I am surprised that there are still so many growing opinions of the emerging church in the PC(USA). here's a conversation i had recently with a friend from seminary. he reached out on Facebook to ask for support info about emergent:
How's it going, my friend? I hope this Lenten season has given you ample time for reflection and renewal.
I'm wondering if you can help me with something. As you may know, I'm doing a two-year residency at [A PC(USA) church in a northern metropolis]. As part of our program, we have a weekly seminar, where we discuss various books we've been reading, watch and review sermons, and have the occasional lecture.
The Emergent movement has come up in a number of our conversations. I've been surprised to find that when it does, the tone is generally pretty hostile. As I'm sure you know, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the emergent church among those on the outside. I know just enough about the movement not to know very little, and have been unable to clarify things for my colleagues.
My question is, if you were to suggest two or three books of the many that are out there, what would they be? I want to recommend some for our reading list for next year. Something that addresses the theology would really be of interest here, but I also think that we should look at something more comprehensive--what does the emergent movement mean for christian ed, worship, community building, etc. I know that there are books on each of these, specifically. But since we are unlikely to read multiple books on the emergent church, are there books that address all of them? Would you recommend "The Emergent Manifesto of Hope," for instance?
Any help you can provide would be much appreciated.
lots of sense! i think that emergence or missional theology will alway disappoint those looking to save/conserve a precedent. But like you, I am willing to engage the system with humility as an agent of imagination and hope.
I think that Ryan Bolger's "Emerging Churches" offers the best anecdotal and systematic approaches to understanding the phenomena, and Tony Jones' "Dispatches from the Emerging Frontier" offer the best description of the emergent verses "emergence" (differentiating the new styles from the new reasons of missional engagement in culture).
"Emerging theology" is so disparate that there is no way to pen down what a whole church group might enjoy reading. Here's three ideas: One book is "A Community Called Atonement" by Scott McKnight it gives an example of an emergent way of doing theology. A second book is on leadership and imagination by Tim Keel, "Intuitive Leadership." And a third is McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy that explains emergent theology from a frame of post-liberalism meets post-evangelicalism.
But my experience is that relationships and person stories are the best way to build sympathy and connectionallism between Presbyterians and Emergents. Try to find the local cohort, and try to get some emergent church peeps in your area to break bread with your colleagues.