Friday, June 26, 2009

Evangelicals and the Great Tradition: Part 3

More on “Ancient Wisdom, Anglican Futures,” the 3-day conference I attended June 4-6. Jason Clark (UK Vineyard pastor, and emergent church blogger), addressed the strengths of the emergent movement and also discussed areas of concern that suggest a need to reconnect with the broader range of Christian history and practice.
A (very) partial list, reconstructed from my notes:
Institutional naivete—the notion that institutions are the enemy of good practice—paradoxically, without institutions there is no good practice. So the issue is not whether you are an institution, but what kind of institution you are. Saying you are a “religionless" church means nothing.
Romanticizing the early Church—the notion that fellowship in the early Church was like a couple of friends hanging out in Starbucks. There’s a lack of understanding of the place of fallenness in the EC ecclesiology.
Illusions of revolution—consumerism loves revolution. We think buying a music ticket is ending poverty. Real revolution has to do with the mundane ordinariness of life. The most revolutionary thing we can do as the Church is staying with each other over time and being reconciled.
Naivete about certain metaphors—e.g., “organic” as opposed to “mechanistic”; “We need to do church like starfish.” We need to filter these metaphors.
DIY (“do it yourself”) ecclesiology—a tendency towards novelty and pastiche. We may not know where a practice came from, but we like it and we’re just trying it out. Are we producing ecclesiologies that have more logic than the logic of the marketplace?
Worship aesthetics—tend towards “therapeutic God spaces” when they should have a “cruciform identity.”
Jason has now begun blogging the conference: check it out.
UP NEXT: David Neff, “Robert Webber’s Ancient-Future Faith.”
(Patricia Hanlon, Gordon College Communications)

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