Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EC#1 - What is it?

It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep. My head keeps churning with thoughts about the Emerging and/or Emergent Church, What it is and What it isn't. So here is installment one of my emergent whining.

Imagine for a minute that your favorite hospitality host or hostess has prepared a large molded gelatin creation for a special occasion. It was concocted by combining over a gallon of Jello using many layers in a rainbow of different colors and flavors. It looks appealingly beautiful and delicious laying upon the platter on which it has been unmolded.

Now suppose that you attempted to pick it up (not the platter just the Jello) and examine it with your bare hands. If you are familiar with Jello you know that it would crack, splinter, and break apart into many pieces so that it's original form would no longer be discernible. Whatever portion you might be able to hold onto would then melt in your hands leaving behind a sticky goo.

Think of this as a simile of the Emerging/Emergent Church. It is not really a Church, nor does it posses any single or unifying characteristics. It is nearly impossible to define. Yet this amorphous concept has captured the hearts, minds and imaginations of many Christians who are dissatisfied with "Doing Church" in traditional ways.

Features common to most assemblies that are identified with this phenomena include a modern style of music combined with a multimedia delivery as well as mostly unstructured worship or gathering format. The trend is to reject legalistic doctrinal positions in favor of individual discernment. Instead of traditional preaching interactive conversations are frequently the accepted format. Most of these fellowships place a strong emphasis on social activism such as in caring for human needs, community outreach, and environmental responsibility while simultaneously distancing themselves from such issues as abortion rights, homosexuality, and similar long held "moral high ground" positions which they tend to view as more political than spiritual. There is much more but that is enough for the first day.

My overall impression is that like every human invention this one is as imperfect as what it attempts to replace.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The White Note

Wikipedia: "A white paper is a report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions".

Originally, the term white paper was used as shorthand to refer to an official government report, indicating that the document is authoritative and informative in nature. Typically, the purpose of a white paper is to advocate that a certain position is the best way to go or that a certain solution is best for a particular problem. Today, white papers have become popular marketing tools for corporations especially on the Internet since many potential customers search for information on the Web.

On the other hand there is a tendency in our society to write terse, abbreviated notes summarizing things that we perceive as problems. These often incorporate personal prejudice or bias, may be rushed or hurried, and are likely to be published informally. Most blogs are examples of this trend.

Today I have decided to launch a new term into the English language. In contrast to well developed and detailed "White Papers" it seems appropriate to refer to these "Shoot from the Hip" or "Off the Cuff" musings as "White Notes" and I will propose the use of "WHIN" pronounced whine as the acronym. Of course some will inevitably refer to these writings as whining and to their author as a whiner. That doesn't sound very complimentary, but such it is with our language.

To get the ball rolling with my whining I am composing a "White Note" on the emergent church movement or if you prefer "Conversation". I am still getting this summary together - my intend is to place it here within the next few days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Church Today

OK so I haven't been around for awhile. Actually I have been preparing for, going on, and recovering from a vacation (Thank you Lord) in North Carolina. During that time I attempted to let loose of as much mental clutter as possible. It almost succeed but two issues concerning God and his church have been on my mind recently. One revolves around what role the church should play in the political arena and the other concerns the spiritual state of the church and it's involvement with modern culture. So I am getting my thoughts together on these two items and you can expect to find me presenting them soon.

So bear with me for a few more days, I have not fallen asleep yet.