Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pre-Advent Special: You Saw It Coming

In an electronic newsletter from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, the new homiletics professor offers a criminally brief piece called "411 on the Emerging Church."

Ah, yes. We suppose that is to match the 911 on the rest of the church.


stynxno said...

411 no longer means anything to me. 311 only for now on! But the emerging church probably doesn't want to be tied to noise complaints, traffic light complaints, and taxi problems at 3 am in the morning.

Though, in a lot of ways, the emerging church sometimes only seems to SOUND like that.

Father Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Father Anonymous said...

Sound like a 3am taxi problem? Or like an emerging church?

Like many Lutherans, and I suspect especially students of Gordon Lathrop, I find the EC fascinating, less as a missiological phenomenon than as a publicity success.

So far as I can tell, sifting through some of the books, the EC promotes small, informal, highly participatory services, structured (even if loosely) around the traditional ordo of the Church. This is what Dan Kimball describes as "vintage worship," and of course it's what a lot of Lutheran churches -- especially small city churches where the midcentury "liturgical movement" took hold -- have done for decades.

The hardest part, by far, is being participatory enough. That requires an immense amount of pastoral encouragement, planning and patience. (At Trinity, we usually had five or six people in the chancel; we should have had twice that for starters.)
But the general principles are awfully close.

So what makes the Emerging Church so special? I suspect -- without cattiness intended -- it is the milieu from which it emerges: biggish Evangelical churches, with no historical connection to the traditional liturgy. When your point of reference is a man in a suit talking to a thousand people in a movie theater, twenty people chanting in a circle with some candles must look pretty wild.