Complacency. It’s the thing that the emergent church is trying to get away from and it’s the thing that stagnant churches don’t realize they have a problem with. What I see here are two ends of an extreme – one end loud with their proclamations that the church is outdated and needs to undergo a top-to-bottom overhaul, and the other even louder in their silence. What I see are new and continuing divisions as more and more Christians break away from fellowship. What I see are arguments and conflicts and problems with Christian relationships.
Where are the voices of those in the middle, people like me who see what the emergent church is striving for and who also see the perspective of those on the other side? People who recognize that many of our churches have problems but that _just as many_ do not? People who recognize that many Christians in America have become complacent and are content to stagnate right where they are, being fat and happy, while other Christians are rebelling against that mindset and seeking a more living, vibrant relationship with our God? Where are those voices?
I think most of them are probably doing much of what I have been – sitting back and watching as the emergents struggle to figure out whatever it is they are figuring out while quietly working within our established churches to urge people _out_ of their complacency. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out – I think that a lot of the things the emergent folks are doing are good ideas, even though I don’t agree with all of their philosophies. I also think that the church structure, when applied biblically, is a _very_ good thing and works exceptionally well, and thus the church structure should not be discarded out of hand.
I’m frustrated with the emergent folks who insist that the modern church as it stands today will die and cease to exist within the next 100 years, being replaced some a postmodern church (ironically enough, one that will have a structure all its own). But I’m also frustrated with the church folks who insist that the emergents are all wet and should be criticized harshly at every opportunity.
Essentially, it’s the same complaint I always have – no one really wants to listen to anyone else. No one wants to admit that they might be wrong, so they ignore and dismiss every other argument with casual disdain and disinterest. Why can’t we all just work together to revive the church? I don’t believe the church is outdated or outmoded, but neither do I think it is living up to its full service potential for Christ. I think we can all learn a thing or three from each other, if only we would just listen.
Here ends my ranting and complaining. It’s been a long week….