You might be an Emergent Christian if:

Posted on June 8, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Religion |

This is soooooooooo true. I hear all of these things so often from emergent Christians – of course they say they are NOT emergent – and they DO talk about Mother Theresa and they DO sing Bono songs. It’s amazing how accurate this list is!!

You might be an Emergent Christian if:

Kevin De Young and Ted Kluck provide a description of the emergent Christian, Foxworthy style–

You might be an emergent Christian:

–if you listen to U2, Moby, and Johnny Cash’s Hurt (sometimes in church)

–if you use sermon illustrations from The Sopranos, drink lattes in the afternoon and Guinness in the evenings, and always use a Mac

–if your sparring partners include D. A. Carson, John Calvin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Wayne Grudem.

–if your idea of quintessential Christian discipleship is Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, or Desmond Tutu.

–if you don’t like George W. Bush or institutions or big business or capitalism or Left Behind Christianity.

–if your political concerns are poverty, AIDS, imperialism, war-mongering, CEO salaries, consumerism, global warming, racism, and oppression and not so much abortion and gay marriage.

–if you are into bohemian, goth, rave, or indie;

–if you talk about the myth of redemptive violence and the myth of certainty.

–if you lie awake at night having nightmares about all the ways modernism has ruined your life

–if you love the Bible as a beautiful, inspiring collection of works that lead us into the mystery of God but is not inerrant

–if you search for truth but aren’t sure it can be found

–if you’ve ever been to a church with prayer labyrinths, candles, Play-Doh, chalk-drawings, couches, or beanbags (your youth group doesn’t count)

–if you loathe words like linear, propositional, rational, machine, and hierarchy and use words like ancient-future, jazz, mosaic, matrix, missional, vintage, and dance

–if you grew up in a very conservative Christian home that in retrospect seems legalistic, naïve, and rigid

–if you support women in all levels of ministry, prioritize urban over suburban, and like your theology narrative instead of systematic

–if you disbelieve in any sacred-secular divide

–if you want to be the church and not just go to church

–if you long for a community that is relational, tribal, and primal like a river or a garden

–if you believe who goes to hell is no one’s business and no one may be there anyway

–if you believe salvation has a little to do with atoning for guilt and a lot to do with bringing the whole creation back into shalom with its Maker

–if you believe following Jesus is not believing the right things but living the right way

–if it really bugs you when people talk about going to heaven instead of heaven coming to us

–if you disdain monological, didactic preaching

–if you use the word ‘story’ in all your propositions about postmodernism – if all or most of this torturously long sentence describes you, then you might be an emergent Christian.

I took the liberty to break it up into a list for easier reading, and I took out the line about reading lists because I imagine it wouldn’t mean anything to readers of this blog.

Some of this is tongue in cheek, but there are some aspects of the emergent church that are less than harmless. There’s a great deal in common with liberation theology and other liberal strains. The emphasis on social issues is right out of the Social Gospel movement. And any time there’s a conflation of legalism with biblical inerrancy, I get suspicious.

What really strikes me about the picture this list makes is how analogous emergent Christianity seems to have with “third way” politics, or fascism as it’s known. As the linked article asserts, emergent Christianity seeks to be a thrid way between conservative, or fundamentalist, Christianity and liberal Christianity. There seems to be a great deal made of aesthetics and style as well as temperment. There seems to be an attempt to escape any sort of left-right, for the lack of a better context, rigidity. And like with fascism, you end up with a “we know what we’re not” kind of mentality.

What’s sad about the attraction that leads people to such movements is that “fundamentalist” Christianity has always found ways to deal with the problems of legalism and modernity. Most churches are much more libertarian than outsiders think. However, what too many people are looking for is a completely non-judgemental environment where they can teach and lead in the church and smoke pot and live with someone outside of wedlock. If you want to do the latter, don’t get upset if you’re not invited to do the former. I’m sorry if that strikes you as judgemental.

Running off and starting a movement where you think “action” will replace a need to guard what’s in your heart is just going to lead to a different set of problems.

LINK: http://www.rightnation.us/forums/index.php?automodule=blog&blogid=7&

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8 Responses to “You might be an Emergent Christian if:”

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Well, I fit about half of those descriptions.

Not all Emergents believe in all of those things, btw. There are many, many people who would call themself Emergent who are against abortion as well as those other things and who believe the Bible is the infallible and inerrant Word of God. To my mind, those are two of the most important issues that we need to agree on, and many do. There are many Emergents who believe abortion is wrong, but also want to take steps to help the environment. Just like not everything about Fundamentalists are bad, so not everything about Emergents are bad.

Interesting bit of commentary. I’m wondering how all of this mockery fits in with what Jesus said was one of the two most important of all the commandments: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

I suppose the post may have been intended as some form of tough love, but to me it feels more like easy hate.

As for whether or not the post is judgmental, I suppose the author could refer to another admonishment from Jesus, something about casting the first stone.

Defining ones self in terms of what ones self is not..
Yes that is facism..
Thank you..it clarifies the issue

Cliff, you ignorance of politics and history is quite stunning but is typical of liberals. Fascism was based on corporatism (which is a system wherein all companies are brought under one monopoly that is controlled by the government). Furthermore, Fascists purported themselves as being a “third-way” between capitalism and communism that was already prevalent in the 1920’s. The Fascists asserted that they had a form of government that was “better” than the latter two forms, hence “third way.” They still asserted government control (under the liberal belief that it was the government that was the solution of all ills and the progenitor of utopia), and were only mislabeled by you on the left when your communist friends call the Fascist “right.” Indeed, in juxtaposition to communists, Fascists are “right” of them. So, in conclusion, the “Fascists” were liberals; and Emergents being liberals, the correlation holds valid.

Apparently, I’m an emergent Christian and should be proud to be one. If you are going to use terms like “Fascist”, you really should know what they mean. You clearly have no clue. From your description of yourself, you would align with Fascist ideals much more closely than the typical “emergent Christian” you describe, so under your definitions, you should refer to yourself as a Fascist, not the people you are condemning. btw – a Fascist is not necessarily inherently evil – it just means the government is made subservient to the corporation. The US Republican Party is full of them, and Bush and Cheney are prime examples.

I find it absurd that fundamentalists believe that salvation comes through *believing the right thing* and doing so *at the right time (i.e. before you die)*. Why would god be so completely petty?

Yes, I do not understand why a belief, or lack thereof, of an event that was alleged to have occurred two thousands years ago would determine eternal salvation or damnation. One ends up with a situation; wherein, one was some yuppie who paid his bills, supported his kids, and did not cheat on his wife (other than his eyeful lusting occasionally on the internet). Yet, when he dies, for lack of the aforementioned belief, he ends up forever in Hell. Whereas, the man that raped little boys, strangled the life out of them, shot dead cops while fleeing, but then “hears” the Gospel on deathrow. After converting, he is “put to sleep” like an unwanted puppy, and upon “awaking” in the hereafter, finds himself in Heaven for having that belief.

I’ve been very concerned about this ‘hegelian dialect’ approach which softens any kind of specific in theology or even scripture for that matter, and makes everyone ‘acceptable’ regardless of what they say or think. It’s all too much like John Lennon’s ‘imagine’ if you ask me.

I just read a blog from an emergent writer who seemed to think that heresy wasn’t such a bad thing. He said, and I quote “All of our beliefs are likely heresies of some kind, to varying degrees, small and large.”.

What bothers me is that the people who make these statements remind me of the young generation in every time period who has forever lounged around smoking something and drinking coffee, disdainfully attacking the establishment with the arrogant belief that because they were young, they were more enlightened. I am no fan of the established church, having seen some of the most heinous abuses coming from that quarter, but I am no more a fan of the ‘avant garde’ christian because the very essence of alot of this thinking is the absolute antithesis of Jesus. Love. As one commenter has already said.


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