How Emergent is Your Christianity?

At the moment, I’m working through the book, “Why We’re Not Emergent” by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. To be honest, I’m only picking it up because David F. Wells wrote the foreword, and he’s a fantastic theologian, one of my favourites.

I’ve only finished the first chapter so far, so I have no particular opinion on the book so far. In the introduction though, there was something fascinating with how much of my form of Christianity is similar to the emergent Christianity described within the book. I admit I’m a bit of a hipster, but the correlations to emergent Christianity is interesting, almost when alternativeness is taken to an extreme and applied to theological epistemology.

DeYoung gives a long list of attributes which are somewhat generalised, but such measures are important when describing a diverse and somewhat undefined movement in Christianity. Then again, it is all the more dangerous because there is no single proponent of it, but a collective message of many pastors who are more subtle in their change. It is difficult to combat because there is no Le Corbusier, no Jean Paul Sartre, no Thomas Hardy, no one  pushing ambitiously the movement forward.

Anyway, the following quote is a checklist of sorts that I seem to somewhat fulfil most, which is kind of disparaging to me, for all my efforts to be not one of this group:

“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 in the evenings, and always use a Mac; if your reading list consists of primarily of Stanley Hauerwas, Henri Nouwen, N. T. Wright, Stan Grenz, Dallas Willard, Breannan Manning, Jim Wallis, Frederick Buechner, david Bosch, John Howard Yoder, Wendell Berry, Nancy Murphy, John Franke, Walter Wink and Lesslie Newbigin (not to mention McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, etc.) and your sparring partners include D. A. Carson, John Calvin, Martyn 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 that in retrospect seems legalistic naive and rigid; if you support women in all levels of ministry, prioritise urban over suburban, and like your theology narrative instead of systematic; if you disbelieve in any sacred-secular vide; 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 postmodernism – if all or most of this torturously long sentence describe you, then you might be an emergent Christian.”

How emergent are you? Does it worry you that your favourite blogger is seesawing on the fringes of emergent churchery?

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About JN
what happened to dignity / never see it on MTV.

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