The Emergent Church As Fad

The emergent church is the current phenomena in the church world these days. It is not exactly the sort of thing that can be easily pinned down but it seems to involve the creation of new communities of worship and the revitalization of existing ones with a combination of four things:

1. Bring into worship the Spirit filled enthusiasm of the evangelical and Pentecostal traditions.

2. Develop a profound respect for the sacraments through liturgical practices from the Anglican tradition.

3. Emphasize the importance of individual commitment to contemplative practices exemplified by many religious orders, especially the Benedictines.

4. Recommit to the gospel as primary with a special emphasis on socio/economic issues.

As usual, I may be wrong about that, but it will not keep me from plunging ahead.

What happens with really worthwhile movements such as this one is that clergy, and other church leaders, eagerly adopt the language and attend all kinds of workshops, but seldom do he hard work of implementation. They just slather the new words over the same old way of doing things. In the end, the whole thing can come to nothing more than anti-clerical complaining, a rejection of the institutional church, an excuse to be unfocused, and a sort of know-nothing suspicion of serious, informed theology and well educated clergy theologians.

What the emergent church movement is really about is evangelism, pure and simple, and evangelism is what we are supposed to be about. But evangelism takes courage, daring, risk taking and all the other things we would rather avoid. It’s so much easier to talk about it than do it. And that, my brothers and sisters, is the failure of the main-line church. To use the oft-cited words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

8 thoughts on “The Emergent Church As Fad”

  1. To quote you – \”It’s so much easier to talk about it than do it.\” But, the only way to DO it is to KEEP talking about it until it sinks in and whoops we find ourselves evangelizing w/o even recognizing that we are. We practice until we become….

  2. just a few thoughts that raced through my brain as i read this post:when and where was the last time you read pogo quoted? hmmmmm…and when/where did you recently read a fabulous post about emerging grace?hmmmm…..methinks you do not like buzz words or fad. hmmmmm…..and, wow, since when does retirement give you the option \”to quit doing\”?\”Don’t waste time being against, Rohr said, just go ahead and do better.\” easier said than done, for sure!!!

  3. Oh yeah! Well you don\’t get all the credit Lucy. After all, I am on a bunch of church blogs and websites too. So there! Not only that, I don\’t have to cite sources because at my age any idea over half an hour old is an original idea since I can\’t remember where it came from. Besides, curmudgeons don\’t actually have to do anything. Their job is to criticize others for not doing anything, and I\’m getting very good at it.CP

  4. great thoughts…one of the things i appreciated about the Emerging Church when i first discovered some of the ideas through McLaren and others was the emphasis on EMBODIED faith…the idea that our faith is most effective when it is LIVED comes as a needed corrective to many churches in America

  5. Steve:Good thoughts. I love my church but want to bring it into the Emergent stream of worrying more about doing the work of the Gospel now instead of earning a reward in a heavenly afterlife. I like the Organ, Choir and rythm of the gathered worship followed by the social time where much worship occurs also. I think that I would be a fish out of water in the home church.Keep up the thinking and writing!

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