the superman effect

tina and i went and saw the new superman movie the other day, and i have to say i was not impressed. everyone i spoke to about the movie said it was going to be great. the critics loved it, the hype was over the top and people were flocking to see this great new story of the man of steal - but it turned out to be a disappointing rehash of the first superman with christopher reeves. heck, even much of the dialog was the same. i was not impressed, it was the old superman disguised as a new superman - but i was not fooled. it had nothing to do with the actors or the director, but it had everything to do with the story line.

this got me to thinking - how many "emerging/evolving" churches are simply a rehash of the old modern church? many emerging/evolving communities of faith say they are "different" but they are simply the same; sure some minor changes - but the dialog is much the same - ok, there are newer actors, some set changes but that is about it. i remember looking at tina when superman and louis went out for a "fly" and i said, "if i hear the 'who are you' poem we walk out of the movie." i have felt that way in many emerging/evolving communities of faith i have been in also. as i sit, i wait for them to do what every other contemporary, modern, evangelical church would do - and i am seldom disappointed.

i am not sure i would be willing to trust the next superman movie. i wanted so much more, i was expecting something very different and when i experienced a flash back to the first movie, my trust level dropped about 100 points. just think of al the people who are hearing, "our church is different" and when they come in, it is no different then any other church - think of it as "the superman effect."

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Craig said...

But... thier really only is one story to work with... I know that you're talking about the community's story and traditions, but I was thinking of the bible. Their is only so much their, and we repackage it in different ways and different churches take different readings of different parts... but we really only have the one script.

DaNutz said...

I agree with your observation. I think the Evangelical church will continue to be a rehash of the same old story line until we can have the balls to publicly rethink the theology behind it. Without deep changes in theology you can't make the needed changes in worship, social structures, and political values. It will take a large scale embrace of new ideas and new questions. The emerging conversation can't devolve into surface level cultural changes. We have to embrace the best of liberal theology and evangelical zeal while still opening the conversation with those outside our traditions including examining the good done by religions. If we trust Jesus' message then we have to have the faith that it will stand the test of questions. Trading in our pipe organ for an electric guitar won't change anything in the long run.

friend said...

I think your post touches on good points. But, I think we are evolving (as your site posits), but evolution is sometimes slower than we want.

I can remember when I was barely 11 in 1981 in the southern Baptist church and they brought in drums and the saxophone and I thought we are so cutting edge (back then I called it cool)- and then I would visit other Baptist churches still stuck in hymns and the old stuff - and I would feel sad that they weren't seeing the freedom they had in Christ (although I didn't call it that then, I called it: "the fun we were having.").

I think the freedom and coolness we have in spirit-lead emerging Christianity, free of useless rules and ugly western structure, is coming, and coming forcefully - cause people will not be stopped by the move of God. And God is moving us to a more mature, beautiful and freedom loving (spiritually speaking) reality.

I love the awkward moments where the classic church attempts to put on post-modern clothes, while they still dress with their ugly white shoes leftover from modernism. It is funny to me, but He will overcome. And we must not look back, other than to the cross.