Something to learn from Emergent Leaders
I'm still working on my study of emerging churches. Unfortunately, I am still way behind on reporting my impressions. Nonetheless, in my Great Cloud of Denial, I still maintain my delusion that I will have a powerpoint presentation available by mid-September to share what I've seen, read and learned.
Also, I'm trying to finish writing an article on intergenerational worship, requested by one of the worship periodicals. Fortunately, the hot humid and windless weather prevents me from resenting the fact that I've had absolutely no time for sailing this summer. But I'm running out of time. My sabbatical will soon be over. So I've got to pick up the pace!
Not to mention the fact that last August, the sailing weather was unseasonably wonderful. Heaven forbid I miss any good sailing days in the next few weeks because I'm writing!!!!
In the meantime, with far more resources than I have available (wouldn't it be cool to have a team of writers and producers available to me?), PBS's "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" has put together an interesting report on Emergent. Although it hasn't gone into the philosophical and practical aspects that I find most interesting, the report is a good, brief introduction, mostly to the Evangelical side of this and some of the key players. Unfortunately, it's easy to miss the significant Mainstream side of all this. So pay special attention in Part One to the comments of Diana Butler-Bass, an Episcopal scholar at Virgina Seminary. Her book, The Practicing Congregation, is terrific, and well worth your time.
Links to the PBS Report and interviews:
Interview: Diane Butler-Bass
Interview: Don Carson
Interview: Scot McKnight
Interview: Doug Pagitt
As you view the report or read the transcript, you'll hear some of the controversey and criticisms of the movement. This controversey and criticism has not been ignored. A well-written response by Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones, Chris Seay can be found here.
One of the things I like best about these people is their humility. For example, in their responses they things like this: "we regretfully acknowledge that in our thought, writing, and speech, we have at times been less charitable or wise than we wish we would have been. Whenever possible we will seek to correct past errors in future editions of our books; when that is impossible, we will make other forms of public correction."
That's a far cry from the infuriating statements we often hear from so many other political or other religious leaders after some outcry. Rather than admitting any culpability at all, we so often hear something that sounds like blaming. So often, these other political or religious leaders say something like, "we regret that you found our statements or actions offensive." That is not an apology for having been offensive, but rather, an accusation. Rather than admitting error of any sort, such a response blames the offended for having taken offense.
If nothing else, I hope our world can move more toward the reconciling stance of humility modelled by these Emergent leaders.
The Lord be with you.