what some think

i often wonder why some in the evangelical realm see the emerging/evolving conversation as something evil, something bad, something out to change the reality of Christ; something that needs to be "put down" and controlled? i often wonder why they desire to "lump" everyone in the emerging/evolving conversation into one camp? i often wonder what makes them think we are so evil in mind, heart and deeds? why do they see us as a threat to the church? i spent the past three weeks looking over some pretty hate filled sites by people speaking against the "emerging/evolving conversation." i have to say i came away feeling sorry for those who are so filled with hate and anger. needless to say, there is very little love on those sites, not just for the emerging/evolving but also for many others who walk a faith a little off from what they see as "the right faith." [what i find so interesting is that many have removed the comment feature from the blogs, and now only take emails - and they only publish the emails that agree with them] here is what i think some in the evangelical community see as "downfalls" in the emerging/evolving conversation. let me see if i can address them and hopefully others will add to them.

some believe we have no place for "formal" convention:
this could be true, but as with many things in life, i am not sure what this means. i am not sure what is meant by a "formal" conversation; i am also not too sure if there needs to be a place where that can happen. for me, and i think for many, informal conversations are what makes the emerging/evolving conversation worth having. the idea that it must be "formal" means, in my mind, that we invite certain people to share with us what they think we must all do. in the informal conversations, happening all over the place, in small churches, in large churches, in coffee shops, in living rooms, in park gatherings, in message boards, chat rooms, in places "real" and "cyber" the conversation is taking on many different tones. all exciting, and all designed to develop a deeper walk with christ.

now, is it a conversation where a more "formal" tone is sought? in most cases, no. the idea of a "this is how you must think" mind set is not quite what we see as "conversation." we are not seeking a monolog, but we do desire dialog and conversation. you want to talk? cool, we will talk - but we do not like being insulted and made to feel like some little kid heading to daddy's office for a "strapping."

some say we are indifferent to biblical truth; we might be spiritual but not "confessional;"
i am so glad i do not carry all the church baggage many seem to carry. this idea of being a not being "confessional" seems silly to me, because when i think in terms of "confessional" and "confessional christianity" i think in terms of a little box people sit in and talk with a preist. for me, i walk with christ and i am cool in knowing he is with me all the time.

yet, do they mean "confessional christianity" in the form of being baptistic in theology? you see, many christians do not have a "confessional faith" as defined in baptist theology; does that make them wrong? can one be a "creedal christian" and still be seen as a christian in the eyes of those who demand a "confessional theology?" what is the difference between reciting a list of doctrines, or a creed? do they both not do the same thing?

yet, if in this idea some have of a "confessional chrisitanity" is the idea that one "confesses" to be a follower of Jesus the Christ, i think most in the emerging/evolving conversation would have no problem in saying they are followers of jesus; i think for many of us it is a given, a reality we all work under and express daily in our lives and walks of faith. but that does not mean i need to buy the t-shirt, and wear the "wwjd" jewelry that is floating around.

some say we have a strong distaste for definitions, sound doctrine;
that depends, define "distaste." [kidding]. we do not have a strong distaste for definitions [i will speak about doctrine in a few]. what we have is a strong desire to have the terms defined. the reality we live under is we are always asking for definitions, because we desire to know what people are talking about - and the best way to know is to know what the words mean. when they claim we have a "distaste" that is not real, we have a strong desire for definitions.

doctrines, well we do not "have a strong distaste" for them either. what we have is a desire to seek reality in doctrine, if the doctrine is on solid biblical grounds, and is not a "man made" doctrine, it will never fall to the ground and we have no problem with that form of doctrine. but over the years doctrines have been created to "fill in the gaps" of systematic theology that are more in line with a human view of things and not a scriptural view of things. you see, for us we are alright with the idea that we do not know it all - and that questions are a good thing. we have a desire to know real doctrine, and not "true" because it has been around for a few years, but because it is solid in scripture.

some believe we are in a constant state of rebellion and finding things to disagree with:
this one is that hardest one to comment on, because it is a "no right answer." it is like the man who asked his friend, "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" no matter the reply, it is the wrong one. if i disagree with it, well i am just being a "rebellious emerging/evolving person without care for what others have to say." but the reality is, it all that depends on how one views the world. it seems that when ever we disagree with some in the evangelical community we are tagged "rebellious." why? can we disagree without being labeled rebellious? we are not in a constant state of being rebellious, because no one can be in a constant state of anything; with the expectance of being in a constant state of grace in christ. disagreeing does not mean we are "rebellious" it just means we disagree. for me, this is a disingenuous argument on the part of some in the evangelical community.

some say we desire to only look for the negative and not the good:
wow, is this one so far off. i, personally, have written many times on seeing the positive light that is in christ; personally i have written many times on the idea that we find the good in things and we reject the negative. this one has always amazed me, because it is so not even close to where i am at, and where those i speak with on a regular basis are at. this idea that we see only negative is not in our hearts [does me disagreeing with that make me negative or rebellious?]

some say we are not genuine in our repenting, or saying "sorry" when we offend those we differ with, but expect it from others:
well, this could be right but i tend to think it is more of how a person was raised and less to do with them being an emerging/evolving person. while i strive not to insult others, if what i say does cause a insult i am very quick to say i am sorry, and mean it. keep in mind, this coin can flip both ways. i have been attacked, insulted and called names and never once received an apology; in that, i do not say "all evangelicals are not genuine" - at best, i know the person who did it is not a person i speak with again.

some say we tend to think we "play games with words:"
like being "certain about their uncertainty" or claiming, "there are no absolutes." for me, i am very uncertain of my uncertainty, that's what makes this faith walk in christ so exciting; i could be wrong. i firmly believe i am not, but there is that chance, ever so slight, i could be. i do not play games with words, you ask me a question and i will answer it. in that, i may ask you to address some definitions, and i may not answer the question to your liking - but it will be answered. if you see my answer as a "wrong answer" that's fine, but it is still an answer. i know of no one in the emerging/evolving conversation that says, "there are no such things as absolutes." by saying that, i believe some in the evangelical community are being disingenuous to the people listening to what they have to share.

over the years i have meet many people, old and young, who have come at me with a "anti-emerging/evolving" stance because of what soem in the evangelical community wrote about the emerging/evolving conversation. usually, within the first 15 minutes hearts are changed and people see us as nothing to fear, in fact many see us as something to embrace. it is funny that we are the ones being tagged "negative" and "argumentative" when in reality we are not even close to that. we are not to be feared, but we are not to be ignored either.

1 comment:

Makeesha said...

Fantastic! Thank you for writing this. I commented on the "confessional faith" part over at my blog but the whole thing is very well put.