There has been some good discussion going on about what makes a church “emergent” because of a post I did on Mars Hill Church and my experience there. However, I may have stuck my foot in my mouth a bit, and I’d like to recant [a bit].
As one who is more open to those followers of Christ who follow a more progressive theology, I need to be more understanding of those who hold more conservative theologies. I guess it all depends on your definition of emergent. And, it very well may be different for different people. I don’t know that I even want to restrict it with a definition. For me, part of what I think of when I hear “emergent” – is a more progressive theology [and I think many of those involved with Emergent would agree with that…I’m thinking of Brian McLaren and of the New Theology For a New World closing seminar at the Emergent Convention last spring by Tony Jones & Doug Pagitt].
Modern Desire to Define
As one who resonates with much of postmodernity, I still am deeply modern in some of my ways of thinking. For instance, even the question itself “Is Mars Hill an emerging church?” is one that seeks to define, to categorize, to limit, to box in. That is not what I want to do to Mars Hill; or to anyone for that matter.
Am I Exclusive?
Thad posted a great comment on the post below, and said: “The great hypocrisy arrives when we tout the virtue of a broader inclusiveness, but really just develop a new breed of exclusivity that dismisses those who don’t buy our particular brand of inclusiveness.” And that is exactly what I was doing. For which, I recant. As another friend, TonyB, mentioned, if my inclusivity can find truth in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, then my inclusivity must be broad enough to include Christians with whom I disagree on non-essential issues.
And, in all of this, I forgot one of the things I enjoyed most about last spring’s Emergent Convention. It was packed – like, way more than YS or Emergent had expected, and people were there from all sorts of faith backgrounds. You had liberals with conservatives with moderates – and they all acknowledged the need to be doing church in a new way. That is what is beautiful about Emergent – the breadth of diversity [theologically primarily, we’re still working on the racial/ethnic…we’re really white right now]…
I emailed Mark Driscoll, and hopefully he’ll come and post some comments, and maybe he can set me straight. Do I think Mars Hill is reaching an emerging generation of people in Seattle? Definitely. Are they doing some “different” that people are responding to? Definitely. Do I agree with them theologically on certain issues? No. Does that mean they’re not emergent…? I don’t know…