November 06, 2007
by: jovial_cynic
There's been a rift in the church community -- another point of contention that's causing the church to split in another direction. As though it's not disjointed and fragmented enough.

The split is along the seams of two opposing models: the institutional model and the emergent model. With the institutional model, you have set traditions and institutions which are meant to perpetuate concepts and reinforce doctrine; it's all very orderly and organized. With the emergent model, you have freedom from structure, less "us verses them" mentality, and a strong bridge across multiple cultural divides.

I tend to lean towards the emergent side, since I place very little personal value on traditions, and the notion of a religious "institution" makes me think of state-run churches, which in many countries are large, beautiful, and full of death.

I am concerned, however, that the concept of the "emergent church" is becoming a bit of a problem. I think that the people who are caught up in the movement are unwittingly recreating the problem that they have been trying to solve. That is, when you have man-made systems in place, the ultimate goal of those systems is to be self-sustaining. Nevermind the good those systems may do -- a system is primarly responsible for existing, and maintaining that existence. It's bureaucracy. It's the thing that humans do to organize their world.

The moment you have a process for handling religion, everything runs downhill. That process is the work of man - it's the Tower of Babel. We already have people saying "I'm a part of the emergent church." Do you see it? The emergent church movement is still in its infancy... but that pride has already set in. Christians should be saying, "I'm a part of Christ's church."

Run "emergent church" through technorati, and you'll see a thousand blogs talking about it -- people are identifying with a movement, but I don't think real Christianity makes any sense as a movement. Real Christianity is people who love God, who take care of other people, and who love one another. Once it becomes a movement, it's doomed to fail, and the ugliness of sinful pride makes itself manifest.


Kristen said:
Your last paragraph hit the nail on the head.
November 08, 2007

jovial_cynic said:
Thanks. So many Christians get wrapped up in their programs that they miss the simplest part of the message. I've been there too, so I understand how easy it is to get sucked into that.

From the outside looking in, it's no wonder that the nonbelieving world finds the church so irrelevant.

November 09, 2007

Rebekah said:
Beautifully written. I also agree especially with the last paragraph.
January 28, 2008

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