In this interesting post, pastors Dave Schmelzer and Charles Park propose that the emergent movement, while currently very effective and relevant, is by its nature reaching primarily a transient population that will eventually disappear, leaving emergent-oriented churches high and dry, so to speak. The observation is essentially that the emergent movement is most attractive to the currently high volume of people leaving the church, rather than the growing population of unchurched folks, with its message, “we’re not your father’s church”, or in other words, we do church more authentically, or with more relevance, or effectiveness, and so on. It stands to reason though that eventually this outflow will stabilize as people settle out into whatever church or unchurch they choose, and the population of folks looking for what emergents uniquely offer will more or less dry up.
Now I’m all for the emergent movement, and certainly gravitated in recent years toward the values it espouses and general culture of faith it promotes. And I’m certainly not up on all the nuances and distinctions of what the emergent movement is or isn’t (what’s emergent vs. emerging, for example?). So I’m not looking for predictions or pronouncements on this question. But criticism and bickering aside about the supposed validity or theological soundness of emergent’s aforementioned nuances and distinctions, this is the first sound proposition I’ve heard that emergent is a passing phase, though one currently seeming to hit its stride.
What do you think? Are Dave and Charles’ assessments omitting something important? Or is emergent the right thing for right now, but not so much for, say, 25 years from now?
One of those songs that makes the rounds in my head every year or two. This time it popped up on shuffle and stuck there. I realize that much of the songs and films that I like best are the ones where someone finally just lets loose about what they want or feel. Lifehouse’s “Everything”, or Mike Nichols’ Wit come to mind. This one seems to sum up some of the things I don’t know how otherwise to say.
What can I do with my obsession
With the things I cannot see?
Is there madness in my being?
Is it wind that whips the trees?
Sometimes you’re further than the moon
Sometimes you’re closer than my skin
And you surround me like a winter fog
You’ve come and burned me with a kiss
And my heart burns for you
And my heart burns