Recent Articles on the Emerging Church, and a Plea

11:07 pm | Emergent Church

Chuck Colson recently had an excellent piece entitled Emerging Confusion in Christianity Today. Although I don’t agree with it completely, it is an excellent read and worth the time. Not surprisingly, there were some comments on the Tall Skinny Kiwi blog on the subject. Although Tall Skinny Kiwi said on his blog that he was not going to ‘bite the bait’, he went ahead and posted a response anyway.

I have had to take a break from actively reading many blogs because it is simply too emotionally draining on me. Reading the Tall Skinny Kiwi blog is becoming too painful as it is clear that there is no interest in listening to criticism honestly and with an open mind. Where is the charity that supposedly characterizes the emerging movement? Why is it so lacking in how criticism is addressed?

I doubt that the Tall Skinny Kiwi will take the time to address the kinds of concerns that this post-emergent as well as critics of the emerging church have brought up. Healthy criticism is a good thing because it brings a new perspective to the table that might have been missed, by exposing blindspots in thinking. It serves as an opportunity to address areas where corrective action needs to be taken. But ignoring criticism - or worse, snubbing one’s nose at those who write criticisms - is both uncharitable and benefits noone. In fact, it shows a disregard for other people’s thoughts and feelings. It is disrespectful, and it hurts and wounds people when we refuse to hear and listen to what they have to say.

There is an opportunity to heal the rift that has developed between the emerging church and its critics. If the emerging conversation could soberly, honestly, charitably, and irenically address the concerns that have been expressed, and empathize with other people’s opinions and positions - especially when they disagree with them - then there could begin a process leading to a healthy rapprochement. It must happen on both sides of the divide - the emerging discussion should not merely demand that critics meet them where they are at, but must be willing to meet in the middle themselves. The emerging folks will have to take more than a passive role in healing wounds - it is no longer sufficient to sit back and wait for the Evangelical church to bridge the divide. The Evangelical church has already taken note of the emergent; it is time the emergent took seriously the necessity of returning the favor. Simply continuing to lob vitriol and bombs against criticisms of the emergent will cause the emerging conversation to be more misunderstood by the Evangelical church than it already is.

In many ways I have hung my emotions on my sleeve in this post. I have been real and authentic with my thoughts and feelings, and by doing so I have opened myself up and become vulnerable. Because some emerging folks will simply take the opportunity to attack, I have resigned myself to the knowledge that I will be wounded by people who don’t know the first thing about me. I am a very passionate soul - I want better for the Evangelical church as a whole than the divisive fighting against the perception of old Evangelicalism that has come to characterize the emergent movement. However, it is my plea and prayer that you the reader to think carefully and pray about the things I’ve posted here before rushing to attack. Why attack an enemy, when by love one can win a friend? Can we not sit and talk, be respectful, listening and hearing what others are saying, and try to understand what is meant rather than jumping to conclusions and taking a defensive posture? Can we not be peacemakers?

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andrew (tall skinny kiwi)

Comment on July 19, 2006 @ 1:55 am

i think i lost my last comment so will do so again
if you want to read one of my responses, go to where i responded to aaron of theopedia here

link

is this the type of response you are looking for?

do you hold to the same creeds and covenants i mention here?

andrew (tall skinny kiwi)

Comment on July 19, 2006 @ 1:59 am

actually, that was not a response - just a little commentary and thinking out loud

if you want to read the kind of responses that i give people asking me re: the emerging church, then take a look at my response to Aaron of Theopedia who asked me a number of specific questions

you will see that i answered them all respectfully

link - is here

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