It’s fascinating to watch current church movements. This is such an exciting time.
And, as I look around, I wonder, what will become of the emerging church? Emerging church leaders are beginning to define themselves more and more, not necessarily by what they are, but by what they are not. And, it seems, that they are not denominational. Some of them see denominations as structures that hinder innovation, as stagnant relics of church gone by. Which, I understand and respect. I just don’t find myself in the same place.
I find myself in the same position as most of the women leaders in the movement–I am also a part of a denominational church. A church that saw my potential for the pastorate even before I noticed it myself.
I wonder what will happen in the movement. The emerging church gained a whole lot of momentum through anglimergents, presbymergents, emerginglutherans and emerging umc. We are people who aren’t ready to pack up and leave our denominations–even if we might be frustrated with them. Even if we know that they are not going to look the same in a few years.
Yet we are excited about how God is moving in a new generation through the reclaiming of spiritual practices, a hunger to do something about poverty and the environment. We are innovative and interested in new ways to organize and form conversations through technology. We are comfortable with the questions of faith, and we have humility about what we can know about God. And we see how power is shifting to the margins, how much our local churches matter.
But it makes curious…are we being kicked out of the emergent church movement? Is the movement becoming more and more exclusive? Or do we stay and continue to shrug off the attacks on our denominations? And, will the emergent movement be able to survive if they cut the denominational churches off?
I wonder what will become of people like me. People who have no problem stating clearly what they believe about LGBTQ inclusion or women in leadership. People who have no qualms about being socially progressive. People who have no hesitation with some “-isms” (like feminism–the stream where so much great postmodern philosophy and theology comes from). Church leaders who are thoroughly postmodern, love reading Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, Michel Foucault, Luce Irigaray, and still see value in structures that empower the powerless and give voice to the voiceless. People who see the ability to of denominational structures to keep power in check. People who like democracy. Postmodern pastors who are still really happy about having a pension.
There are a lot of us out here. So where do you think all of this is going? Will there be a new movement of Christians who are disenfranchised by the disenfranchised?