It is a loosely drawn organization of churches that are attempting to reach the postmodern culture in the Western World. You can listen to some Dallas Theological Seminary material on the subject of The Emerging Church Movement in a series of discussion by Mark L. Bailey, Mark H. Heinemann, Glenn R. Kreider and Andrew B. Seidel, The discussion is labeled as: “This is an introductory exploration into a movement hopeful of meeting the complexities of ministering to an emergent culture.”
The first main point in discussion one is that there is diversity in the emerging church movement. So we know that we are beginning with something that is not going to be easily labeled. One Website which deals with the subject is called Emergent Village:
Members of Emergent Village hold in common four values and several practices that flow from them. In the language of a religious order, we call these four values our “order and rule”:
I will pick a few of their sentences to explain their position without the surrounding commentary.
1. Commitment to God in the Way of Jesus:
We are committed to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. In the words of Jesus, we seek to live by the Great Commandment: loving God and loving our neighbors
We are committed to a “generous orthodoxy” in faith and practice – affirming the historic Christian faith and the biblical injunction to love one another even when we disagree. We embrace many historic spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, contemplation, study, solitude, silence, service, and fellowship, believing that healthy theology cannot be separated from healthy spirituality.
2. Commitment to the Church in all its Forms:
We are committed to honor and serve the church in all its forms – Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Anabaptist. We practice “deep ecclesiology” – rather than favoring some forms of the church and critiquing or rejecting others, we see that every form of the church has both weaknesses and strengths, both liabilities and potential.
We believe the rampant injustice and sin in our world requires the sincere, collaborative, and whole-hearted response of all Christians in all denominations, from the most historic and hierarchical, through the mid-range of local and congregational churches, to the most spontaneous and informal expressions. We affirm both the value of strengthening, renewing, and transitioning existing churches and organizations, and the need for planting, resourcing, and coaching new ones of many kinds.
We own the many failures of the church as our failures, which humbles us and calls us to repentance, and we also celebrate the many heroes and virtues of the church, which inspires us and gives us hope.
3. Commitment to God’s World:
We practice our faith missionally – that is, we do not isolate ourselves from this world, but rather, we follow Christ into the world.
We seek to fulfill the mission of God in our generations, and then to pass the baton faithfully to the next generations as well.
We believe the church exists for the benefit and blessing of the world at large; we seek therefore not to be blessed to the exclusion of everyone else, but rather for the benefit of everyone else.
We see the earth and all it contains as God’s beloved creation, and so we join God in seeking its good, its healing, and its blessing.
4. Commitment to One Another
In order to strengthen our shared faith and resolve, and in order to encourage and learn from one another in our diversity through respectful, sacred conversation, we value time and interaction with other friends who share this rule and its practices.
We identify ourselves as members of this growing, global, generative, and non-exclusive friendship.
We welcome others into this friendship as well.
We bring whatever resources we can to enrich this shared faith and resolve.
We live out the four values of our rule through four lines of action:
- We explore and develop ideas, theology, practices, and connections … through conversations, conferences, think-tanks, gatherings, retreats, publications, learning cohorts, online resources, and other means.
- We resource individuals, leaders, and organizations – funding their imagination, stimulating their thinking, providing examples, events, literature and other resources to assist them in their lives and mission.
- We communicate our calling, vision, learning, and activities to the growing Emergent Village community, and to other interested people around the world.
- We provide ways for people to belong, identify with, and participate in this community, conversation, and mission at varying levels. We encourage the development of generative friendships, collaborations, and partnerships.
The Wikipedia has a pretty good article on the Emerging church movement as well as information on the critics of the movement. Their article begins:
The emerging church (also known as the emerging church movement) is a controversial 21st-century Protestant Christian movement whose participants seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched. To accomplish this, "emerging Christians" (also known as "emergents") deconstruct and reconstruct Christian beliefs, standards, and methods in ways which will accommodate postmodern culture. This accommodation is found largely in this movement's embrace of postmodernism's postfoundational epistemology, and pluralistic approach to religion and spirituality. Proponents of this movement call it a "conversation" to emphasize its developing and decentralized nature as well as its emphasis on interfaith dialog rather than verbal evangelism. The predominantly young participants in this movement prefer narrative presentations drawn from their own experiences and biblical narratives over propositional, biblicist exposition. Emergents echo the postmodern rejection of absolutes and metanarratives. They emphasize the subjective over the objective since postmodern epistemology is ultimately destructive of certainty in objective propositions such as those historically found in Christian creeds, confessions, and statements of faith.
No doubt to some people this all sounds like psychobabble. In certain ways it probably is. Yet there is one clear thought through all this. That is that the Christian church has to change, it has to reach the people in our culture with the message of love of God and love for mankind. We are not just strangers passing through this world on our way to some sweet by and by. This is our home the earth God has given us and those people are a part of the same family as we are. We may be looked at as foreigners and strangers to the ways of a world separated from God but our message is still one of reconciliation and that happens in more ways than simply getting people into our churches. We don't have perfection to offer people here and now but that does not mean we don't have worthwhile things to offer, here and now.
As I was listening to my music on shuffle play it so happened that I was just listening to the following song when I got back to this article. As it seems to apply here it is:
Kees Kraayenoord : God Of The Moon And Stars
God of the moon and stars
God of the gay- and singles bars
God of the fragile hearts we are, I come to you
God of our history, god of the future that will be
What will you make of me, I come to you
God of the meek and mild,
God of the reckless and the wild
God of the unreconciled, I come to you
God of our life and death
God of our secrets unconfessed
God of our every breath, I come to you
God of the rich and poor
God of the princess and the whore
God of the ever open door, I come to you
God of the unborn child
God of the pure and undefiled
God of the pimp and paedophile, I come to you
God of the war and peace
God of the junkie and the priest
God of the greatest and the least, I come to you
God of the refugee
God of the prisoner and the free
God of our doubt and certainty, I come to you
God of our joy and grieve
God of the lawyer and the thief
God of our faith and unbelief, I come to you
God of the wounds we bear
God of the deepest dreams we share
God of our unspoken prayer, I come to you
God of a world that's lost
God of the lonely cross
God who has come to us, I come to you