My parents are in town visiting this week. Their arrival marks the first time they’ve met their sole grandchild. As such, I’m not able to do as much ’round here (I’m not able to take any days off work so I’m doing my regular 58 hour week in addition to being with them) and therefore I’ll be posting very short little guys.
Well, for wanting to keep it short, you’d think I’d have chosen a lighter topic.
As I’ve mentioned in previous post and will continue to reference until the end of time my religious story began in a quasi-fundamentalist non-denomination church. We’re talking hymns only, long pews, suit and tie preacher fighting the culture war from the pulpit each week, and blatantly endorsing Republican candidates during election time.
The news they preached there wasn’t very good – I guess it was good news if you were one of the in people God had saved from a fiery hell and a sinking ship of a planet – however the way it was presented always left me vastly insecure I was good enough, that I was one of the people for whom it was good news.
By middle school I was pretty over the whole church thing. I was no expert in religion, but I could already tell the whole thing was pretty bogus. By the time high school came around I manipulated my parents and my work schedule to get me out of going altogether.
The emerging church movement arose as a response to the oppressive fundamentalist indoctrination so many people had encountered. It wanted to look at a different way to do things than that one, as obviously for them it was not working at all, and judging by the change in the larger culture (toward post-modernism) it was not working so hot for the very people the fundamentalists desired to convert.
I don’t identify with the emerging church movement. As I state in the FAQ, I appreciate some of the people in the movement, but since its not really much of anything more than a conversation its fairly transient and I’d rather put my eggs in a another basket. I do appreciate some of what they are doing, but that of course doesn’t mean I agree with the everything going on in it.
Now, many conservative people hate the emergents. We’re talking witch hunt. They write books trying to punch holes in everything they say. There are plenty of emergent watchdogs out there waiting to pin whoever they can to the heresy wall. It’s pretty brutal.
I know why they’re doing this, but I’d like to call for some understanding. See, it took me a long time to come back to the Christian thing. My only experience with it had been that ultra conservative church, and because of that I mistakenly believe that was the whole of Christianity. I thought that was it, there was nothing else. And since it burned me I backed off.
So why I’m calling for just a little bit of slack, maybe even just a little bit of brotherhood, is because at least the emergents didn’t make that leap of giving it up altogether. At least they are trying to reform it and work with it in some way. At least they didn’t bounce to the other end of the spectrum and become devout atheist working against Christianity. At least they are still working within Christianity.
So that’s all. I could write far more, but let’s leave it like that. All I’m asking for is some perspective and understanding.
Regardless of how much you may despise the emergents, can you at least acknowledge that they are trying to stay with Jesus? Can you accept them as a brother or sister through Jesus? Do you understand why they are doing what the are?