Of Blogs and the Emerging Church

Aside from smart-ass but salient wise-cracks, this is my first official post on the first blog I’ve ever been on, so be gentle…

Paul and I are in our 50s, which means this whole blogging phenomenon is very new to us. I think we’d still be BVs if it weren’t for Chad and company graciously inviting us to participate. So all wise-acre commentary aside, I’m truly appreciative of being welcomed to this forum.

While we were walking yesterday morning, I was pondering the difference between blogs and ye olde chat room experience and realized the vital distinction: in a chat room, one is a nonentity floating in a sea of little screaming amoebas, each clambering for their pathetic little insecure selves to be noticed, whereas on a blog thread, each person’s opinions and emotions are recognized as being noteworthy (if not agreed upon). Because I know the blog community is actually listening (gasp) and weighing my comments, it stimulates me to attach more weight to what I put out there, instead of babbling for a laugh (which has traditionally been my normal mode).

So my theory is that a healthy blogging community kindles provocative thinking, which leads to humans who are evolving because they are wrestling with (not shouting down) each other’s ideas and feelings. If the community’s agreement is that every person’s opinion gets a fair, open-minded hearing, then there is a free flowing river of ideas that (hopefully) results in growth for everyone involved.

Okay. So here’s the segue.

This whole “emergent church” phenomenon has revitalized me in a way that hasn’t happened since the early 70s when I was a hippie-evolved-into-Jesus Freak at the Light & Powerhouse in Westwood and later up in San Francisco, solely producing the Right On underground newspaper for the Jack Sparks’ Christian World Liberation Front.

The Jesus People movement took a whole generation of adolescents who had rebelled against their traditional fundamentalist upbringing and allowed us to come in from the cold (hippiedom). We were enabled to come back to the fold because the rules were all different: we could come back but keep our weed, bongs and free love. What a great deal! All grace, all the time. Old time religion in the Age of Aquarius — yes, thank you! We brought our love beads and Birkenstocks to live communally in places like the J.C. Light & Powerhouse (where I was from 1970 to 1973), listened raptly to Hal Lindsey, Bill Counts and Tom Brewer, breathlessly read Watchman Nee, grooved to Larry Norman, trooped to Dallas for Explo 72, drank, smoked, and waited for the Second Coming. It was so very stimulating. We knew exactly who we were were and what it was all about.

And then we got married.

So here I am 30 years later, Rip Van Winklette, reading Brian McLaren and feeling dusty neurons firing for the first time in decades. This post is getting too long for me to describe the profound epiphanies I’ve been having for the past few months, but I think I speak for many when I say that the EC authors are articulating exactly why I’ve grown cynical about religion (not spirituality) in the past 30 years. And this time around, it’s not just changed window dressing on the same old message. We’re not stoned adolescents anymore; we need real thinking that makes sense. I feel like the attractive woman in the Twilight Zone episode who lived in a world of disfigured people. She thought of herself as an ugly misfit, until one day she was brought to a small colony of other people who looked just like her (Malibu Kens and Barbies).

Like a healthy blogging village, the community that populates the world of EC thinking is doing just that: thinking. Gosh, it feels great to get back to…thinking.

This entry was posted in church, emerging church and tagged , on by .

About grammy

I am Paul's wife, Chad and Carrie's mom, Erica's mom-in-love, Ella's and Zion's grammy. I am a marriage and family therapist. I have been "emergent" since 1959 when my sunday school teacher didn't have a good answer to the question, "But what about the poor kid in deepest, darkest Africa who has never heard about Jesus?" I just didn't know there was a word for what I was until recently!

14 thoughts on “Of Blogs and the Emerging Church

  1. grammy Post author

    Okay. Crap. So none of my links worked. MIIIIIKE!?????

    The Twilight Zone episode is “Eye of the Beholder.” Sorry about that.


  2. Morphea

    No, no, no, woman. You did great. No sighing, weeping, wailing or gnashing of teeth.

    Having read the above blog: I think I’m falling in love with you.

  3. michael lee

    when you insert a link, you have to include the part of the web address that read “http://” – it’s the code that tells the browser to go look for a new website with the domain info that follows. Without it, the link tells the browser to go look for a page on this same website, which it won’t find.

  4. grammy Post author

    Mike, you are my hero (mainly because you think I look a little like Michelle Pfeiffer). Thank you, sweety!

    Cerise, we have got to meet! :-)

  5. Sharolyn

    Teri, I was feeling so lame that your links worked, and oddly relieved that they didn’t. (Shame on me.) Thanks for joining the club! We’ll get it someday. And we don’t need to be gentle, because it’s a GREAT POST. Keep them coming!

    I’ve never read Brian McLaren, but due to my high opinion of you all, I think I need to start. ‘Anyone want to recommend a first book of his?

  6. aly hawkins

    Start with A Generous Orthodoxy and then sink your teeth into The Secret Message of Jesus. That’s my recommendation, anyway…anyone else?

    Teri…YAY! It is so, so good to have you throwing your perspective-hat into the ring on this. I think the conversations about where the Church is going (and even what it’s about) sorely need a few more wise aunts and uncles…you know, the ones who let you get away with a bit more trouble-making than your parents (and will even assist in the trouble-making department), but still want good things for you.

    I think you’re right on when you point out the similarities and the differences between the ECM and the Jesus People Movement. It’s my impression that JCM was asking questions then much like ECM is today, but they focused mainly on “how”…”how” we do church (smoking pot, blissing out on Larry Norman), “how” we evangelize (Keith Green concerts), etc. The ECM, on the other hand, is focusing on “what”…”what” exactly is the gospel, “what” is the kingdom of God, etc.

    From your perspective, do you think this is an accurate, over-simplified-to-the-point-of-insult reduction of complex ideas? What do you see as the differences?

  7. Chad

    My mom just got a comment from Andrew Jones.

    Everyone sing…

    “It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears……..

    ……….a small world after all!!!”


  8. grammy Post author

    Aly, your points are so well articulated (as per usual–you should become a writer!). The JPM of the early 70s and the ECM are similar in that the leading thinkers of both movements called the church to a willingness to DO IT A DIFFERENT WAY. But the main difference in the two movements is that the first was primarily concerned about new trappings for that good old religion, whereas the ECM is placing high emphasis on getting away from formulaic recipies (“We’re all going to become seeker-sensitive and evolve into megachurches!”) and moving more toward a higher degree of respect for listening and getting to know a particular person or neighborhood or entire culture before wading in with the battle plan. The JPM allowed us to come back to the fold and parental approval by not demanding that ee give up too, too much. The tenets of the ECM are profoundly more radical, in that they will by definition invade every aspect of a person’s life.

    Andrew, what would you like to know? :-)


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