This question has been asked more than once, but a colleague of mine at the seminary wrote me and said this:
I enjoyed your CT article on the emerging church very much. I have a problem though. All the definitions I see describe the conversations I and some others were having when I was a student at Trinity in the 60s. Is there really anything new here–other than the postmodern world in which we live? The Gibbs and Bolger definition is not new stuff. You could have put that label on Circle Church in the 60s and any number of other folk. If the emerging movement is a protest against much of evangelicalism, it is not the first bunch to protest. Or am I just too old to understand?
Maybe this explains why I like the emerging movement so much. If you don’t think they are similar, I suggest you go find a copy of Ray Stedman’s Body Life, read it, and then invite a bundle of your friends over to watch The Mod Squad. Spice it up and wear some love beads. Yes, I wore them… and in this picture, if you look hard enough, you can see them. My hair was definitely conservative.
Well, what do you think? I’ve posted a little this week about emerging and this point about the 60s (actually it was the 70s, but the 60s is the symbol) has been said many times to me. Is this the 60s all over again? Now tell me, if this is the case, why are so many 50+ folks grousing about the emerging movement? Just don’t tell me “what goes around comes around.” Does this mean these neo-iHippie emerging Christians will end up “Reaganing” in 15 years or will they keep on “hippie-ing” like Jim Wallis?
The first time I sat down with Doug Pagitt to chat about emerging I said, “You know, Doug, this sounds a lot like the 60s.” He said, “I’ve heard that before.”