I've decided to educate myself about all this somewhat new-fangled "Emergent/Emerging" stuff. I got some friends, you see, and have been engaging in coffee shop discussions. New words like "missional" come up on a fairly regular basis. It's time I find out just what my new friends are talking about.
I say "somewhat new-fangled" because it was Eleven years ago that I graduated seminary, and this stuff was nowhere on the radar screen back then. I seem to have escaped into Eastern Orthodoxy just in time. But I will admit that I've studiously avoided the rumblings in the blogosphere these past few years. I realize I'm not hip, or up to date, and quite honestly, if asked, I'd be hard pressed to give a definition of just what it means to be "post modern". Does secretly wishing I had a tatoo count? I doubt it. And dang it, I own neither an ipod nor a laptop (but my husband does).
And without actually going out and spending money on actual books, I'm having a hard time grasping the concepts...and maybe that is the point. Perhaps this thing really is as multifaceted as it seems. I keep schlepping myself over to the Emergent Village in hopes of reading something of substance but all there seems to be are short blog posts concerning conferenece registrations. Bleh. I suppose I may have to actually download some mp3's and listen in. The very thought!
So, I was reading up on missional and my reaction was "...well, DUH!" what else would the Church be? It's like our little crowd here in the greater Lexington area emerged out of evangelicalism and into intentional (Eucharistic) community, (read: Orthodox), long before the movement began. History repeats itself and neither were we the first to trod that path, and the least I can say is that the Emergent crowd have perhaps some valid criticisms of the Evangelicalism from whence they sprang. Much of it seems quite reactionary, though.
So, yesterday while blogreading I read an article (deemed useless by some and helpful by others) by a fellow I've never heard of named Brett Kunkle entitled "Essential Concerns Regarding the Emerging Church". This of course written from an Evangelical perspective. Oddly enough, my reaction to the article was strange. He contrasts Evangelical orthodoxy (notice the small o) with some of the Emergent thinking floating through the ether, and what I noticed was that much of what is Evangelical orthodoxy were the very points the questioning of which drove me into the Arms of the Orthodox Church. So, I am intrigued. Like here is a great conversation waiting to happen. Ooo, listen to me. I'm already picking up on some of the lingo. And I do like coffee.
My point would be, there are some points of departure and commonality worth exploring. My invitation to those Emerging would be: Don't dismiss out of hand the notion of exploring a Church that has managed to be trans/super-cultural, enculturated variously in both time and space and yet consistent in it's praxis and belief, while remaining personally transformational to millions of Christians for two thousand years. It might just be relevant in this time and place, post-modern though it is, as well.