Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Emergent and Orthodoxy (Revisited0

A while back I commented on a conversation taking place over at Blogadoxy on the Emergent Church Movement and its borrowing liturgies from other Christian traditions specificaly Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
Recently someone commented on my comments bellow you will find the comments and my responce: (I would say who it was but the person posted anonymously.)

Some preliminary remarks: I could be misconstrued as attempting to defend the whole Emergent Church movement, which would be incorect. Essentially I only have contact and interest in a very small aspect of the movement the Emergent folk I know at Up\Rooted here in Chicago. What I say I say about them and how I understand thier approach, and what I hope for them. In some ways I suppose I could be considered emergent and in other ways I don't feel I or Reconciler really fit that bill.

Emergent/Emerging Churchers are addressing the problem of "What's Wrong with Evangelical Theology."

The problem with their grab-bag approach (aka "borrowing") is that they for the most part remain evangelical Protestant (Baptist, Reformed, etc.) while seeking rites and accoutrements from other confessions that will enhance their evangelical Protestant experience but not challenge or change it.For all of their borrowing, most will choose to stand outside of the Church and demand acceptance by the Church on their own terms instead of submitting themselves in humility. It is the Protestant way.

To a point I agree with this. In that the Emergent movement does seem to be a responce to a percieved failure and when it comes down to it that failure is seen to be theological. It is also true that the "borrowing" is seen to enhance their evangelical Protestantism. However, among those I meet they see the church as the church, whatever denomination you belong to (and yes from their perspective Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are simply denominations, older denominations, but denominations all the same). What I hear from the Emergent folk here in Chicago is that what is wrong with evengelical Protestant theology is how it is isolated and isolated from the larger body of Christ and the history and traditions of the church. There seems to be a real desire to end this isolation and to be the body of Christ. In that sense there are echoes of earlier protestant movements in this country, though now the emergent actually see those outside of Protestantism as part of the church. So I think there is an openness to change and challenge that may not have been there in previous analogous movements within evangelical Protestantism.

The ethos of their "borrowing" follows the same way. They'll take something from the Orthodox Church and then prefix it with "nu" or "new" and try to make it their own. The new/nu prefix translates: "stripped of anything that I don't like or will force me to give up my own subjective authority."

I don't see this attitude among the Up/rooted folk, in fact there is a very real admision that much of what they are doing and attempting isn't particularly new just new to them and their communities. I also, see an interest in coming to a clear sense of what is the church. Granted they don't have an Orthodox ecclessiology, but then if they did they'd be Orthodox and not Emergent evanglical Protestants. My point has been that from their side (and even my own perspective) they are not outside the church Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy (not only are Christians) but are also part of the church. This is fairly radical and I think positive move, and in that sense this borrowing is moving the Ergent I know much closer to other Christians especially the Roman Catholics and Orthodox than could have been imagined even 15 20 years ago when anti-Roman Catholic rhetoric was not uncommon in these circles (perhaps still isn't I don't know I am less familiar than I once was with the evangelical Protestants).

Well I will let that stand for now. I will continue on this and the rest of what was posted in responce in another post.