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    The transition from evangelical to emergent I find actually kind of exciting. Sure they're bouncing around on some extremes, but at least they're not stuck in the mud, and they will find what is true by what works. -Jupiter

    The Emerging church right now as I have observed it has two branches. What is in common is that younger evangelicals, 20 to 30 year olds, who grew up in an extremely modernistic religious background have decided to break from much of the experience of the American pop culture church. Many in the emerging church have gone back theologically to a more reformed faith. -brood100

    One of the reasons Emergent is emerging is to create and hold a space open for people who are tired of the cynicism that pervades most theological discussion and crushes tender, responsive, devotional behavior. I don't want to go to Chuch with porcupines anymore. Check your spines at the door. -WhitewaveofR

    Emergent has been described (to the intense frustration of critics) as a "conversation". This is because of the way a conversation unpacks truth differently and more effectively than lists of doctrines. Lists have their value. And they also have their limitations. -WhitewaveofR

    I found Emergent. It was like lighting a firecracker. Biblical inerrancy, for me, was blown to smithereens... As Christians struggle and jiggle together instead of apart, we will be overseen by the Holy Spirit and then we're gonna get it. That, in my estimation, is what Emergent is. -WhitewaveofR

    I can't quite put my finger on what "the emergent Church" looks like...if it's really some sort of radical reforming movement within the Church or just a new marketing "hook" to try and get the next generation interested in Christianity -- conservative evangelical Christianity with tats? (And I can't help noticing that most of the "emergent" folks I run into online are young white males...any diversity out there?) Or maybe it's both?--tawonda

    It looks like another marketing hook meant to appeal to those who have disenfranchised themselves from traditional expressions of Christianity and would rather be on the cutting edge of something new. Tough to do in a Church founded over 2,000 years ago by the Lord, but it doesn't stop people from trying. -sparki777

    From what I gather the "emergent church" is an idea, or really a desire to have a discussion about the changing paradigm of Christianity and the associated cultures. Some perceive a struggle between the "old" and "new" and what is emerging from that struggle is a new paradigm. The problem that I see is that there are too many ideas of what the "new" is. Maybe it is too early to really define it.

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    For some, it seems like just a marketing thing--it's still church as usual but with a little more use of modern music and audio/visual technology. For others, it seems like an eclectic mix of a more ancient sacramental focus coupled with use of modern technology. For others, it seems about reforming the structure of the institutional church into being more about community than about property and hired staff.

    From a theological standpoint, I'm not sure if many of these movements are all that different. But some seem to have a more postmodern flavor--more interested in "authenticity", in "living out the 'story'", than in constantly hashing out doctrinal positions.

    Didn't the church stop becoming 'emergent' about 17 centuries ago? -bob_Bennett

    I also think that there is the real possibility that "emergence" may be part of the Holy Spirit leading us go 'deeper' in a pool of faith that has, at times, seemed a mile wide and an inch deep. In other words, it may actually be a response to God - albeit a different sort of response than has been seen previously - rather than just a new arrangement of deck chairs. --dearwatson

    An evangelical pastor I know remarked the other day that everything he's seen of it--which is more than I have--is that it's mainly in small groups here and there, but nothing that would indicate a groundswell of some kind.

    Perhaps it's the smallness of it that has an appeal. In the past two weeks, I've had three people remark that they were looking for a church that wasn't so large. They were feeling lost in their large community evangelical church. --prjp

    I'm intrigued by postmodernism--hopeful that it will be a counterweight to the "bigness" success model, and might offer an alternative to watered-down generic American protestantism.

    At least so far, the "emergent churches" are often spun out of big churches as a marketing ploy to "reach our young people." That is NOT postmodern.--prjp

    I would say, though, that the Emergent Church is interested in racial reconciliation in the Church as one of its concerns.

    But if people are going to seek to reach post modernists, hang out Coffee houses and explore quieter more meditative liturgical forms of worship, then chances are you are going to see a lot of white people.--Theo_Logian

    One of the distinctive elements of the "emergent church" movement IS its racial diversity. One of the leading "mini-denoms." (or collective of churches) are the Mosaic churches-- so named because they are a "mosaic" of human color. In general, the emergent churches do a much better job of multi-racial and mulit-cultural ministry than the mainlines (not that the mainlines have set the bar very high on that one). --Verdugo

    Emergent churches are usually small, with--after a fashion--formal liturgies, and self-consciously connected with the early church--pretty much the opposite of the large, non-liturgical evangelical megachurch.I can see is that some evangelical churches have promoted "emergent churches" as a branch of their own ministry, "to appeal to the young people"--which is a modern, not a postmodern, thing to do.--prjp

    Is it possible that there is an evangelical contingent trying to co-opt the emergent church phenomenon for their own non-post-modern agenda?

    To associate the emergent church movement only with those well-meaning-but-miss-the-mark efforts is a stereotype of evangelicalism, and a misunderstanding of the emergent church movement.

    Evangelicalism is a large, diverse, poorly defined, evolving movement often stereotyped unfairly. The emergent church movement--even more so.

    I guess my frustration with "The Emergent Church" is precisely in the juxtapostion of its appeal and its vagueness.

    It's like a computer with no user's manual. It looks really interesting, but I can't seem to get it to do anything useful.

    Where's does one start?

    I think we have to be patient with the movement. Postmodernism itself is a new and ill-defined paradigm shift. The emergent church even more so. It is a growing, evolving effort to be faithful to Christ in the midst of an emerging cultural shift. I don't think it is defined or articulated to the point that we are able to really critique it at this point. Some of it seems to be fairly "authentic" as a voice of this generation.--Verdugo
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