Emergent…Emerging?

Last week I wrote about “The Faith We Know” and I raised some questions regarding the relationship between faith and culture.  In particular I raised a question regarding what it means that Christianity is a translated faith.  I ended that blog by raising questions about the issues we face in American culture as Christians wrestle with what it means to effectively communicate the gospel in this culture, with this culture, and for this culture.  I would like to restate those questions asked last week and offer the following context for a conversation.  The emerging/emergent church movement/idea has created something of a stir among certain Christian traditions and sub-cultures.  For the sake of brevity let’s locate this movement by saying that in many ways it is an attempt by Christians to enter into and respond to the whole postmodern conversation on a number of levels including theology.  My take on this attempt is that it has created both friends and enemies; it is a polarizing movement.  That fact is not necessarily a bad thing but sometimes it eliminates the one thing that it should be trying to foster; civil discourse.  Civil discourse is an art that is fast disappearing in our culture and we need to restore it in our conversations no matter how strongly we may feel about an issue or idea. 

So, here are last week’s questions offered again but with the caveat that I am raising these questions as they pertain to the emerging/emergent movement and I am asking for my blog readers to respond at maxie@maxieburch.net.

Questions:

Is American culture in 2010 the same as it was in 1960, 1930, 1890?  Are the linguistic idioms, symbols and mental constructs the same?  If not, what has changed? 

What difference does it make for the gospel that believers in America talk about Christianity in terms of modern, post-modern, traditional, fundamentalist, liberals, millennials, emergents, etc. etc.? 

What does all that language mean if culture laden language is the host for the gospel, the medium through which people struggle anew with the message and meaning of the gospel? 

Are Christians open to God providing a fuller expression of the living faith that was handed down to us from Jesus and the early apostles? 

Do our brothers and sisters in Africa, Asia, South America and other cultures offer us more than we currently know and or practice? 

If the current culture we live in has changed from the one in which we first encountered the gospel of Jesus Christ, how will we respond to those changes? 

If the faith is larger and deeper than the one I know and practice, how large and how deep will I let it be for me? For others?

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