conversation last night at the canadian youth worker’s conference…

youth worker: my church is so terrified of anything emerging or emergent.

me: really?

youth worker: yeah, my father-in-law is the chairman of the board, and my mother-in-law freaked out because i did a catacombs service with my youth group.

me: a catacombs service? like, an underground church thing?

youth worker: yeah.

me: i don’t get it. what’s ’emergent’ about that?

youth worker: that’s my point. it wasn’t emergent. but we used candles, because we were pretending to be an underground church. and my mother-in-law freaked that we used candles.

me: seriously? candles?

youth worker: yeah, she said using candles was emergent, and that i must have been reading brian mclaren.

12 thoughts on “emergent-phobia”

  1. Someone needs to tell these people that was so Six years ago. The emergent church doesn’t use candles anymore. Now they just have people lift up their cell phones to create a mood.

    The biggest problem I have with the established church is that they just struggle so much to stay a part of the conversation that is happening. The reality is that the conversation has already moved on and talking about McClaren and candles just shows how much culture has moved passed this church without them actually realizing it. That was so 6 years ago.

    I say go out and hire a 45 year old worship guy who leads standing up at a keyboard and give him a cd of a bunch of Deleirious songs to play. That’s contemporary right?

  2. yeah…
    if Christ were around today, he’d obviously say to put your candle under a bushel and never take it out. that’d teach those emergents.

  3. Sigh….

    Trying to be objective, I really am. What I don’t understand is where the objection comes from. What has the emerging movement done that is so bad? Wait, rephrase that, what has the emerging movement done that is bad at all?

    I understand that there is a legion of “ditto-heads” that are against emerging. I don’t worry too much about them because they wouldn’t have any personality at all if they weren’t against something all the time. But normal people, the ones who fill the pews week after week, how can they be stupid enough to listen to the nay-sayers and accept it without a second of critical thought….

    …. wait ….

    I just realized what I asked, and I guess I have to say “nevermind”.

  4. Can you believe it? The concern is that I can! Through out the history of the church when things change it produces fear. People said the same about St Paul, St Francis, Martin Luther,Wilberforce, John Wesley, Booth… actually about most of my heroes in the life of the church – then and now. Thank God (literally)that our faith and our faith expression is in response to the call of God not the fear of what God may be doing next. Here’s to the love of God (and from God) that castes out all fear!

  5. I deal with this all the time as I work with various churches around the country. It does raise a question for me about what responsibility should those in more emergent movements take for the reaction of more traditional. Could it be that some of the “ditto-heads” are reacting against the relatively thoughtless way many people and groups latch on to the latest, greatest fad in American churchdom, without thinking biblically and theologically about what they’re doing. In some ways it doesn’t matter if it’s Rick Warren or Doug Pagitt. Many people in the church seem so desparate for whatever is new and/or successful that we jump in without much thought.

    I’m not saying that the leaders of these movements are not thoughtfully/faithfully driven. Rather that the herds of sheep cause many to react against new movements.


  6. The candle thing was pretty silly to get freaked out about (apparently people 6 centuries ago were “emergent” and didn’t know it), but I agree with the last poster…what I think any of us need to be aware of is jumping on board any trend just because it’s the latest thing. I’ve heard emerging guys that are very theologically sound, but I’ve also heard some that are WAAAAAYYYY out there. Again, I’ve also seen the same thing in about every other movement. We can’t jump on board anything without seeing if the ship has holes in it, otherwise we’re doomed to sink.

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