STEVE: 4. How far do you think the church has to go before it will really start to reach the emerging generation in large numbers?
TALLSKINNYKIWI: As far as Jesus went, which is all the way, incarnating, fleshing out Kingdom realities in the culture God has planted us. It will take courage, risk and sacrifice. There will be a change of vocabulary to reflect a new mindset. Military language will receive a discharge. There will be mess. There will be more unbelievers joining our communities earlier in their journey than they did previously and with more honestly. They will request more honesty from us. More vulnerability. There will be casualties.
There will be misunderstandings. And the greatest persecution may come from the existing church. I sure hope not. It has already been a difficult journey in helping the church understand. I have heard many Christian writers and teachers, even here in England, speak absolute nonsense about “postmodernism”. They have unfairly criticized the emerging “postmodern” generation for being slackers, lazy, consumerist, materialistic, lacking an ethical code and not believing in truth. I believe that not only are they wrong, but that the opposite is true. There is a new asceticism in regard to material things that is a healthy and godly response to our new wealth and overflow of resources. The filter is better than the funnel. There is an approach to truth that is more relational, narrative, participatory and experiential. The ethical code is not only strong but brings both a swift and strict judgment to those who violate it.
Yes, it is a culture in need of redemption, as all cultures are, but much of what has been expressed by Christian leaders is uninformed and a hindrance in preparing people to enter the emerging culture with the good news of a risen Christ.
The encouraging thing is that the church has brought good news for modern man, and now we are bringing good news to postmodern people and the emerging culture. There are already many believers deeply embedded in the emerging culture who are thinking through what it means to be church. One of the challenges for the existing church is to recognize and support them in their journey. We may not be the ones who ignite the church planting movements needed for the emerging culture. Maybe our children will be. But we must allow them the same freedom that we were given by those who went before us. Lets be diligent to seek out what God is doing and to water what God is bringing to life.
Tomorrow: final thoughts.
Wanna read a good book? The Emerging Church by Dan Kimball - I was surprised to see how close his thoughts are to mine - check it out on the left column.
ADDED: Oct 2006
Here are the links to my answers:
Defining the Emerging Church
Emerging Church Definition 1.0
Emerging church Definition 2.0
Emerging Church Definition 3.0
Emerging church Definition 4.0
Emerging church Defintion Additional
I believe the magazine published this but i dont think i ever got a copy.
I briefed a number of American Foundations on the emerging church scene. You can read what i said at Emergant.org