It’s been a while since I’ve done this, before the Chinese New Year Celebrations wrap up, I’ll post up some long overdue links.
Eye-grabbing title to draw the discussion deeper into more critical concerns. check out some main themes the author brings out:
Community: Emergent Christians place a premium on community, living life together in all its messiness. However, community can take many shapes, and emergent or altworship communities often do not resemble traditional church community with a paid staff and centralized leadership. It’s a dispersed community that is lived in the rough-and-tumble of everyday life. So a premium is placed on togetherness, journeying with and alongside others.
Transformation: Emergent types are passionate about transformation, both personal and structural. They tend not to view themselves as finished products, as “saved” or even as “Christian.” Instead, they speak of themselves as “being saved” and “becoming Christian.” They tend to be political activists and socially “liberal” in the sense that they care deeply about the proverbial “widow, orphan and alien,” those who are marginalized, oppressed, and disenfranchised and about changing the personal and structural realities that perpetuate the disenfranchisement and marginalization. They believe that engaging in such tasks is to follow Jesus.
Worship: Emerging Christians are innovative and imaginative in the aesthetics of worship, and they are technologically savvy. They’re sacramental and incarnational, sometimes employing large-scale transformative theatre (Ikon). Revelation, one of the communities we visited, offers a sophisticated blend of ancient ritual and liturgy and cutting-edge image technology and participation. Typical of the worship in these communities is worship that engages us as whole and embodied beings, providing a feast for most if not all of our sensory modalities: sight, sound, smell, and tactile experience.
Social Engagement: Emerging Christians enthusiastically endorse Jesus’ claim that “by their fruits you will know them.” Thus, they seek to be active agents of God’s reconciling, redemptive, and restorative agenda in and for the world.
The New Christians its a good and enjoyable book. Its not as eloquent nor as grand as Brian McLaren in Everything Must Change but its more gritty and personable and locked on to the expected grids of contemporary theological thinking, yet at the same time avoiding polarities and divisive categories.
Shoot . . that was a really long sentence . .
And it is not as deliciously subtle as Pete Rollins in How (Not) To Speak of God but it is more approachable and explanatory. Tony often pauses to define the words he is using for those who need an onramp to the conversation.
In fact, that is what the book is to me: an onramp for those who want to join the conversation, and a scrapbook of thoughts and memories for those who have been coming along for the ride.
I’m not surprised Tony would choose a blog title like this.
What I’m most afraid of, I suppose (and I fear this for Jack, too), is that someone would hear my answers to a few of the hot questions of the day and call me a "liberal." Or a "conservative." In my mind, I’m clearly neither, and I want to be neither. I want to be "beyond liberal and conservative" — a phrase I both use and hear a lot — whatever that means.
Interesting little bit … with my friend DJ Chuang’s name thrown in.
I had a great conversation with DJ Chuang about this the other day for an upcoming podcast. He made an excellent point that what most white, male emergents are wrestling with and practicing is not the same type of things nor theology that 2nd generation, Asian Americans are wrestling with and practicing. But that doesn’t make them any less emergent. They are simply doing their theology and practicing their theologies in different contexts. They are not branded or labeled as Emergent, but rather they are doing emergent and are very much a part of the spirit of emergent.
I’ve always felt Brian does well in interviews …
But some Christians may see the title of your book and worry that you’re saying that what also needs changing is some basic doctrine. For example: Jesus’ divinity. Is that negotiable?
I affirm in the book that I am completely orthodox in all of my beliefs about Christ. I affirm all the ancient creeds.
But here’s where we have to face some deeper issues. The creeds teach us to affirm the deity of Christ. But then we have to say: What does it mean to live out the belief that Jesus was really the word of God incarnate? If we really believe that, then we’ll take very seriously what he said about how we treat our enemies. Instead, we often affirm the doctrine in our words — we can say "Lord, Lord" — but then we don’t actually do what he said.
The change I’m interested in is helping us flesh out what it means to affirm the ancient creeds and historic faith.
Brian McLaren hope for the emerging church movement in 20 years …
"Well, my real hope is that in 20 years we won’t be talking about "the Emerging Church Movement." My hope is that the issues a number of us are raising will become accepted elements of a more mature and holistic Christianity that is shared by Christians in general. One dimension of that more mature Christianity would be, I hope, an assumption that diversity and creativity in forms of worship is a good thing, not a bad one, and that change is not only unavoidable and normal, but a wonderful opportunity for growth. That will mean moving on from the old assumption that there’s only one right method or liturgy or doctrinal statement or organizational structure, and moving into a realization that our mission and message can take many forms. To use Jesus’ image, we’ll recognize more and more that what counts is the new wine of the message we carry, not the shape of the wineskins we carry it in. The creative diversity of churches in Charlotte already demonstrates this vitality, I think. I’m really looking forward to meeting people from all of these churches — across styles and denominations — who are interested in seeing what the core message of Jesus has to say to the global crises that challenge both us and our children and grandchildren. I’ve found that when we address these issues, it’s not depressing at all. I think it’s actually exciting and motivating and unleashes hope and energy. I think people of faith in Charlotte have a big role to play in all this!"
Quite an in depth interview responding to a review …
A good reminder on context …
There is one crucial remark on Kuyper, Schilder and neocalvism in general: For me, living in the Dutch culture and history, a reading of Kuyper and Schilder is very different compared someone non-Dutch. I recently had a conversation with US based reformed theologian on Schilder. He reads Schilder very different from me. Jamie reads a book form 1932 and interprets it. I read a book from 1932 and interpret it with a full history in my mind, including the outcome of Schilders work in church history. The same about Kuyper, he also played a more questionable role regarding “apartheid” in South Africa. In both cases the “darksides” are more present in my dutch context, both readings are valid in different ways.
I very much agree with Chris on the second part on "a liberation into"…
While I am not comfortable with the line of reasoning that runs ‘Postmodernity, therefore…’, my own experience of things emergent has been of a liberation into a reforming and healthy theological adventure. So all I can say about this news is ‘Wonderful!’
From the man who had "The Emerging Church" as the title of his first book!