Christianity is evolving and author Tony Jones is leading the pack.
He’s the theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis and his new book The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier does a good job explaining what’s known as the Emergent Church Movement.
The craze hasn’t quite made it to Connecticut yet, but if it’s as cool as Jones says, it will be here in no time.
In his book he gives us the definition of this new phenomenon, “The specifically new forms of church life rising from the modern, American church of the twentieth century.”
So what’s so new and necessary about the Emergent Church?
Jones says it pretty clearly.
“In the twenty-first century, it’s not God who’s dead. It’s the church,” he writes. “Or at least conventional forms of church.”
The Emerging Church has tossed out all those things that are responsible for “killing” the church. You know, lectures, ancient hymnals – even stiff church pews.
Jones said Emergent Christians want to experience God for themselves, and they get that encounter by sitting in comfy chairs in a casual setting and having a conversation about Christ. But it’s not just talk. They believe in using all five of the human senses to really connect with God. Yes, burning candles, utilizing taste and touch, movement and images are all tools to enhance one’s faith.
Well that’s one way to engage folks at church.
Emergent Christians believe we live in a postmodern society and have adapted to such a society. They’ve adapted by defining nine practices:
– Identify with the life of Jesus,
– Transform the secular realm, and
– Live highly communal lives.
– Welcome the stranger,
– Serve with generosity,
– Participate as producers,
– Create as created beings,
– Lead as a body, and
– Take part in spiritual activities.
Jones takes it further by delivering 20 dispatches in his book (hence the title).
I won’t tell them to you all, you’ll have to buy the book for that, but here’s an example.
Dispatch No. 10: Emergents believe that theology is local, conversational, and temporary. To be faithful to the theological giants of the past, emergents endeavor to continue their theological dialogue.
Can’t argue with that.
Whether you agree with Jones or not, The New Christians is worth checking out. The movement is creating a lot of buzz, and if you read the text, you’ll understand why.
What do you think of this movement?
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