A friend of mine, lets call her Angela, is reading “The Shack” by William P. Young.
Angela posts on her Facebook wall that she “is halfway through the Shack and really enjoying it.”
Someone pipes up that she heard it is “‘new age-y'” and wonders what Angela thinks of it.
To which another person, lets call her Maggie, responds, “Watch out, it’s tied to the emerging church. And for those who don’t know, the emerging church is bad. Oh, and I found that out AFTER I read it. It was too weird for me.”
( Seriously…? I know…but anyway, to continue.)
Being the shit disturber that I am, I respond with, “Yes, beware of the emerging church! It’ll put crazy thoughts in your head and take you in theological directions you hadn’t previously gone. ;)”
( Just joking around really; I’m kinda sarcastic like that, thus the wink emoticon.)
Maggie: “All emerging churches are disenchanted with traditional church forms and practices-but their ideas, theology, and goals are often radically different from each other. All seek to relate to a society inundated by postmodern thought. People today commonly believe that all truth is subjective. Either there is no absolute truth, and each individual decides what’s “right” for themselves, or absolute truth may exist, but it’s so filtered by each person’s experience and cultural mindset and viewing it as the enemy, emerging-church members aim to engage it. The emerging movement thinks HOW a person lives is more important than WHAT they believe. Hope that helps. Ask me if your still confused. :)”
( She comes across as fairly intelligent, and has valid points that she clearly states. I can appreciate that. And for the most point, what she says is fairly true. It is her attitude that there is something wrong with this subject that incites me to respond. Well, that and I like stirring the pot. For the record, I did check with my friend Angela before responding, as it was on her wall, and her friend. I don’t know Maggie.)
Me: “600 years ago, a man named Luther came along and radically changed the face of Christianity. He brought Christ to the people. He took the power away from the Roman Catholic Church and gave it back to the people. This is what the emergent church is doing. It is taking the power away from the “insutitution of the church” and turning it back into a conversation with God. They are about changing the face of Christianity from a one-sided monologue to a conversation between many. It is about making the church accessible again. They want to move away from aggressive apologetics and confrontational evangelism, instead people the freemdom to discover the truth through conversation and relationships with the Christian community. Absolute Truth is still there. They aren’t denying that, they are just changing the face of it.”
(and because that is as much as you can put in a facebook wall comment)
Me: “They want people to discover this truth themselves. They want people to seek out God to find this Truth, instead of having some zealot cram it down their throat. The goal of Christianity isn’t to go about living “the right way” so that we will go to Heaven, or so that on judgement day we will be spared eternal damnation. It’s about creating a kingdom of heaven on earth, about living for the here and now, not in fear of the future. By creating this kingdom of heaven on earth, we are living in a way that will please God. Luther started a Christian revolution, the emergent church is continuing it.”
(I am not sure if I would say I’m a member of the emergent church, thus using the work “They” as opposed to “we.” Part of me thinks that most churches today, outside of the high order churches, are “emergent churches.” I’d like to discuss this further with people though, because I’m not sure.)
Maggie: “Just another note on the emerging church thing; it is also categorized as “new voices” in some stores. Stay away from any “Liquid” or “Nooma” series DVD’s. Also there is a childrens/youth curriculum company called “Youth Specialties” that’s put out by the Zondervan company that some churches use for Sunday School that is also tied in with the … Read Moreemerging church. And just a couple of authors that spew that crap are: Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne, Mark Driscoll, Doug Fields, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Erwin McManus, and Donald Miller…… just to name a few. Jesus loves you!! ;)”
(Yes, Jesus does love me. He loves Universalists as well. 😉 My reponses were written after she posted all of hers. She made a number of posts before I had time to properly respond, so things weren’t necessarily posted in this order, these were my responses to her posts that I posted on Angela’s wall.)
Maggie: “I just know that the emerging church is very ultra-sensory with big productions and stuff. What if you take it all away? Will people still want to go to that church? I think it’s a shame when a church isn’t about the people, but about a production or stimulating the mind and eyes ya know? And about absolute truth, well, what if I drove up in a … Read Morered truck and you said “Well, what makes it red? What even makes it a truck? I see it differently.” That in a nutshell is how the emerging church feels. They don’t want to challenge anybody on what is ACTUAL truth because well, gee, everybody has a different perspective and opinions, and yadda, yadda. Whatever happened to the Bible and preaching IT’S absolute truths? Actions and concequences? Or reward! 🙂
As far as the shack goes, I just heard it was tied to the emerging church. I’m not entierely sure how. Maybe because Jesus and the trinity was portrayed as a fat black woman, a fruitty artsy fairy, and a grumpy old man.”
(I just couldn’t believe that she would say something like “Stay away from any “Liquid” or “Nooma” series DVD’s.” I was rendered speechless… I really had no idea how to respond to that. And saying that authors like “Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne, Mark Driscoll, Doug Fields, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Erwin McManus, and Donald Miller” are “spewing crap?” Seriously…I was at a loss. It took me a good amount of time to just sit there and look past the ignorance and respond in a decent manner. Though as soon as I started writing about Tim LaHaye and the Left Behind series and had to delete a few paragraphs because I just started going off, which I was trying hard not to do. I find Rob Bell’s writing a little over the top, but I love what he has to say. Same with Brian McLaren. I saw him speak at CBC when I was there, and now own most of his books.)
Me: “Why would you want someone to stay away from things like the “Nooma” series and amazing visionaries like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren? That’s like me going around saying things like, “Stay away from the Left Behind series, and authors like Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins because they propogate the idea of literal biblical interpretation.” While I … Read Moredo believe that, I wouldn’t tell someone to stay away from it. People should be encouraged to check out all types of different ideas, be they something from Tim LaHaye or Brian McLaren. It is then up to them to determine what resonates with them, and why. This should cause people to reach out to God with questions, and thoughts. It invokes dialogue with both God as well as others in the Christian community. And in the end, isn’t this what we want? A relationship with Christ?”
(the word “visionaries” to describe Rob Bell and Brian McLaren might have been a little sensationalist, but I thought it suited it. ;))
And there it stands. This all took place on Angela’s wall, who coincidentally didn’t, nor has she, said anything. I think she should. 😉 I found it amusing that we just sort of hijacked her wall.
It was all just kind of surreal. I was trying really hard to stay concise and to the point, while laying out a decent rebuttal to her comments. It just kind of shocked me that someone would so adamantly oppose the emergent church. I’ve never come across someone like that…it was just so mind boggling. So I thought I’d have a little fun with it. I hope I haven’t hurt her feelings or anything, or that she thinks I was attacking her, because that wasn’t the intention. Do I come across like I am? (i honestly want to know, because if i do, i need to change the way I do things so that doesn’t happen) I’m thinking I should send her a quick message on facebook letting her know it was all in fun and that I wasn’t attacking her personally.
What this whole thing really ended up doing, was reminding me how much I love this stuff. How much I love a little theological discussion with someone that isn’t a million miles over my head. I read some stuff, and follow some discussions and the points they bring up are stuff that would never cross my mind. And I understand there is a huge education gap there, and one day I will be there. Until that day however, I need to keep finding people to talk to and discuss things.
The time I spent living with Topher were great for that. I can’t count the number of times we sat around debating theology. Most times there were copious amounts of alcohol involved, but that was added to it. I’d often sit there thinking, “no, you are wrong” but not having the words to dispute his point. He has a degree in Religious Studies for Pete’s sake, but that just made me more interested in learning things for the next time we’d sit down. The chats with him helped strengthen my faith because he would challenge me. I wouldn’t know why I thought or believed certain things. So I’d find out so that I could tell him. So that I wouldn’t just sit there without the words to respond. I miss those days.