I just finished reading "Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be)" by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. I've heard a lot about the "emergent church" but knew little about it. And I've heard a lot about "postmodernism" but couldn't even really tell you what "modernism" is, let alone realize that we're already past it.
Anyway, I am refreshingly enlightened and feel quite astute now that I have completed the book, and could probably participate in a mildly elementary conversation about what it means to be emergent and postmodern. I could probably apply the sentence, "Oh, how postmodern of you" in a witty exchange and have it make sense. Whilst sipping a frothy latte and wearing a tshirt with a picture of Bono on it.
But since I am not quite in the ballpark enough to engage in a cerebral tete-a-tete regarding the (apparent lack of) doctrine and theology of the emergent culture vs. the traditional church...I won't. I will say that I highly recommend the book to anyone who is wondering what it means to be "emergent" and even more highly to anyone in general who doesn't realize the impact it has on the culture of believers in particular. If you don't think it's having an impact, think again. It's having a good impact in many, many, many ways, and it's having a negative impact in many others. So buyer beware: still a good idea to search for and know Truth, as it is a precious gem. I have to say that it's a heady read with very large words, but about halfway through it I was starting to track with him. Kevin DeYoung has cred in my book. I know him from college. He was my boyfriend's roommate. This dude LOVED theology. Like, incredibly. He would spend HOURS poring over theology books and things about John Calvin and Martin Luther and all kinds of other dudes whose writings I can't wrap my mind around. His professors would put caps on how long his papers could be - usually 60-70 pages. He had, like, Jonathan Edwards action figures on his desk (can you picture it? This fiery preacher behind a pulpit whose eyes light up when you push a button and shouts exerpts from "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God??" I'm kidding about that. But wouldn't that be funny?). You think I'm joking. I jest not. So as much as we kind of sniggered over his Saturday night paper-writings (he was having an absolute ball at it, mind you), I can vouch for the fact that this guy is grounded and knows his stuff. His partner in crime is a journalist and his chapters are refreshingly down-to-earth and far easier to read. It's a good balance.
Anyway, I won't wax about the emergent movement or postmodernism because I still can't, so I'll just suffice to say that all the more I love and appreciate our dear church. Our unsexy, un- emo, very traditional church. Where there are still pews lined with hymnals, brass chandeliers (not gonna lie, we kind of balked and snickered the first time we visited), and coffee in the fellowship hall between Sunday School and church (you could probably make a latte if you use enough of those cheap little creamers, I guess). The Gospel is still central. Our church body cares for the poor, serves the underprivileged, and is becoming increasingly mission-oriented. While not perfect, we DO "do life" together. There is accountability. If Matt and I were having huge issues (or even small ones) in our marriage, I can think of several couples off the top of my head that we could call at any hour and receive counsel and prayer. If something in my life is off, other women have tenderly spoken truth to me to get me back on track. As soon as there is a need, people are climbing all over themselves to help fill it. Our pastors are grounded in sound doctrine. Even the music is carefully chosen to ensure it reflects sound biblical truth. I just appreciate that so much. I am so grateful for this evidence of God's grace in our lives.
On this side of heaven, no church will be perfect, least of all ours. It IS full of hypocrites, myself being the first in line. I am ALWAYS saying one thing and doing another, and then at the end of the day I'm like, "Oh my WORD - I did it AGAIN?!" But hypocrites like me are offered hope and forgiveness and eternal life through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ our Lord. I am so grateful that God tossed this little resource my way to help me wrap my mind around what a gift it is to be part of a body that is so precious and unwavering.