Thursday, March 08, 2007

Emerging Conversation: Rifles Not Allowed

I mentioned on an earlier post that I had been involved in the conversation on Jesus Creed, an Emerging Church website moderated by Scot McKnight. I also mentioned that

Emerging is publicly against much of, what they consider to be, the negative aspects of Traditional Christianity. If you listen for awhile, you begin to realize that what they are really upset about is not being allowed to participate in Traditional Christianity. They have been marginalized. Why? Because they are new, innovative, hip, tolerant and outside the Evangelical Box. In other words, they are modern hippies (not always in looks) who don't fit in and don't really want to fit in. They don't want to conform to the standards of worship and ministry tradition handed down within their respective faith families because, many times, those standards require one to look, be and act different from the world.

So, in the spirit of the age, they have rebelled and launched out into the deep on their own in order to create their own autonomous bodies, usually in the most unexpected places. That way they can be close to the ones they are attempting to minister to, which means that they get to create an atmosphere which makes them feel comfortable as well as those they are attempting to reach with the good news of Jesus. And did I mention they get to have fun at the same time? That may not be the most important aspect, but is surely mentioned alot.

As stated before, one of the hallmarks of Emerging is Conversation. By encouraging participation in conversation by as many as possible, all are included to the best extent possible. Inclusiveness within Community is also another major hallmark of Emerging.

One problem with this conversation emerges, though. Addressing particulars within a conversation tends to exclude a certain number of participants because of the various levels of expertise and experience within the body of available conversants. Another problem emerges when there are so many opinions and thoughts about a given particular that the only conclusion among the conversants is that there are many opinions among the various conversants. That's because arriving at objective truth is not the aim of conversation, conversation is the aim of conversation.

So when somone attempts to focus on a particular and refuses to let it go, this is not considered a positive within the immediate conversant community. After all, a person who refuses to let go of a particular point is considered to view himself as right about that point. That is not a positive either, especially if it conflicts with the consensus of the conversant community.

It's rather amusing to watch members of Emerging react to people in the same manner with which they have been treated in the past. You would think that they would be a little more sensitive to someone in a similar plight as their own, that of not being accepted by the group.

But when you bring a rifle to an outing when everyone else has brought shotguns, the disparity is obvious. And so is the discomfort.
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