3.22.2007

The Verdict on Mr. Emergent

I've been ambivalent about emergent movement, ever since I first heard about the whole thing. I just couldn't figure it out (which is such a dorky, out-of-touch mainline thing to say, but it's the truth). A couple years ago Ben and I visited a church in L.A. that's a big deal in the world of emergent, and we didn't much care for it. I'm totally eeked out by mono-generational congregations. Nearly every single person there was in the 18-24 demographic, which showed off two things: the seams of their marketing plan, and how old Ben is. I couldn't distinguish anything extraordinary about the message; it was modern evangelicalism all dressed up in postmodern aesthetics. On the other hand, I have had some more positive experiences under the emerging umbrella, and I've overheard all kinds of exciting things about postmodern worship and evangelism.

I hadn't decided on Mr. Emergent himself, Brian McClaren, until last night. I have a borrowed copy of A Generous Orthodoxy (which I have to say is a gorgeous phrase and an even more lovely idea). In the section where McClaren is introducing all the traditions that have informed his understanding of who Jesus is, he celebrates the Roman Catholic understanding of the Eucharist. He doesn't sign on to transubstatiation, but he does marvel at the idea that Jesus continually encounters his followers at the table. And then he says this, which just shot straight from the page to my Communion-lovin' heart: "The Eucharist is a constant celebration of good news, a continual rendezvous with the risen Christ, and through him, with God. That such a rendezvous is possible is amazingly good news for everyone in the church."

Amen to that.

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