Fwd: A late night reflection on emerging church, power, and conversation …

(I have chosen “Fwd:” to be at the front of the title as opposed to “Re:” to express that I am forwarding this knowledge to you, not rebutting my dear friend Tim’s post)

Tim’s reflection upon my last post “Emergence and the Struggle for Power” is a fair one, and I enjoy dialoging with him further upon the matter. Please read Tim’s reflection as an addition to my last post. I would like to make a quick point or two:

  1. Power: I have used the word “power” to be synonymous with influence. I do believe, however, that we, as humans, struggle with and fear losing influence with our respective audiences. We fear “sharing the limelight,” so to speak. There is an underlying “us vs. them” feeling. For example, if you listen to my rival instead of me, I am somewhat hurt, and I would prefer that you listen to me. I will go to great extents to win you over. Or, if you like the those stinkin’ Mets, I will try to convince you to cheer for the Phillies. Why? Because I desire to have some influence on you, and I want you to see it “my way.” The same is true with (what I have termed) “good ol’ Protestantism” and “Emergence.” As Tim said, it’s the “Us” (former) and “Why not us?” (latter). Which leads me to my next point that influence determines what will survive.
  2. Survival: I think ultimately we must not fear new movements. Whether people like to admit it or not, Christianity (i.e., orthodox Christianity) will survive because of new movements from within. Christianity survived because of the fundamentalist movement of the early 1900s (fundamentalist as in “fundamentals,” not what it’s become) even though a lot of baggage came with it. Christianity will survive because of Emergence, I believe, because it questions what is “old skin” and asks us to remove it to pursue a more rich and life-fulfilling faith that follows the life of Jesus.
  3. No More “Us vs. Them”: lastly, the “us vs. them” feeling should be left behind when we are in conversation with one another. Rather, as McLaren says, it should be “some of us for all of us.” That is what Christiantiy is. It’s not  us vs. the Muslims, or us vs. the far left wing, or us vs. (whatever else). It is some of us (Christians) for all of us (all humanity). We as Christians must dialog with each other over how we may be salt and light in the world. These conversations are much more beneficial to all of us.

So, please read Tim’s addition to my post, and I hope I was able to clear up some more of what I understand.


1 Comment so far
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I’m so glad I was able to influence you to see it my way – lol.

Seriously, thank you for clarifying and I am in agreement with where you are landing. If I had more time, i’d try to disagree with something to continue the interesting discussion but I do appreciate what you wrote.

In speaking of your survival point, twenty years from now you can stick this in my face but I believe that our generation (X’ers and also Millennials) will handle change better. Frankly, I will be relieved that future generations will be pursuing change.

Comment by Tim

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