Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is Emergent Fussy?

I just finished reading the latest version of Charlie Wear Nextzine magazine. It's always sincere and insightful about issues in and about the emerging church. But in this issue there was a noticeable tone of fussiness. It's that conflicted tone of "love-the-church, hate-the-church". I get it, I really do, that there is lot in the local, building-bound, denominationally nested, multi-generational church that is not cool. In fact, it seems that the fussiness I pick up on is more of an esthetic fussiness that spiritual fussiness. The trappings of the local church, I characturized above, is just so normal, almost boring: committee meetings, budgets, employees, maintenance, garbage collection, bulletins and paper newsletters, coffee-makers and kitchen coordinators. It's really more like a Ford mini-van than a Mini-Cooper. The problem with the Mini-Cooper type of church is that it is too small, tight and exclusive.
I made the mistake of accepting an invitation several years ago to a reception at one of the newest and coolest emerging churches in the area. It would have music, an art gallery and wine and cheese (in the church...how cool is that?) Unfortunately I was coming from some other meeting or service where I was wearing a suit and tie. When I walked in I got the 100 yard stare from the black-clothed members and friends of the church. Clearly I did not get the memo on dressing cool for the night. I got looked at seriously, but never greeted. As I wandered from room to room, looking for my one friend there, I realize that I did not fit here.My thinning grey hair and white shirt and tie put me in a another category all together. It all seemed a bit too fussy, and maybe still is.


At 11:09 AM , Blogger Rick said...

It's all so funny, Don. I remember being in seminary in 1982 and joking with a few friends that we would all start "CCC" together. "CCC" stood for "Cool Covenant Church" and would be so much hipper than most of the churches we saw. We were laughing then. Sometimes it does seem it's not a joke any more.

At 11:20 AM , Blogger kent said...

I want to be careful because it is easy to target any groups and take your shots. I wonder if the emergent church realizes how much they are like the "mother" church they are trying so hard to escape from? Yeah they have aesthetic alterations, but they still have governance, they still have to have a place to meet, they still have deal with child care and procedures and they have to determine what their budget is and sooner or later theya re going to discover they have somehow misplaced their "edginess" and go lost in the midst of doing kingdom business. I also wonder if they have eyes so firm tagged on the mega church they lose sight of all that has been done in the countless neighborhood church for the kingdom. From some of the discriptions my first church Iowa back in 1981 was emergent.

At 12:36 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Good corrective owrd, to avoid just taking shots. It's easy to do. The challenge is can I make fun of myself as well, otherwise I'm back to pharisaism.


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