Pop Occulture on Emerging Church

Ever considered what the Emerging Church looks like from an alternate spirituality perspective? Tim Boucher's comments at Pop Occulture are worthwhile brousing. Here's some extracts with a few thoughts that pop up:

I've been hearing this term on and off for a while now: the "Emerging Church" or the "Emergent Church." A reader a while back sent me some links on it as well. But for whatever reason, I never actually started looking into it until just now. And I have to say, it's actually really interesting.

I find it interesting that he's heard of it.

I'm already very intrigued by the whole thing. It sounds exactly like the process that occultists, New Agers, Wiccans, Neo-Pagans and others have been following for years.

I agree, I see the same thing, but then I'm a former New Ager myself. I wonder how many 'post-evangelicals' recognise this though? And can we learn lessons from the best and the worst of the New Age Movement?

Maybe this means there will be more dialogue between these groups and Christians. Of course, the major issue will become the uniqueness of the Christ story.

Maybe…I hope so…but to do that the movement has to move beyond a post-evangelical focus

In either case, it seems like a GIGANTIC step forward from us-versus-them rigid reactionary fundamentalism. I only hope this movement gains ground against the Dominionists and Reconstructionists so we can take back our country and culture.

I agree

Oddly enough, this is exactly like a Catholic group that my parents are part of called the Charismatic Renewal.

Take note. Here's where the worldview filters start to fail him.

Some of these groups seem "better" (in my eyes) than others. Many unfortunately just seem to be set up by bigger regular churches as traps to convince young people that "faith is cool" by referencing pop culture.

Whack!

In a lot of ways, there also seem to be a lot of parallels to gnostic Christianity among some segments of the Emerging Church. Especially in their insistence on the importance of questioning, the need to "find out for yourself" and the dismantling of hierarchical mediated approaches to the divine. Elaine Pagels talks about this a whole lot in her excellent book, the Gnostic Gospels.

Here's where I'm interest how the average Emerging Church conversationalist would respond. How many are aware of the critical issues with 'gnostic Christianity'. This is where embodied apologetics so lauded by some Emerging Church advocates falls short. This is a critical misunderstanding. Would you ignore it and hope it evaporates simply through plugging into labyrith worship? Here's where conversational apolgetics still has a place.

Even over the course of just a few months, I've seen gnostic ideas take a huge leap forward into mainstream culture. It seems only inevitable to me that it's going to meet and significantly impact the Emerging Church movement …

He may be right, but if so we've got some problems we need to sort out.

Not coincidentally, my Story-Systems website actually approaches this same topic from a different and slightly broader perspective. Shortly after I put it up, the introduction page was cross-posted by somebody into an Emerging Church forum/blog site. So there is obviously a big area of overlap.

And I wonder if this Emerging Church blogger realised he was circulating gnostic ideas? I suspect he picked up on the 'occulture' tag and assumed this was an Emerging Church blog without much critical examination.

Bottom line. Lots of ideas circulating, some street cred being built up, but some misfirings in communication that we all need to take note of.

4 thoughts on “Pop Occulture on Emerging Church

  1. I found this line to be very interesting…
    “…set up by bigger regular churches as traps to convince young people that “faith is cool” by referencing pop culture.”
    I have seen the type of church he speaks of…but also seen many many many that are not…but still in my opinion “emerging”…I think church should always refrence the culture of the crowd…
    why do you think Jesus talked so much about the natural world and human relationships…because it was something they understood.
    –RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

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  2. Very fascinating observations.
    The whole emergent thing is varied–as you know. There are some who are disaffected evangelicals who are looking for something deeper. Others are disaffected mainliners who are looking for some spirituality. I think there is a lot of room for dialogue with people of all faith traditions. In fact, it is happening in many places. Not so much in others.
    Great blog, by the way.

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  3. I don’t know if you were saying above that I myself am an Emerging Church blogger. I really am not. I also don’t really get what you were saying about my something worldview filters failing me…? I think it’s great that we can have a conversation about this stuff, but I hope you’re not trying to cut me off at the knees with that remark – especially since I’m not altogether sure what you meant.
    But then I think I’m probably experiencing some of the contextual problems you experienced at my site coming into the outside without having any kind of history or understanding of what you’re all about.

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  4. Tim,
    If this was read as implying you were an Emerging Church blogger, sorry that was not intended in the slightest, it is quite clear to me that you’re not.
    And the comment about worldview filters, well that was intended as a mild critique – for Emerging Church has nothing to do with Charismatic Catholicism – but I respect that you’re an outsider and don’t really blame you for misunderstanding.
    No, the worldview filters I am more concerned about are those of my fellow Emerging Church bloggers. You have correctly identified phenomenological similarities between the Emerging Church and the New Age which many within Emerging Church blog circles are themselves blind to. I am thus advocating it is important for them to read voices like yours. You provide a useful mirror in which the Emerging Church can see itself from a different perspective.

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