Monday, April 26, 2004

Again the Christian Ghetto - Anger and "YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME"

Reading Spencer Burke in his chapter in the Stories of Emergence: Moving From Absolute To Authentic, he defines Christian Ghetto. He says it's "where real people with real problems are kept at arms length". That is a little different than how I defined it earlier, but I'm not arguing against his, I'm even affirming his idea. The Presley song about the Ghetto talks about an "angry young man". Burke echoes the same anger and disdain I have seen in the underprivileged. While he may have, humanly speaking, things to be angry about, I see expectations as part of the issue. But the other issue is simply the phrase that children use when a sibling, perhaps a year or two older, becomes pushy. They shout in a very emphatic tone, "YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME". That seems to be a lot of what I'm reading in the emerging church literature. While they are seeking to be authentic, they are authentically independent. A part of genuine Christian community is mutual submission. It sounds like to me that the emerging church has forgotten our not so distant past. The place where I saw the most inauthentic communications was in the mainline church I was a part of where pastors hid their true theological positions in fear of loosing their jobs. In the evangelical church we must work to let people question and explore and at the same time maintain adherence to true doctrine. It is possible to do both, you will need the Holy Spirit's guidance, trust that he will do a work in the hearts of young ministerial students and not be lazy in the task of leadership development. I also was surfing Open Source Theology site. There they have a poll which asks why people are drawn to the emerging church, 39% are looking "theological integrity and creativity". Where the evangelical church as a whole has failed, we should repent and again find the grace of God. We must be careful about movements that are bolstered by anger and which fail to understand that freedom does not means we are free to NOT love our brothers. I get the feeling that the emerging church will just be a retelling of the story "Animal Farm". Absolute truth is not at odds with authentic life styles. Authentic life styles are not at odds with absolute truth. It seems that it is more about style and power rather than a heart that is seeking God authentically and a community that is a true covenant community.
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