Sunday, August 31, 2008

Emerging Conversation: The Limits of Friendly Dialogue

The following is a post from more than a year ago. I returned to the Jesus Creed site again just to have another look around and found that nothing has changed. My conversations with other emerging types has revealed the same. How about you?

I've been visiting the well known and popular Emerging Blog named Jesus Creed, moderated by Scot McKnight, Professor of Religious Studies at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. Other emerging Leaders are Brian McLaren, Alan Hirsch, Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll, D. A. Carson, Leonard Sweet, Doug Pagitt, Ed Stetzer, John Burke, Scott A. Bessenecker, and Dennis M. Doyle.
Actually, I've been participating in the conversation for awhile. I've found it interesting, thought provoking, frustrating, enlightening and most of all, revealing. Emerging or The Emerging Church Movement is a major religious movement which has made a major impact in many parts of the world, not the least of which is the United States. The American Evangelical Church, otherwise know as Protestants and other non Roman Catholic churches have been impacted greatly by this movement over the last 10-15 years. In fact the impact has been so great that most have not known exactly how to respond to the Emerging refusal to go along with the traditional religious life of Evangelicals. They have increasingly put pressure on leadership to, not only listen to their complaints and suggestions, but to agree with their complaints and implement their suggestions. Otherwise, they will leave to start their own ministries. And they have. And Evangelicals are suffering because of it.
As I said, Evangelicals don't know how to respond to prevent or counteract their influence. One of the hallmarks of Emerging is Conversation. They will talk about anything, anywhere at anytime. Open and honest dialogue is encouraged among all. No question is considered taboo. Answers are provided in high quantity. If you disagree, that's OK! Simply verbalize your disagreement. You are accepted in spite of any disagreement you or anyone else may have. But conversing about that disagreement is guaranteed which means your participation in the conversation is also guaranteed. This is one area where Emerging frustrates Evangelicals. Emerging provides a forum as well as acceptance for the religiously downtrodden, marginalized and rejected. In other words, those not traditionally accepted by Evangelicals for various reasons, legitimate and not so legitimate.
But I found out today that their friendly dialogue has its limits. Yes, their are certain things they will not talk about.
I wonder if others have encountered this outer limit of Emerging Dialogue. If you have, tell me about it.
Would you care to hazard a guess as to what the subject matter could possibly be to so suddenly send Emerging types into a blatantly silent refusal to acknowledge reality?
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