My recent Emergent Reading Updates

Emergent Church: Filled with creative, energetic potential
I hope the title won’t confuse things even more because I’m finding it now more useful to not use “emerging church” and “emergent” interchangably though there’s an intimate connection I do feel a distinction will be helpful. Having said that, I found many insights, cautions, encouragements, and guidance here.

Report From Emergent Summit – Part 1 of 4
Can’t wait for the other parts 🙂 Tony Jones responds here to the new appointment.

Why I Support the Recent News From Emergent (or why Tony Jones is not the antichrist)
Jay Voorhees is pretty amazing to articulate the stuff he’s saying here that would be relevant to any discussion on organic as well as organizational aspects that comes when people begin to work together in a “network”-kind-of framework.

‘Emergent’ Christians seek spirituality without nasty theological squabbling
It’s nice to read something positive and paints an encouraging + “fun” picture of what’s happening with my friends on the other side of the earth.

Understanding the Emerging Church: D. A. Carson
Moody Broadcasting Network “opens” a line for Dr. Carson to express his views (I think I’m putting it mildly here) – I think it’s up to the listener to determine whether there’s true “understanding” on the issues at hand and the people involved. I wonder how the interview would have been if the line was open for callers to call in?

Post Modernism & Emerging Church with special guest Craig Hawkins
I was not suprised that this was not “friendly” to all things “Post-modernism” and trying to be “fair” to whatever that’s under the tag “emerging church”. But, it was the way this whole discussion was conducted that really made me wonder even more about “American Evangelicalism” and the other factors involved apart from mere theological and philosophical disagreement.

On Emergent
Ryan Bolger says some really encouraging words here … and with some insights thrown in – I resonate strongly with this paragraph –> “Emergent provides a place for these travelers to tell their stories, to deconstruct, and yes, eventually to reconstruct their faith. For those who listen carefully and long enough, it is not about Christians losing their faith, but finding it once again as well.”

Affirmation (A Response to Aaron)
I like Andrew Jones … he actually is willing to take the time to “respond” – and here he does a pretty thorough job answering in-your- face-line-drawing kind of questions – such as – Do you publicly affirm penal substitionary atonement? Did Jesus take the punishment we deserve? – Do you publicly affirm eternal punishment / torment / hell?

Traditionalists now have permission to talk to Emergent types
Two things stuck out for me … one is Jollyblogger’s thoughts here, “So what happens when a controversy arises which you don’t have the time to investigate thoroughly enough to form your own solid, well grounded opinion? You listen to people you trust. You depend on their opinions to form your own opinions. So, if you are in a group that thinks that N.T. Wright is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the TNIV is the devil’s bible, and the emerging church is the apostate church, then by golly, it’s time to form up lines and resist all of these wolves, devils and apostates. My point is that it is the opinions and actions of our trusted leaders that usually guide us in our responses to these controversies, rather than our own investigations.” The other is Andre Jones comment here, “we really need good criticism and and invite the sharpening of iron when we can get it. The only time i get really defensive is when people make blanket criticisms about the emerging church worldwide when they are only talking about one or two networks or churches (usually in USA) but dont realize that they are endangering new church plants in Portugal and India and Malawi that are sprouting up in the emerging culture in their country – these EMC leaders may be teenagers, brand new Christians and have no idea who Derrida is – and are about to have their funding pulled (or worse – their trust) all because of what someone said in America.”

Horton on Emerging Church & Michael Horton Replies
I personally think the White Horse Inn engagement with “the emerging church” issues were one of the better ones. But, the fact that Horton replied and Andrew Jones had a chance to respond makes me have a higher respect for both of them. And the exchange definately is helpful.

What IS Emergent?
I’m thinking of a very helpful email exchange that I had yesterday and today …I’m sure some of the words here would have been helpful .. check it out:
“I think what is appealing about Emergent and people like Brian McLaren or Don Miller is that I and many of my friends reject the false dichotomy of absolutism v. relativism. On one hand, I think most evangelicals do reject moral relativism. Yet, many of us are often repulsed by the arrogance and anti-intellectualism of many absolutists.

I’m finding as I get older that I am less confident in my own “rightness”. I’m more than willing to admit my own lack of understanding or certainty on various issues. This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in absolute truth; I do. I’m just not sure that I can always know it in its fullness.

My friend Josh Jackson replied to this thought:

“I think you hit the nail on the head. What’s appealing to me about
the emergents, particularly Don Miller (only loosely tied to the
emergents, as far as I can tell), is in the wake of my 15-year
encounter with evangelicalism was the arrogance of certitude on
every minor point of theology, even when different denominations
held differing views. I mean what percentage of evangelics belong to
the denomination of their parents and are convinced that it
coincidentally is right about everything. Emergent doesn’t assert
that there is no absolute truth, just that we’re unlikely to get
everything exactly right on this earth.””

Dear Dignan: an Answer on the Emerging Church
Thanks Brother Maynard for this effort to respond to the above question. His four points are useful (I’ll probably easily exchange the phrase “postmodern culture” in point 2 to “Asian-Malaysian-non-christian-post/neo-colonial-secular-globalized-add-to-the-list-21st century culture” (in short the context we live in here and now. So, here’s a non-exhaustive list of characteristics he offers:
1. Something’s wrong with the way we’ve been “doing church” it’s become, or becoming, ineffective and irrelevant.

and therefore,
2. Christianity must be re-contextualized for postmodern culture.
3. The church must be missional.

and based on these,
4. It’s time for a re-examination of what is really central to the faith and a re-consideration of what the best structure for church ought to be.

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