are we the same?

i have been thinking lately about what makes "us" different than "them." i mean, all i keep hearing are voices saying, "we need to be nice and not question them" or "we need to remember that we too come from the evangelical church." yet, i wonder.... i don't.

i was not rasied in the evangelical church; i did not find christ in an evangelical church; i am not evangelical and i do not see my faith as "coming from them." so i wonder, are those people asking me [or the "us" - the collective mouse in my pocket :) ] to "be nice" and "build bridges" are evangelicals thinking they can stop the voices, or are they truly emerging voices asking for calm? because, if they are emerging voices asking that we accept the evangelcial theology, than i wonder. if we truly are to develop a voice, a theology, a "movement" we need not be driven by those who want to settle and give in. if we feel it important to question, we must have the ability to question - and even piss some people off.

i might not agree with some of the things my emerging brothers and sisters are doing, saying, writing, thinking or expressing - but they are willing to jump into the water and question, and that is cool - and a move i support.

i do not fit the evangelcial mold, and that is cool - i am who God made. i am post-evangelcial, post-traditional, post-orthodox, post-right, post-left, post-conservative, post-liberial, post-denominational, post-structure, post-follow, post-industrial, post-mechanical, post-solid, post-logical, post-demanding, post-leadership, post-religion - i am a servant, fluid, organic, emerging, expressive, theological, spiritual, open, accepting, searching, finding, knowing, forgetting, questioning, wanting, loving - but most of all i am a child of God seeking to love God so that God can love me. i seek to journey where the path is filled with holes, weeds, rocks, dips and turns. and i desire others to walk with me. but it is hard to be on that journey with people who do not see the path, or even worse they do not see who they journey with.

if we are to be emerging, we are not to fall back into the trap of being evangelical - it might be easier, and it might even be "home" to some - but if that is the case, then we are no different than those we question from the start. it is impossible to place new wine in old skins, it will never work. if, anyone tells you it is possible, i would question the age of the wine. i am not evangelical, and it has take a number of years for me to be willing to stand and say that. as of late i have heard voices wanting to "slow down" and "get to know our evangelical" family - funny, i am "the red headed stepchild" and just never feel welcome in the evangelical home.


papa g said...

john -- love your words. when you really think about it your post-* string is really the same thing paul said in 2 cor. 5:17 -- old thing pass and new things become. i was in the evangelical church for 30+ years as a pastor and really never fit ... I asked to many weird and unsettling questions. tags are badges ... and really -- do we need anymore stinky badges -- i too find myself feeling like a many without a country, just makes me more secure in knowing that i am just a sojourner here ... seems like the modern church wants to settle on setting up its kingdom here. emphasis on "its" kingdom and not "his". dont feel alone in your step child mode ... the Father always seems to throw in the occasional "gink" to keep the folks with all the right things to say ... scratching their noggins. you belong. -- papa g

Rich said...

I could be misunderstanding, but this post and others seems to lead us to a breaking of Christ's Body. Maybe the theology you wish to develope will change the idea of who we think his Body is.

I just hate it when I see either side of this take an 'us' and 'them' approach. That was what lead me away from my roots and continues to keep searching for another way.

I agree with so much that you say, but in other respects you simply come off as the anithesis of a Jerry Falwell.

Tell me this. How do you feel about these folks as your brothers and sisters in Christ and how will you move forward with them in his Kingdom? I guess that is where I am with all of this. I will never be able to do things the same way they do them or think about things the way they think. But at the same time I know they are a part of the Kingdom as well. Maybe that is not for us to put much time and effort to yet, but I am afraid that you and others like you may never want to do that. If I am wrong, please set me straight. I would be happy to hear it as I respect you greatly.

john o'keefe said...


the post delt with a particular situation. while i think we would love to have it as "all being one" there is actually a "us" and "them" and "others" - this is not a "bad" thing, it is just a thing. i have no problem seeing others as part of the kingdom,what i am calling for is for us to stand for the theology we develop and stop trying to please others.

i have no prrblem seeing them as a "brother or sister" - but the question becomes, do they see me as one? if not, doe it matter what i think? it seems the conversation stops and it becomes a monolog on my end, or "our" end.

we are in the process of developing some theologies that seem to fit well in the emerging church, heart and mind. if in that process we simply allow those who complain about us stop the process than we have done nothing.

we live in a changing world where those outside the church still see us as "the church" and that is not a positive thing. if we are different, let us be different - if not, cool - but i know i am different and i am good with that. the idea is to allow that difference to be truly expressed so others can see it - because if they do not see it, they will not believe it.