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Spencer Burke
Newport Beach, CA
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Andrew, God point on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd... Sad to say but some times the 1st was the "White" church and the 2nd was the "Others"... It could be the racial or social designation as much as other ways of defining the church in a systematic way. But normally it severed the function of establishment (where the church was planted would have all of these distinctions - "other side of the tracks"...)
Scott, Great insights. In June I posted a little different perspective called "The Illusion of the 'Emerging Church'", you can read it here - http://www.theooze.com/articles/article.cfm?id=2407 - let me know what you think...
Andrew, I think we have had this conversation before. It is helpful to engage each other and ask why have some used new ways of identifying their communities/Churches (usually to reach out in the way of Jesus). The last "normal" transition the church identified herself with, was "categorization" (that fit well in the context of the modern mechanized world). Example: "1st Baptist Church of Houston". 1st = The establishment of the church. Baptist = The theology of the church. Houston = The location of the church. Now the identifier has shifted to the "Story" or "Mission" of the Church (that fits well in the context of the postmodern world). Example: "rockHARBOR" http://rockHARBOR.org rock = Contrasting building on rock or sand. HARBOR = A safe place for all to follow Jesus. In the future our children will have their own way of identifying their Church and I/WE will need to let go of what is familiar/comfortable to us - for the cause of Christ... Spencer
Andrew, I don't think it has retreated. But I do think the conversation has had its desired outcome as a catalyst. To think about the Church beyond the walls, religion or human control - back to the people, tribe, work of the Spirit. Here is a little piece I posted on Facebook and TheOOZE.com. Does this resonate with you? "One of the difficulties I think we will encounter in this conversation is - we have lived with the illusion of the "Emerging Church". Just like those who are defending the "Modern Church" today against the coming heresy... I do not think there is a modern church, emerging church or whatever comes after that. What we are trying to "Brand" or label is a transitory state the Church goes through all the time. It has just been fashionable (and maybe profitable for publishers and critics alike) to name it. In reality I think we will look back at this period in time and see it is the IMPACT of the "Emerging/Postmodern" time/technology/theology/etc. that has had a great effect on the Church. Just like there were "Emerging Businesses" that came out of the transitions of the '80"s, it would be hard to imagine working without a computer or the internet. It has become business as usual. Rather than looking for what we disagree on - perhaps we can find ways to hear each other, learn from each other, challenge each other, and join each other in the way of Jesus. I know I have had my fair share of heretical moments and I live by the motto "If I am not a little embarrassed about what I said yesterday, then I probably didn't learn anything today". But it is also important to hear the words of Arthur Schopenhauer who said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident” . Someday those who are defending the church today will realize that it was the loss of modernity that they were grieving. And those who are so eager to be the torch bearers for the emerging church will be left with a new institution to feed. But for some, the Church will always be the Church and she will continue to surprise us..." http://www.facebook.com/spencerburke#!/notes/spencer-burke/the-illusion-of-the-emerging-church/403011177086
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2010 on Emerging Church Retreat? at TallSkinnyKiwi
Andrew, Great conversation here, I am always amazed at how many different perspectives there are, and how valuable it is to listen and learn for all (especially the ones that are most unlike my own...) Here is something I wrote a month ago and posted on my Facebook notes. It might help us move forward as we look at a new year, decade, day... __________________________________________ A friend of mine asked me to write up an interactive experience for a church leaders meeting, designed to explore the topic of "Emerging Church". Here is one idea - let me know what you think. We forget how long 3 years is... THREE YEARS AGO 1. There were no iPhones. 2. Just One-Third of U.S. Adults Would Vote for Barack Obama if He Was the Democratic Nominee for President. 3. The Dow Jones was at an all time high above 14,000. So how has the emerging church conversation changed? TODAY 1. Systematic Theology is taking a back seat to APP's (applications of kingdom living). 2. Dobson retires with hardly a mention and the old rants of "them vs us" are no longer valued (see young leaders like Shane Claiborne and Andrew Marin - TheOOZE.TV). 3. The illusion of christian comfort is bankrupt and the innovation of the gospel to love our neighbor has inspired a whole new generation. To look back at the last 10, 3, 1 year(s) of the emerging church would miss the point. It is the awakened masses, the unorganized ethos, the realization that if the Church is to survive we no longer ask for permission, we embrace heresy (unorthodox ways) as the path forward, and do what needs to be done - no matter the cost (vocation, structure or dogma). If you are looking for an exercise for a group and individuals - I would simply ask 3 questions. PERSONAL REFLECTION 1. What was the dream that energized you to serve in ministry (not a profession)? 2. What diverted your hope of living out the gospel in that dream? 3. Where do you see that spark alive in your church today - no matter how unlikely it may seem? (Think of the larger expression of Church than the 4 walls...). Then have groups of no more than 3, for no less than 5 minutes each person (15 mins total) share what happened when they reflected on their past and looked into our future...
Andrew, It is great to see your perspective both from where you find your home on the globe (I am amazed at the range you and your family have on the road), and the years of commentary on the subject of the Church in an emerging postmodern culture. One of the reasons history is so bendable around the beginnings of times like these, is because there were no books, agreed upon terminology or approved organization to catalog these ideas/actions. Your blog(s) and TheOOZE.com will become more and more valuable as the years roll on. But... to be honest, I think we have lost something now that we are beginning to talk, debate or even reflect back on what has transpired. History (now that we have a decade or more behind us) can inform us, but I hope we spend a majority of our time creating, learning and discovering what it is to be the Church in the Way of Jesus now... I know I have enjoyed all of the wonderful times together and I look forward to the days ahead. I love to think about it as all of us moving forward together rather than talking in "them and us" terms. Labels have the potential to distract us - finding what unites us has the opportunity to guide us into what ever is next... Spencer
Toggle Commented Nov 8, 2009 on Deep Church shifts over to USA at TallSkinnyKiwi