An Emerging Perspective

A friend wrote asking me for input to questions around The Emerging Church.. what it is.. where it started.. what sets them apart.. and other questions. I am certainly no authority on this topic.. in a sense no one is or can be.. but I responded anyway.. I always seem to J ..I don't think that I have ever posted on this topic.. anywho, here is what I wrote:
  1. Each generation seems to want to have their own movement.. their own flavor of Christianity.. to be emerging is to identify with that sentiment.. it is to say that I am not happy with the way things have been in church and in Christianity. As a result an Us vs. Them mentality sometimes surfaces.
  2. Emerging theology tends to be a bit more accepting and less exclusive. I think that this is somewhat of a reaction to fundamentalism and some sects of evangelicalism.
  3. Like Protestantism, emerging churches tend to be different yet the same in some ways.
  4. The emerging movement seems to have it’s rock stars like Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll but these only represent certain viewpoints within the movement and are not authorities on emergent thought.. no one really is.
  5. “Missional” seems to be one of the words that you come across when an emergent person speaks.. I think that it is a word that speaks of integrating faith into everyday life.. I like that word.
  6. The Catch-22 of the Emerging Church is that it is becoming institutionalized and legitimate.. this will cause the “movement” to become something different.. like the Charismatic renewal of the 1970s did.. what started out as a Holy Spirit grass roots thing morphed into something that man and churches began to control.
  7. The Emerging Church is a part of the Church Universal (the Body of Christ) and as a result is simply just a different way to express your faith in Jesus. One can express faith in Jesus within this context or one of the many other ways that so many people do.
Of course my views are still emerging on this one. I would be interested in any thoughts on this topic as I am not sure that I really know what I am talking about.. nothing new there.


  1. Thanks for your contribution! I am getting a very broad variety of thoughts!! I will be posting them soon.

  2. If it is emerging, how will we know what it is until it gets out?

  3. BOB,
    think you make some good points.
    I also think in a way this is a reaction of sorts, to what has been wrong (at least for some people) in the modern church. I have been doing a little reading and searching in myself about this whole "move" . I am finding that I really agree with much of the dialog that is taking place, I do hope that it doesn't get institutionalized and therefore ruin the spirit, because most of what I have been reading,watching,listening to and talking about seems to be extremely sincere. Of course man will always screw things up, but I think that this could be a really good thing and it seems to be relating to the way I have been thinking for some time now. I think that this could very well be a fresh move of the Holy Spirit and our world needs some people to step out and take chances. Sorry about the long comment. I just have a lot of this on my mind lately.
    Peace be with you Bob.

  4. Bob, not a problem, just a little tongue in cheek. "Emerging" is a somewhat unfortunate label in my opinion. It makes one want to know the target date and if anybody has a clue what the thing will look like when it finishes its "move."

    That said, since I am struggling to re-position my own bad sef after a lifelong bout of Churchianity, I am quite open to the ideas I am reading and appreciate your overview very much!


  5. Good post, K-Bob! I think that's a pretty good intro (and probably about the level of understanding that I have of "emergent church". ) I do find it interesting that there are a lot of out-of-church Christians who find Emergent streams an interesting source of dialogue while not necessarily identifying themselves fully with the movement. I'm among them.

    The only thing I would add is that it does seem (to me) to be inter-generational. There are a lot of both baby-boomers and gen-Xers in this movement. So, I'm not sure that it's just a generation gap thing...

  6. I just came across this post about 3 different kinds of "emergents". Thought it might be helpful:

  7. Hi Shaun.. I think you and I share similar thinkings on this one except that I already see it being institutionalized.. really without the institution how could people sell "emergent" books, hold "emergent" conferences and become "emergent" gurus.. really.. no money in grass roots movements.. so they eventually become something different :)

    Hi Mike.. my response was given in kind.. I sensed that tongue in cheekiness :) I like the word "emerging" because it connotes a sense of seeking in it.. in a sense we are all emerging.. until we write a book anyway :)

    Hi Sarah.. Good point about it not being generational.. probably better to rephrase:

    Each generation seems to want to have their own movement.. their own flavor of Christianity

    People not happy with their church/denomination/etc want to have their own movement.. their own flavor of Christianity

    ..also.. I would add that there are a lot of in-church Christians who find Emergent streams an interesting source of dialogue.

    Blessings, Bob

  8. Mike, LOL! Good point.
    KB, you're right about what happens is a new "thing" with its own rules and regulations. Home churches, for instance, are becoming rife with rules now. I had someone email and ask what kind of structure they should use in their home gatherings! That cracked me up.
    Of course the emerging church is the direct result of unhappiness with the way things are within church walls today. But, as with anything with humans organizing, it usually gets mucked up in the end.


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