IT'S STILL A CAGE
June 25, 2008
image: Rat Heaven 8577 (cc) PKMousie
It is as I expected. There's a movement that's arising out of the emergent church camp, and it's shiny and sparkly... and for sale.
I ran across a link to deepshift.org, which is a site that promotes the notion of emergence -- the idea that there's a growing number of believers who are sensing a change in the winds of Christianity. It's part of this philosophy that trends away from the traditional and institutional church, towards a no-boundaries, freedom-to-worship-and-express model of Christianity. Freedom - that's been the missing element in so much of today's church, and it's this freedom that's being offered in the idea of the emergent church movement.
The front page of the site lists some attitudes of believers who fall in the emergence camp:
- I've never felt like I fit in the traditional church.
- I love Jesus, but I'm not too excited about Christianity in its current form or the church in its dominant expression.
- When I read your books, I feel like shouting, "So I'm not the only person who feels this way! I'm not crazy after all - or if I am, I'm not the only one!"
- It feels like we've kind of missed the point of what Jesus was about.
- I'm not religious, and I'm not that sure what "spiritual" means - but I'm looking for something, some way of life or pattern that makes sense of things.
- I used to be a pastor (or youth pastor, or church leader, or active church attender) but something stopped working. I dropped out and thought I had lost my faith, but when I read your book, I thought, "Maybe I can believe again after all."
- The world's in deep trouble. Sincere people of faith need to find some way to make a constructive, creative difference.
... and all these things ring true for me and many of my peers. There certainly is a change, not just in expectations of what church should be, but also in how believers view the world around us. And that new perspective looks very little like how we see today's traditional churches. Everything is changing.
But on the site, there's mention of their tour. And there's a newsletter to which you can subscribe. And links to books you can buy. And opportunties to sponsor the organization. Sparkly. Shiny.
I can't help but be skeptical about this. It feels like there's a push to throw out the old masters, in order to replace them with... the same old masters, who are simply wearing different clothes. They perform the same job, they collect the same money. It looks like freedom. But it doesn't feel like freedom. It feels like a shiny new cage.