you ask me whether I believe that the salvation God has worked through the person and work of Jesus Christ has direct consequences on our eternal destiny as persons, again I will tell you yes. But if you ask me whether this singularly defines what it means to be saved, here is where I would say no. For our eternal life is the end of a life lived in His salvation (Rom 6:22), not the goal in and of itself. And so let’s not put the cart before the horse. The good news is that God has come in Christ inaugurating his salvation in the world. In Christ (and His Kingdom) there is now forgiveness of sins that is sets loose grace and forgiveness among us and to the world. In Christ (and His Kingdom) there is reconciliation with God that breeds a new reconciliation among us and to the world.(2 Cor 5:18-20) In Christ (and His Kingdom) there is a healing that has begun through the cross among us and to the world. In Christ’s Rule there is indeed a new politic, a way of being, living in the life of God made possible in Christ’s life, death and resurrection that takes shape among us and into the world. Behold all things are made new. (Rev 21.1.; 2 Cor 5:17). Our calling is nothing more nor less than to invite the world into this incredible new life.”

Some Theological Links For Emerging Theologians

Let me pick two for tea …

4. Why There Can Be No Division Between Confessing Jesus and Doing Justice. Dan Bell offers this concise piece of theological explanation for the kind of preaching/teaching that should drive this issue in the emerging church

2. Pastors Burning Out from Michael Kruse. The forms of church leadership that we have been propagating are simply impossible to fulfil. They doom the pastor and the church to disaster. I believe emerging and missional churches are leading the way in thinking differently about church leadership,

About Sivin Kit

man of one wife, father of four kids
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