Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why Reality is Raining on Our Emerging Dreams of Relevance

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There are days when the emerging church movement just reaches into the marrow of my bones and and shakes me to the core.  On those days I find myself responding with . . . fatigue. Befuddlement.  Cynicism.  

It isn't that I don't find anything to like about churches and individuals who take up the banner. In fact, the emerging church's critique of the unhealthy evolution of inherited Christianity often sends me back to reread Kierkegaard's Attack Upon Christendom, Cox's The Secular City, Tillich's The Shaking of the Foundations and very occasionally, the book of Jeremiah.  

Then I get in my vehicle and ride over the levee that divides haves from have-nots. I merge onto the beltway that catches the rush hour traffic.  

As I make my way along the beltway I am treated to giant billboards emblazoned with messages from the future church. 

Cruising through this post-denominational landscape, bold, one-word promises shout out to me from signs along the freeway.  


They invite me to join Courageous Seekers who want to Connect and to Endeavor to become communities of Restorers and Defenders who Pulse with the rhythm of the CityBeat as they Root themselves in the Source to Recreate (ReCreate?) and Replenish that FirstLove.  

And I get tired.  No, not tired, but TIED, as in Exhausted by the over stimulation of gospel (?) hype.

Maybe I am just old fashioned, rooted too much in the inheritance of a stodgy routine that has lost its ability to Relate to the Seekers.  

I don't feel that way.  What I feel at five-thirty a.m. on the phone with a grandmother who has lost one more night's sleep over her beautiful nieto who is running the streets blazing like there is no tomorrow--- what I feel at that moment is that the all-too eager Relevant Endeavor of the Citybeat movement is asleep.  


But the Gospel is awake.  The Spirit is present and ablaze with its own healing, smokeless, crackless fire, fighting kush and blunts, cheese and ice, abuse and murder and every demon from hell and the Gospel is saying to that abuela that these monsters SHALL NOT PASS.  

That, my emerging friends, is a movement that is as powerful and practical as the meteoric tumble Christ and six dozen followers gave Lucifer when they took the gospel down dirt roads in sandals with just the clothes on their backs.

I am not against the emerging church. As I stated before there is much to admire about the movement.  My fervent prayer, however, is that what emerges is religion, pure and undefiled, timeless as wisdom lifting her voice at the crossroads of desperate circumstances and as powerful as the resurrected Christ breathing the Spirit upon his quaking disciples.

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