Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What Happens when we ASS-U-ME?

So . . . I am doing some writing and am trying to come up with some of the most widely held assumptions, critiques, myths, understandings about the Postmodern and Emergent church culture. I am especially interesting in hearing from those who would consider themselves highly critical/suspicious of this "movement." -- Don't worry we can still be friends ;-) If you are Presbyterian, please let me know as I am trying to frame some responses to my PC(USA) familia as well as some larger audiences.

So far I have . . .

* The Postmodern church is not interested in the TRUTH of God.
* One can BECOME a Postmodern;
* Postmodern = generational;
* Postmodern church = church growth fad;
* Postmodernism is a rejection of all things traditional;
* Postmodern can be defined.
* Postmodern = method;
* Postmodernism is just repackaging old ritual
* The Postmodern discourse is just the playground of elite, white, male,conservative zealots;

Other assumptions, critiques, etc. that you hold or that you have heard? Thanks in advance!



niebuhrian said...

I am just about to do a series of posts on postmodernism 101. I just finished a course on postmodernism and theology and wanted to go back through my notes and try to put things in my own words. The biggest misnomer of postmodernism is that it is equal to relativism, though it is easty to see where it comes from.

As a 30-something who is a little skeptical of the emergent movement (several reasons make me so - ie. its evangelical roots, its lack of formal leadership from women, and its inability to categorize itself other than to describe what it is not), I see some benefit to postmodernism.

My skepticism of the movement (or conversation as they call it) has nothing to do with a diversity in worship (which they do and should celebrate), but with other reasons as stated above. Moreover, they seem to be seeking a return to premodernity rather than a step forward into postmodernity...

grace and peace

Gannet Girl said...

The 8th and 9th are the ones I have heard and very (very) slightly witnessed re: the emergent church movement. I have heard that female leadership therein is virtually nonexistent and, from what little I've read online, I haven't seen anything not already found in the traditional church.

Stushie said...

I posted this on my website two weeks ago.

Job 32:9 - It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.

I think it was during the 1960's that the phrase "generation gap" was first used. All over the world, young people were rebelling against the institutions of their day by dropping out of school, confronting the authorities, and staying away from church. For those of us who can remember, the summer of 1968 seemed to be full of riots on the streets, sit-ins on campuses, and protest marches in every large town. It was amazing to see young people challenge society in every continent under the sun. It was a time of uncertainty, but there was also an excitement about the radicalism those times produced.

There's a new movement happening again, spear-headed by young people, who are casting off the old ways of doing church. They're calling themselves the "emerging church" and our denominations and religious institutions need to start listening to their voices. These young people are rejecting the hype and hypocrisy of church styles that no longer connect with their spirits. They are joining together in small groups, worshiping in their homes, and studying scripture together in online chat rooms. They are developing a simple liturgy and adopting a life style that won't give in to societal or ecclesiastical pressure. They are the closest church movement to reflect New Testament Christianity and, as they emerge, our monolithic, classical, and tri-centennial structures will begin to crumble and fall.

As Elihu says to Job in this passage, "It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right."

The question we must face today is this: Are we preparing our churches for this emerging faith community in the days ahead, or are we still trying to uphold traditions that are dying on the vine?

Pappy McVulgar said...

I am curious and leery of the postmodern and emergent church movement. I am seeking to understand it and grasp the relevancy it holds in my life and in the future of ministry.
ecclesia semper reformanda is still valid and if practiced we will always have tension between church, society, culture…
what is the emergent church? What is postmodern? What can we say about or discuss that is beyond enlightenment? I personally believe that the early Christian mystics had a lot going for them…to sit in a cave and ponder all of this.

Anonymous said...

I'm a presbyterian and I have no idea what the postmodern and emergent church are. Most of us associate "modern" with very good. So what is something that comes after "very good"? The word association is sort of like postmortem and that's not a good thing. Postmodern, if a person has no idea what you mean by it(and that includes me), sounds a bit like dying. (Postmodern Roman Empire would be the Dark Ages)

Not too sure about the word emerging either. What kinds of things and creatures emerge? And what are they going to do to you when they get out?

What is emerging? If it's theology you are going to have a problem. People like to believe tha God is the same yesterday, today and forever. If he waffles he's wishy washy and not worthy of their worship. So I hope that's not what's emerging. (It beats the word submerging which sounds like drowning)

I hope you are not the group who does not respect the Bible as the inerrant word of God. If it's just another nice story book on the shelves, why not just go to the movies and forget it? If truth keeps emerging, then, if you don't like what you hear, wait a few minutes and maybe it will change for you (emerge). Kind of like the weather.

Maybe you are the group who believes everything is relative, just like they did in the 60's and 70's. There are no absolutes so everyone becomes their own God. Truth is always emerging because a person is always making it up to suit their whims of the moment.

It's good that you are going to work on your marketing of the concept. As you can see, I have no idea what this is and there are many others like me. The words themselves bring negative images to mind automatically.