Can I say it publicly? The season of emerging church mudslinging is over. Now its time to bless each other, rise up with wings like angels . . . and fly. The last month put a lot of good people on the defensive and many leaders had to pause for a moment and offer some explanation or apologies or a defense. The wheels stopped turning. But something has shifted, the public bashing of megachurch seekerchurch emergentchurch postmodernchurch housechurch is no longer cool, the hipness of judgmentalism is no longer hip despite us living in an age where everything is published and a misquote on a bad day is only a google away. Sorry Bob Hyatt, but you will have to find another addicition.
This new world of post-post-literacy and information glut can easily lead to trivia sites and the rise of professional critics whose google adds will put food on their table. I dont think this has happened yet, but it could. If we embrace a culture of mudslinging and searching through each other's archives then we will lose our freedom to speak freely and openly and without fear of creating a database of potential deflamatories. And it will be hard to blog in a world like that. And yes - I know the word is defamatory and not deflamatory, but if i want to make up a word that captures the dark spirit of flaming each other in a defamatory way, then i will do it. It's my blog. Its my language.
I am not saying the battle is over. There is still residue. The article Rick Warren Teams Up With New-Age Guru Ken Blanchard! is still online, along with Rick's response. And Frederick Meekin's "Jonestown or Waco, anyone?" article about Brian McLaren ("Emergent Error: Pastor Seeking 'With It' Reputation Ventures Close to Heresy") is still making its rounds, even though it was taking down by many websites,
i also said some positive words in defense of my friend Erwin McManus who is also under criticism. I was with Erwin when he did his first youth service in East L.A. (1994?) under the supervision of Thom Wolf, which became Mosaic I am not saying I loved Erwin's service - I didnt think it was very good (probably much better now - Erwin was up on stage singing solo with his guitar at the first one). And I didn't really like Brian's last books or Rick's books (too packaged for my liking) but thats not the point. These are good men and they are serving Jesus alongside me. And so are a hundred other good men and women who are getting slammed . . and I really don't have the time to go around sticking up for everyone. How much better for all of us if we recognize our true enemy is probably not sitting on a pew in a different church than us.
My job as a internet watchman was a temp. gig and now i have to get back to work. I have been present in many of these conversations but now I have to focus on the summer missions, pilgrimages, conferences and events that need my attention. You will have to excuse me if i don't turn up as much in your blog post entries or chat rooms.
Those who want to find the latest tabloid science-fiction soap-opera gossip on who is being slammed and how to get some action will have to go somewhere else. In fact, you can start here. Apparently, John Bunyan is charged him with “preaching up an idol, and using conjuration and witchcraft." Have fun! Don't stay out too late!
Some of us are saying . . "what was that all about" . . and i am asking "what do the prophets say went wrong over the past few months". But more importantly, something has shifted in the heavenlies and there is a renewed sense of unity, humility and desire to work together and get on with the job.
I guess fame always comes with a price. No wonder Jesus avoided it as much as He could, staying underground, shunning crowds and public displays with the explanation . . . "My time has not yet come"
And I am not saying that we should stop the discipline of examining ourselves daily or welcoming constructive criticism, but I am saying that I think a lot of us have done enough explaining and defending to feel like we are freed up again to get back to the mission of helping God reconcile all things to Himself, and not to feel dampened.
Or in other words, the harvest is ripe. The season is now. Jesus is with us. Its time for young people to rise up with wings likes angels, time to FLY (as my old pastor Chuck Swindoll said once) . . . and don't let anyone clip your wings!
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31