Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jesus Creed, Dialogue & Emerging Submerging

On an earlier post, I mentioned that I have been part of the online conversation at Jesus Creed, the blog for The Emerging Church, The Emerging Movement or Emerging. It is the creation of Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies of North Park University in Chicago, Illinois.

I have found a very interesting phenomenon while participating in the conversation at Jesus Creed. Yes, it is true that eveyone is encouraged to particpate in the online dialogue. But there are limits to this open conversation. It has nothing to do with crossing the boundaries of decorum as in vulgar speech or personal attack. It has to to with the tenor and breadth of conversation actively encouraged and advertised.

No topic is considered taboo and questions are almost considered mandatory. This is because of the supposed openness of questioning anything and everything historically traditional within the realm of Christendom. Biblical texts and all related issues as well as historical settings, subsequent epochs and all recorded actions of personalities of note are fair game.

But their appears to be a few unspoken caveats. Certain conclusions deemed unsuitable to the Emerging modus operandi are not acceptable. However, the only way of ascertaining these boundaries is through the experience of asking questions, participating in the dialogue and, then, drawing conclusions. And certain conclusions are not agreeable to Emerging conclusions. This is true in spite of any claims to the contrary.

One caveat can be found when scrutinizing certain Emerging conclusions. Questions and dialogue are OK as long as absolutes are not taken only from Scripture or from an historically traditional view of Scripture. In some areas, it seems that absolutes are not welcome at all. The area in question remains open to individual thoughts and conclusions.

Another unspoken caveat is ascertained by taking a consistent stand regarding a particular issue and not backing down. This is not respected. To think you are right about that particular issue is unacceptable. You may have others challenge you on various points about that issue, yet, if you remain steadfast, you are considered to be arrogant. This is viewed as an attempt to impose your will on the others in the conversation.

Another Emerging caveat is unveiled more quickly by any thought deemed to put The Emerging Movement in a negative light or to identify Emerging with certain movements outside of Traditional Christianity. For example, if Emerging practices or teachings are said to be the same as those in Eastern Religious practices such as Mysticism, Transcendental Meditation, Spiritism, Spiritualism, etc., the one intimating such thoughts is instantly challenged, if not outright called out on the blog. Receiving rebukes and reprovals by certain ones in the conversation can accumulate quickly.

Of course, the particulars of the dialogue are not put to the strict scrutiny of Scripture. There may be lame attempts of using Scripture outside of context or literal meaning, but strict scrutiny consistently using Scripture is not allowed.

Eventually, the caveats become unashamedly overt. You will be warned and if you do not abide by their strict standards of conduct on the blog, your posts will be removed and your IRL temporarily blocked from further participation in the conversation. Failure to heed the Emerging caveats results in a permanent block. I

have nothing of a personal nature to say against Scot McKnight except to say that there are certain topics he will not allow to be discussed on his blog. This is perfectly fine because, after all, it is his blog. And he is allowed to determine the parameters of conversation; but not when the idea promoted is that the conversation is open.

So, it seems that Emerging is really all about Submerging, submerging Truth, submerging certain Truth. Believe it or not, Emerging types are being led down a path containing the aromatic tinge from below.
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