not the point
Having returned from a conference in San Diego last week where I spent time talking with people around the subjects of post-modernity and the emerging church, I've become increasingly convinced of two things:
1) the words "Post-Modern", "Emergent", and "Missional" are quite trendy, and because people want to be these things, the words are used increasingly by people who don't really understand them, thus deflating the value of these words and rendering them increasingly meaningless.
2) because they're trendy, people are making vast generalizations and prophecies regarding the death of modernity, and the death of the institutional church, as if these two things are some sort evils in need of banishment so that the 'real' or 'pure' world view(s) might be ushered in. There's so much wrong with that line of thinking that I don't have time to address it right now because it's too late at night and I'm too tired. But it reminds me of Jesus response to the Samaritan woman's question about which mountain people should worship on... 'this mountain' or 'that mountain.' Jesus answer? "It doesn't matter, as long as you're actually worshipping." Apparently you can be spot on or miss the point, on either mountain. Can we carry the analogy out say that you can miss the point in a post-modern or modern church...or hit the target in either too? Emergent or traditional? Cathedral or living room? High Church or Hip Hop?
We're still looking for the silver bullet - thinking that moving out of the building will make us a better church. Maybe. But probably not, because the church, or the mountain, or the particular world view that is the contextual construct in which I do church life are all nothing more than wineskins in which the wine of the gospel is held and from which it is poured out to bless the world. Too many conversations are still about the wineskin. When the day is done though, they're still just skins... the important thing isn't the skin. but what's in it.
1. Do justice?
2. Love mercy?
3. Walk humbly with God?
It is enough. Of course, we need the conversations about modernity and post-modernity, because without them there are generational divides in the church that fracture it and weaken it. But let's recognize that modernity and post modernity aren't two world views competing for king of the evangelical hill. They're two ways of looking at the world, both of which have value and dangers inherent in them. But you can live out the three elements above from either world view... thanks be to God. The gospel is way more generous and flexible than the wineskin cheerleaders and advocates on either side of the isle!