There are many mixed opinions about Emergent, but I know that reading some of their blog rings has really been helpful to me in thinking about how the church engages the world. If you’ve got some time, poke around the Emergent website, follow some of the links, and feel free to post any reactions in the comments here (it might give me blogging ideas!). I know that A.J. Schwanz has been reading lots about the emerging church, so hopefully she’ll weigh in on the subject.
Emerging church is kind of the “generic” description for the movement of simple/house/alternative churches. Their focus in a general sense is on holistic Christian living; how do we best create people who follow Jesus, not just believe things and go to church? The theological beliefs and the practices vary HUGELY depending on what part of the movement you’re talking to. Emergent is one specific group in the emerging church movement; Allelon is another, and I’m sure there are many others. So, emerging church is to Emergent and Allelon as pain reliever is to Tylenol and Advil.
A word of warning if you’ve never read some of this stuff. You’ll have to learn the buzzwords, like postmodernism and stuff. You’ll have to be prepared for lots of people who are very angry with “traditional” church and think it’s impossible to really follow Jesus without blowing up the church and starting over. But, I really believe God is helping us recapture a lot of what has been lost over the centuries through this movement. And I’m really intrigued, as pastor of a traditional church, to see what it might look like to join this conversation and see what God would offer the world through us.
I’m glad for Tony, and look forward to what comes out of this step forward for Emergent.