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Pagitt, Solomon’s Porch and Emergent Ecclesiology

posted by xscot mcknight

I’m up here in Seattle, and Doug Pagitt’s heart-felt record of his church’s, Solomon’s Porch, work, called Reimagining Spiritual Formation, which for many Emergent folk is “old hat,” was a wondrous read and gave me many things to think about.

But I begin with this one and it is a Question: What should 50somethings say about 20somethings who are doing all they can to “incarnate” the gospel in their own terms in unique situations and all for the glory of God and the good of the Kingdom? And who are doing it on top of what those 50somethings did themselves? And who think that 50somethings (like me!) didn’t always get it right?

Well, I say, the first thing they (read: we) should do is listen and listen hard enough until they (we) really hear what they are saying. So, my first comment is this: I’m listening and I’m processing and I’m grateful that there are young pastors and Christians who are willing to act on their God-given principles and do something that they think is more centered on the essence of the Kingdom.

They remind me of what we tried in my generation (using guitars, for instance, and hanging out in the church and having Bible studies with Christians from different churches and just generally getting in the way of the older folk) and I am SO grateful for the essential stance: we need to change and we’ll be the ones who give it a whirl.

I’ve got all kinds of ideas swirling in my head, but the first one is simply this: I want to hear what they are doing and if Solomon’s Porch is anywhere near expressing heart-felt concerns of the Emergent movement — however unique and all that and not typical — then I want to take it all in first. I want to let that vision settle in some.



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Bob Robinson

posted April 27, 2005 at 7:36 pm


Your comment about how emergent reminds you of what 50-somethings like yourself were trying 30 years ago harkens to an actual post Doug Pagitt wrote back on February 24 on his blog:Emergent and the Jesus Movements of the 60’s and 70’s



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Scot McKnight

posted April 28, 2005 at 7:52 am


Bob,Thanks for this note.I read Pagitt’s blog on this, and there is something similar to the two movements, even though one should not think they are old Jesus freaks coming out again nor are they children of Jesus freaks.The issue is that both “emerge” from a culture of discontent with what is going on in the Church; both also catch specific waves in culture and ride that into the Church; both are willing to start all over again by going back to basics; both want to be thoroughly democratic (in the sense of non-hierarchical).But, my point about 50somethings is more along the line of a Theology of Reading by Alan Jacobs. My 50somethings generation needs to step back, listen, take it all in, and not just jump to conclusions. So, we had our day; it now the day for others; we are to be the grey hairs of wisdom but not the ones who dictate where the Spirit may lead the Church of the younger generation. Bob, most pastors (of my brand of the faith; and we’re Midwesterners not Californians) when I was a teenager were totally against using guitars in the Church, against using anything other than hymns; and now just look in your typical church.The beat goes on, and I want to be near it.



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bill bean

posted April 29, 2005 at 11:57 am


wise thoughts



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