style or substance?

which is it? i am not sure, and to be honest i would say both. many outside the emerging church are on this "it's all style" kick - and you know, cool. because at some level it is style. style us not the governing part, but yea i think it does matter what an emerging community of faith "looks like" - because if it looks like the same old church of our parents, our grand parents, our great-grand-parents, our great-great-grand-parents, our great-great-grand-parents and as many more "greats" as you desire to add it is not emerging [sorry].

now, before you get your panties in a twist you need to know that if the church has not changed, it can never claim to be emerging - because the word itself means change. so, yes, style matters. but more, substance matters.

claiming to be emerging because you have a cool building, some candles, a young worship leader and some hip cloths is not enough - there must be something that has truly changed - truly opened the world to a new expression of christ. one that is truly deep, inward and expressive. there needs to be more questions then answers, more doubt then certanity, and more substance then style. if the church is unwilling to examine the deep mysteries of the faith, then it can never be called emerging - if it is unwilling to truly explore, it seems to me to simply hide


Call Me Ishmael said...

Okay--now can I get my panties in a twist?

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

Absolutely excellent. Very thoroughly well said.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Jeffrey said...

"claiming to be emerging because you have a cool building, some candles, a young worship leader and some hip cloths is not enough"

so true. here in the south there seem to be many "megachurches" that want to capitalize on the EC for the growth of their own kingdoms (little k). They reproduce the style of what they see in emerging communites of faith and label it accordingly. at its heart, nothing has changed. it is the same old church of "our great-great-great grandfathers"....with a new facade.

No, i'm not slamming megachurches (or any other church for that matter), but I just wish they would be who they are and be comfortable in that. hey here's a novel idea--if you're gonna start a whole new church within a church (which is essentially what these alternative worship services in the megachurches are), why not actually initiate a real live new community of faith???