« Love Note to Hollywood | Main | Celibacy »

August 03, 2004


Steve K.

Bill, Thanks for responding so thoughtfully to the post on "Raw Faith."


Great, thoughtful analysis.


To suffer through church the way it's always been means that no one is using their creativity as a means of worship. And that makes me feel sad.

Karen H.

Hi Bill,
As you state, my post on Raw Faith was not so much a critique of the Emerging Church as a whole, but was an expression of my experience and my perception of what went on in one small corner - well intentioned though it was.

I don't take your post as a personal attack, but it seems that we do have areas where we agree.

I don't know how familiar you are with my blog. It would be difficult to analyze my recent rant without also understanding where it fits into my journey as a whole. Thanks for engaging me in discussion.


I read raw faith and then came immediately to yours. :o) Interesting timing. I attend an "emergent" church. My husband and I had been "detoxing" from church, only we didn't know that was what God was doing with us, we just though we couldn't find a church that fit.

The first week there we knew we wanted to return--but it did make me nervous, I mean where were the structured ministries? Where was the programed youth group? Our previous church, that we left 4 years ago was a "willow church" It had some good stuff going, but we were about to suffocate in the performance oriented, perfectionist, do it this way attitude.

I heard a friend's church helped finance the beginning of our new church. I called her to get the scoop. Now she's in one of those programed churches and her explanation made me want to run the other way. In her mind it was a church plant targeted to the 20 something crowd, yada, yada, yada. The emergent hype packaged by a seeker-sensitive thinker. I panicked! The last think I wanted was to get hooked up with another church that had a pre-determined agenda to reach a "target" group. I just wanted a place where people wanted Jesus and wanted community!!

We've been at this new church since January. Yes, we have the candles and other centers and our pastor does seek to explore some of the traditions of our more liturgical friends, but we haven't found a "system" or a new box with just a new set of rules. We've found authentic people who are seeking to stretch, to offer grace, to know God, and build community. It feels good.

In a way I agree with raw faith in that I get nervous when I hear all the emergent mumbojumbo. I want a church where others seek to be led by the Spirit and not a new system. But, whatever publishing houses are making money on emergent books and whatever seminars are teaching a system, the people I've found who are really passionate about this stuff are genuine, tired of rules and hungry for grace. Tired of programs and hungry for commnity. The heart of this movement is a cry for authenticity. Sometimes the packaging scares me though. Leave it to the good ole USA christian community to box it up in tapes, seminars, and books, and wrap it in buzz words.

Oh, and BTW, my husband isn't the only one at our church with the grey hair . . .


Thanks for the read and the further insight. The comment by Paula above is really helpful for me. Some people are obviously missing what this whole thing is about. Her friend didn't get it and scared her with her explanation. The church up the hill from me is a Willow clone and I heard a rumor that they were going to have an "emergent" service. It's almost like some churches are becoming the Baskin Robbins of Christianity. I hesitate, but only for a millisecond, to assume that they're missing the point!

Anyway, hope to meet you again in the blogosphere!


I particularly appreciate this sentence in your comment:

"The heart of this movement is a cry for authenticity."

When I think about that I do wonder about all of the "packaging" that's going on. Then again, I want other Christians to know about this movement and they're not just going to hear about it through the blogosphere. Then I thinkabout the people who are publishing books and teaching those seminars and some of them could probably use the money, so I don't exactly want to demand that they start giving everything away for free, you know what I mean?

Nonetheless, I hope that representatives in this thing called EC will be particularly careful about such issues. And may there be many more churches like yours!


I really appreciate your post. I've been trying to sort through my thoughts on Raw Faith's rant. You helped tremendously!


very thoughtful responses, bill. i posted about karen's "rant," and i'll be including a link to your comment asap. i suppose i'd be counted among those who are urging the e.c. to go slowly; deliberately and prayerfully ask whether the holy spirit is leading the e.c. to abandon the traditional church and the believers (if any remain) in it; etc. thank you for your thoughts and the spirit in which they were delivered. you've helped me get my mind around the e.c. issue a little bit better.
~ sam


I know. I struggle with the whole thing, too. I want those writing and speaking to earn their deserved pay. I mean, I aspire to write books and speak myself! It's just that the promo hype and packaging of ideas is sometimes threatening to me. I KNOW God uses books and marketing. I just don't want to buy into a new method because it is hot. I want to buy into Jesus.


I can say amen to that!

The comments to this entry are closed.