Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Reviews. . . Emerging Model on Christian Century

In the time that I have been reading Presbyterian blogs, I do not recall ever seeing a half dozen bloggers or more all referencing the same magazine article, book or topic (unless of course, it had something to do with General Assembly or the Layman) within the same general time frame.

I have to assume, therefore, that the article in Christian Century entitled Emerging Model: A visit to Jacob's Well by Jason Byassee has hit a real cord with a lot of bloggers. I am sure that I have missed a few, but I first saw it mentioned on Pomomusings on September 25, then on Kruse Kronical on September 26, Advat on September 30, Religion on a Stick and Church Geek on or just before October 3, and at least one other blog I can't recall. I won't try to summarize these bloggers comments. I will say that they cover a lot of spectrums and range from young, liberal and idealistic to older and -- well, let's just say more experienced.

The article describes this church called Jacob's Well in Kansas City, and asks whether the use of the term, "authentic" has become just another trendy label. Along the way it paints a picture of a church attracting Willow Creek or Purpose-Driven levels of attention without appearing to be trying to.

The article is quite short. A lot of this blogring's members have already had something to say about it. At least one person who has chimed in has been to Jacob's Well.

So, is this different?
Is it real?
Can it be copied, and perhaps more importantly, should it be?

Justice Seeker
JusticeSeekerOK@aol.com

2 comments:

Michael W. Kruse said...

"Along the way it paints a picture of a church attracting Willow Creek or Purpose-Driven levels of attention without appearing to be trying to."

I am not sure what you are intending with the "without appearing to be." If by this you mean that these are folks trying to start the next big evagelical fad in churches and are some how secretly promoting themsevles, then I would adamantly disagree.

As I wrote in my article you have linked, I was a part of the PCUSA congreation that owned their building. We made space availalbe to the JW core group from the beginning their in 1998 and eventually sold them the building and dissovled the PCUSA congregation in 2003.

So is this different and is it real? Very much so. Can it be copied, and perhaps more importantly, should it be? No and no. Certain principles about focus and posture before God and the community can be gleaned, but each incarnation of the church is going to vary by context. That is central to their understanding of themselves and what other churches will be.

JW has been very resistant to being labled the next great thing and they have worked hard to resist being made into a prepackaged marketing technique to be transplanted to other churches despite great pressure to do so.

I sense a level of cynicism that seems unjustified. This is an authentic (and imperfect) effort to incarnate Christ in a post-modern community. I welcome their ministry.

jim said...

I don't wish to comment on JW as my only exposure has been through the CC article. But I will comment on the emerging church in general. The comments that follow are admittedly somewhat idealistic...

It's long been my hope that the emerging church might help us as a denomination forge a middle way between the liberal-conservative divide.

I love the emerging church's attention to practice as well as to forming congregations that are wholly missional in intent. The emphasis is on letting the church be the church, and letting God do the work.

These two emphases are something that both conservative and liberal congregations in our denom. could learn to be much more intentional about.

If we caught the fire, this thing could help signal a renewal of our churches (not in a pietistic or P.F.R. sense of the word, but in a 'we have something to be exited about and come see what it is' sense.)