A weekend with Scot
Montecito Covenant just had a wonderful weekend with Scot McKnight. Scot came as a guest speaker for a campaign kick-off to reduce the debt on the church ($1.3 million) to free the church for mission not interest payments. On Sunday Scot preached (he might call it teaching, but it's preaching!) on Mark 12:28 the Jesus Creed. Again, he was challenging to get a sacred rhythm going of regular prayers and a missional view to our neighbors and a graciousness to let it take a lifetime. This was good stuff.
But then I asked Scot to address to adult SS class (we have only one now) on "Issues of the Emerging Church." He quickly corrected me to call it an emerging "conversation" and then he launced into a 45 minute succint description of the basic architecture of emerging christianity that had everyone on the edge of their pews.
On a positve and compellingly important side, Scot described a community (or conversation...see I'm learning) that is 1. missional, 2. really pro-Jesus (versus an evangelical community that is pro-Paul) 3. pro-church (but not denomimational and hierarchical institutional) 4. pro-culture (no running for cover, see the ipods everywhere!) 5. sensory for the artistis among us.
Scot described a post-modern phenomenon that does not get excited (nor even like) denominations and clericalism. It casts itself on the political spectrum as purple (neither blue nor red...though they behave pretty blue). They are post-doctrinal. Long conversations about doctrinal definitions creates boring yawns due to relational irrelevance. They are post-Bible Study piety, where the evangelical default response to most issues is to form a Bible study in a home and talk about a Bible passage, share prayer requests, pray and go home. These folks want to be in the neighborhood and community doing something that makes a difference (orthodoxy less than orthopraxy) .
Scot registered some concern that this is still pretty niche-seeking and exclusive. The voices are white suburban evangelicals disaffected with the mega church who are liberal arts educated, urban, literate, and, who love coffee stores. There is a concern that there is not a balanced view of Scripture that includes Paul and the epistles and the OT along with Jesus.
The energy level in the Montecito sanctuary reached double digits. Young and old were dialed in and engaged. This conversation really matters. Scot has the gift to playfully describe key issues and factors without taking side. I wished I had the chance to talk longer about issues like:
What does the Covenant denomination bring to the emergin conversation? Is being non-credal pietists a good thing or does our 100+ year history and bureacratic legacy invalidate us?
How do clergy (like me) fit in this picture? Are we part of the solution or part of the problem?
Where are the women's voices? It seems to me pretty male-dominated.
Can there be emerging leaders who are not connected to Zondervan publishing?
Where do old people (not like me yet) fit?
We'll have to have Scot back to continue the conversation.....