This latest Emergent Church Tour is interesting but I am skeptical. No I am hesitant and a bit puzzled by what exactly this all needs to be said. not sure who is being addressed by such a tour. Certainly not me, though I am probably going to the Chicago stop, because I just need to see one of these Emergent events up close and personal.
The tour website says this about itself:
"The task today does not lie in some naive attempt to return to the early church.
The church before Constantine.
The church before Platonic philosophy.
The church before Paul.
The church before...
For these moves fail to bring us back far enough.
Rather we must call a new army of agitators into being. Dissidents courageous enough to return to the event that gave birth to the early church. A new breed of individuals brave enough to turn back so as to advance."
A part of me really resonates with this except for the suspicion this is the simple sign of a Protestantism that has exhausted itself pretending it still has energy to continue on as a separate thing without consuming itself.
Does this really get beyond the logic of return to that pure origin? Must we not renounce the idea of going back far enough. And in the end insurrection against what or whom?
Is the Resurrection a thing, and event, or is it in itself that turn, that hinge of history, that place that transfigures all places and times, and in that transfiguration will in the end consume all that is not of the Resurrection?
I feel that this leads to preposterous theological gymnastics, to achieve what Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism have without such agonizing rhetoric attempting to be hip and faithful at the same time.
I say all this as one who respects many in the Emergent Church movement, who at times suspects that he really is Emergent when it gets down to it, and who is also trying to find a way for Protestant faith to be truly orthodox. That might just be a preposterous idea.