From a commenter who read my paper from Westminster I got a great question, and now I’d like to reflect on the diversity of this thing called “emerging.”:
I delineated four Rivers leading into Lake Emerging: Postmodernity, Praxis (worship, orthopraxy/orthodoxy, missional, social justice), Postevangelical, and Political. The commenters question led Kris and I to a short chat: “Well,” she said to me, “what about you [she meant us]? We’re emerging and yet we attend a mega-church, the granddaddy of them all — Willow?”
Indeed, there is so much diversity in the emerging movement — and I wonder about you. How much of it do you “fit”? How many of those rivers do you swim in? How many do you have to swim in to be truly emerging?
On top of this, I’m reading more and more and hearing more and more that this missional focus of emerging, which I think is the central factor, is beginning to make an impact all around the world in all kinds of churches and in all kinds of ways. Is the emerging movement, in other words, beginning to make an impact well outside the traditional borders to which it is assigned? I think so.
Now the question from a reader:
I am curious: what do you call people who:
1. are intrigued with soft post-modernism and love to read Vanhoozer and Grenz (the first river),
2. who say “amen” to the need for orthopraxy but are uncomfortable de-emphasizing orthodoxy (river 2),
3. are evangelical rather than post-evangelical yet
a) hope to preach much of the post-Bible-study-piety message to their fellows,
b) hold systematic, biblical, other theologies with an open hand, and
c) who thoroughly hate (and have been burned by) the in vs. out mentality (a complicated river three)
4. drink lattes, carry backpacks, shun Birkenstocks and vote Republican?