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The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why


The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why From the book by Phyllis Tickle, c. 2008 by Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI The Rev. Marilyn Baldwin – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why

The Great Emergence How Christianity Is
Changing and Why
From the book by Phyllis Tickle, c. 2008 by
Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI
  • The Rev. Marilyn Baldwin
  • St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church
  • White Bear Lake, MN
  • June, 2009

Emergence, Emersion
  • The emerging church (sometimes referred to as the
    emergent movement) is a Christian movement of the
    late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a
    number of theological boundaries participants
    can be described as evangelical,
    post-evangelical, liberal, post-liberal,
    charismatic, neocharismatic, and
    post-charismatic. (Wikipedia)

Emerging Church
  • Proponents call it a "conversation" to emphasize
    its developing and decentralized nature, its vast
    range of standpoints and its commitment to
    dialogue. What those involved in the conversation
    mostly agree on is their disillusionment with the
    organized and institutional church and their
    support for the deconstruction of modern
    Christian worship, modern evangelism, and the
    nature of modern Christian community. (Wikipedia)

The Great Emergence
  • Part I What Is It?
  • Part II How Did It Come To Be?
  • Part III Where Is It Going?

Part I What Is It?
  • Changes slipped into our lives somewhat
    unnoticed, unheralded in late 20th Century
  • Affect every part of our lives
  • Interface with/context for all aspects
  • Social
  • Culture
  • Politics
  • Economics

The World Is Flat Again
  • Classic economics applies less to service
    economies than production-based ones
  • National borders, loyalties not as strong as
  • Small nations can hold large ones hostage
  • Technology, knowledge have leveled playing field
  • Traditional privilege no longer a given

  • Information overload at all levels
  • To-do lists are endless
  • Dependent upon technology outside ourselves for
    even simple tasks
  • Simple calculations
  • Computer, phone issues disrupt lives
  • Where is the line between human and machine?

How Does This Apply To Religion?
  • (specifically, North American Christianity)
  • About every five hundred years the Church feels
    compelled to hold a giant rummage sale.
  • We are living in and through one of those
    five-hundred-year sales.
  • ---Phyllis Tickle, quoting The Rt. Rev. Mark
  • Retired Anglican Bishop

Understanding History
  • Pattern of 500-years helpful to understanding and
  • Empowered structures become unwieldy
  • Must be shaken off so that new growth may occur
  • Those who do not understand history are doomed
    to repeat it ---George Santayana

Three Results or Corollary Events
  • New, more vital form of Christianity emerges
  • Former dominant form becomes more pure and less
    ossified version of itself
  • two new creatures where there was one
  • Faith has then spread dramatically into new
    geographic and demographic areas
  • Increasing exponentially range and depth of
  • Eg., Reformation forced changes upon Roman Church

Rummage SalesWhen the Church Cleans Out Its Attic
  • 500 Years Ago Great Reformation
  • (16th Century) growth in relative importance for
    religion culture
  • Luther October 31, 1517
  • Others had made rumblings for at least a century
  • Other changes went on for at least a century more
  • Wycliff, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin, Hooker

Rummage Sales (cont.)
  • 500 Years Earlier Great Schism (1054)
  • Cultural, theological, practical differences
    between Eastern and Western Churches
  • Symbolic habits, rituals, sacred means
  • Eastern (Constantinople) Leavened bread, Greek
    language, Spirit descended from God the Father
  • Western (Rome) Unleavened bread, Latin, Spirit
    descends from Father and Son (filioque clause)
  • Rome excommunicated Constantinople
  • Constantinople declared Rome anathema

Rummage Sales (cont.)
  • 500 Years Earlier (Late 6th Century)
  • Pope Gregory (I) the Great (590-604)
  • Cleanup after the Fall of the Roman Empire
    (Rome sacked, 410 fell, 476 Senate disbanded in
  • Council of Chalcedon, 451 Issues
  • Nature of Jesus Incarnation divinity vs.
  • Whether Mary was Mother of God or of human
  • Eastern, Western, Oriental Christianity

Gregory and the Monastics
  • Growing lawlessness, illiteracy of culture
  • Commoners, minor clergy left with little official
    religious practice or scriptural study
  • Thanks to Gregory (and Benedict before him)
  • Convents, monasteries became repositories for
    early treasures of Church and learning
  • Power rested in religious communities and
    especially their leaders

First Century CE
  • Obviously most important to Christian faith
  • Christianity born out of Judaism
  • Birth, public ministry, teachings, crucifixion,
    Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth changed
  • Judaism itself forever changed
  • 70 CE Temple destroyed 130 Jews barred
  • Jews dispersed epochs of human time redated
  • Much of Church born in those 60 years

Inner Workings of Rummage Sales
  • We are on the cusp of 500-year change
  • We are also the product of one, and all those
  • Need to gauge present pain against patterns and
    gains of previous hinge times
  • No structure has been lost only changed by new,
    not-yet-organized form

Re-Traditioning Diana Butler Bass
  • Apostolic tradition did not cease to be
  • Canon, Augustinian theology, mysticism still with
  • Monastic tradition did not cease but still
    influences us
  • Roman Catholicisms power, ritual, and theology
    still inform us
  • Protestant Christianity still important
  • Emphasis on literacy, Scripture

Broader Upheaval
  • Colonized Christianity changing in less-developed
    countries, cultures
  • More sharing, egalitarian assumptions
  • Similar issues in Judaism
  • 500 years BC Babylonian Captivity, destruction
    of Solomons Temple
  • 1000 BC End of Age of Judges, Davids monarch
  • Great Transformation Emergence of humanity
  • Similarities in Islam? (Shorter history)

Cable Of Meaning (after Tickle, p. 35)
  • Waterproof covering (history of community)
  • Mesh sleeve (common imagination)

Spirituality Corporeality Morality
A Holy Tether
  • Consider generic religion belief system
  • Humanity secured by tether to greater meaning
  • If there were no god, we would have to invent

Cable Of Meaning Explained
  • Waterproof covering story of community
  • Mesh sleeve common imagination
  • Not necessarily true, but truth of community
  • Three strands
  • Spirituality Naming central experiences values
    of individuals and community
  • Corporeality Physically embodied religion
  • Morality Application, enactment of values

Cable To Meaning
  • All well as long as cable is intact, suffers no
    major blow
  • Story and shared illusion are struck a blow
    simultaneously major change in culture
  • Religious duct tape seals off changes for
  • Healing takes place new shared values
  • Cultural change cycle starts all over again

The Great Emergence
  • Part I What Is It?
  • Part II How Did It Come To Be?
  • Part III Where Is It Going?

Part II How Did It Come to Be?
  • Why is it important?
  • Knowing historical parallels
  • Allows us to more accurately evaluate address
  • Diminishes sense of failure my/our fault
  • Most recent parallels in 16th Century Reformation
  • Makes sense to gain understanding from it

The Great ReformationPrequel to Emergence
  • Reformation didnt start with Luthers 95 Theses
    (1517) but much earlier
  • 1378 Two men elected Pope
  • Urban VI, Italian
  • Clement VII, French
  • Led to cultural, political, and social upheavals
  • Primacy, stability of Seat of Rome shattered
  • Not settled until 1418, after 3 popes vying for

Outcome Two Major Changes
  • Destroyed idea that popes are chosen by God to be
    arbitrator of religion and politics
  • Evoked one major question always present in
  • Where now is the authority?
  • Answer didnt come until Reformation
  • Sola scriptura, scriptura sola
  • Joined later by priesthood of all believers

Advantages of New Authority
  • As new source of authority becomes established,
    chaos gives way to stability
  • New changes, requirements come out of new
  • Sola scriptura required literacy of all
  • Literacy accelerated drive toward rationalism,
    Enlightenment, ultimately literature, science and
    technology of today

Disadvantages of New Authority
  • Divisiveness many different interpretations of
    same information
  • New denominations, sects proliferate
  • Bloody history of spread of Christianity
  • Disunity of the Body of Christ
  • Sola scriptura sets up a paper pope in place of
    human one?

Further Assaults on Authority
  • 1453 Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople
  • Greek Orthodox intelligentsia leave Turkey for
  • Brought copies of ancient documents in original
  • Possessed ability to read ancient languages
  • Brought scientific and mathematics knowledge from
    Islamic world
  • All contributed to great leap in knowledge and
    culture in all of Europe The Renaissance had

Tension and Conflict
  • Tensions defined religiously after Islams
    founding in 6th Century
  • Less defined as far as geography
  • Iberian Peninsula (Spain) in 50 years before
    Luther series of skirmishes
  • Regional kings and Mussulmen (Muslims)
  • Roman Church and Sephardic (Spanish) Jews
  • Catholic monarchs retaking of Spanish culture
  • Cordobas library had over 400,000 volumes
  • Largest in one place since destruction of

Tension and Conflict (contd)
  • Ottomans conquered much of southern Mediterranean
    by 1417
  • Inroads to Europe as far as Vienna for the next
  • Finally repulsed in 1683
  • Caused reconsideration of Church, state, social
    economic orders
  • City-states centralized duchies became states
  • Merchant classes, transportation, warfare all
    transformed into modern modes

Rise of Protestantism
  • Shifts in loyalties from local lord to distant
  • Greater independence, responsibility for self
  • Middle class came between ancient aristocracy and
  • Cash became basis of power
  • Protestantism became expression of new world
  • Gave authority to new order by sacramentalizing
    important occurrences

Rummage Sale Hinge Time Changes
  • Characterized by/informed by
  • Increasing restraints upon/outright rejections of
  • Pure capitalism
  • Mainline Protestantisms loss of demographic base
  • Changes in nuclear family
  • Shift from cash to information as base of power
  • Demise of nation-state rise of globalization

Influence of Gutenberg
  • Wycliffe,(d.1388) others argued for presenting
    Scripture in common language
  • Gutenbergs printing press (1440) and subsequent
    inventions made it available
  • Also allowed Luthers documents, others to be
    distributed far and wide
  • Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton theories
  • Called into question previously unquestioned

Rethinking Church Authority
  • 3-level universe proven wrong by Columbus
  • Where were God, Heaven?
  • Was the Church capable of being wrong?
  • Simply, Yes
  • Common story now broken
  • Search for new meaning, adjusted story

New Answers To Old Questions
  • Open to question/change
  • Number and order of sacraments
  • Role of faith and works in salvation
  • Buying of church positions and forgiveness
  • Nature of Communion proper prayer
  • Timing of baptism
  • Numbering, definitions of Commandments
  • Luther/Reformation opened door to more changes
    not final questions

Counter-Reformation Roman Response
  • Luther, others originally envisioned changed
    Church, not split
  • Fifth Lateran Council (1512-17) within Roman
    Church pushed for changes
  • Doctrine and practice clarified
  • Devotions, indulgences, Purgatory
  • Training of priests, appointments, factions
    cleared up

Seeking Hegemony
  • Def Leadership pride of place
  • Drive to war in several areas
  • Spanish Italian Inquisitions
  • Thirty Years War (1618-48) involved much of
    Europe over Roman/Protestant control
  • English Civil War (1641-51)

Questions of Re-Formation Darwin, Freud, and the
Power of Myth
  • Modern Science as major challenge to story and
    imagination in place since post-Reformation
  • Darwins Origin of Species, 1859
  • Faraday, Field Theory, 1851
  • Electromagnetic rotations and induction
  • Principles on which generators and transformers
  • No ether or matter as such
  • Light not from angels but a natural phenomenon
  • Changed ways of thinking, being, believing

Questions of Re-Formation (Contd)
  • Freud Opened questions of mind and self
  • Jung Extended explorations of self, collective
    unconscious influenced others
  • Campbell Disestablished Christian doctrine of
    particularity and exclusivity
  • New mass communication technologies made
    information available to all
  • Telegraph, radio, mass news, TV

Theological Changes Reactions
  • 1895 Conference of Conservative Protestants meet
  • Formulate principles of belief Fundamentals
  • 1950s on pioneering education, discussion via
    TV, common culture
  • Bishop Sheen
  • Televangelists
  • Joseph Campbell What of solus christus and sola

The New Self
  • Old theory of self existing somewhere in brain
  • Newer ideas of self merging with artificial
    intelligence existential questions
  • Self/brain/mind/I/soul/prayer/God/existence
  • Each time of reformation has same question
  • Where now is the authority?
  • No answers individual, societal chaos

Two Questions of Great Emergence
  • What is human consciousness what makes us
  • How can we live as religious persons in a world
    of many religions?
  • We cannot have truly entered into stability until
    we have answered both questions
  • Both questions are in widespread, open discussion
  • All participants are products of 20th Century
    major cultural changes must be examined

The Century of Emergence Einstein, Autos, and
Marginalization of Grandma
  • Einstein dominates 20th Century in many areas,
    including religion
  • 1905 Published 4 papers that changed our
    consensual illusion forever
  • Quanta or bundles of light proven - later quantum
    physics - no angels, but natural laws
  • Brownian motion described quantitatively - proof
    of molecular activity - proof of existence of
  • Special Theory of Relativity - no absolutes in
    space or in time - all depend on observer
  • Matter and energy not separate but equivalent

Heisenberg and Uncertainty
  • Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle came out of
    Theory of Relativity
  • Uncertainty the only fact that could be
    accepted as fact in both popular mind and
  • Literary deconstruction no absolute truth all
    relative to the perceiver
  • All writing sacred or secular has no innate
    meaning outside of reader

Battle of The Book
Looking for the Real Jesus
  • Sola scriptura already damaged before Einstein or
  • What if Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus of Western
    history are not the same? Reimarus, 1770s
  • The Quest for the Historical Jesus, Schweitzer,
    1901 marks the end of an era and opening of
  • Midcentury finds and methods changed how most
    view the Gospels
  • Jesus seen as much as guru and sage as God

More Einstein, more outcomes
  • 1915-16 General Theory of Relativity
  • Understanding of time as a fourth dimension,
    capable of slowing
  • Ongoing expansion of universe Big Bang
  • Human space exploration
  • Biblical literalism based on inerrancy given a
  • Divine authority of Scripture decentralized,
    turned into pick-and-choose bazaar
  • Where now is our authority?

Enter Pentecostalism
  • 1906 Black LA preachers new doctrine that
    Spirit gifts are accompanied by speaking in
  • Azusa Street Revival spread like wildfire in US
    and world
  • 2006 500 million Pentecostalists 2nd only to
  • Church of all classes, races, genders
  • Worship style influenced others, especially

Beginnings of Pentecostalism
  • African-American community was largest
    untheologized community spirituality
  • Black spiritual experience and contact with
    divine have been central since before Azusa
    Street mainstream since then
  • Assumes direct contact with God and direct agency
    of Holy Spirit
  • Spirit takes precedence over Scripture
  • First answer to Where is authority? - Spirit
  • ¼ of emergents are Pentecostal by heritage or

Leaving Grandma in the Rearview Mirror
  • 1908 First popular mass-produced US car
  • Freed Americans from ties to home, family,
    community, church
  • Changed Sabbath forever to Sunday shopping,
    errands, sports took precedence over church and
    family gatherings
  • Grandma was enforcer of biblical learning,
    church attendance, generational ties

The Influence of Karl Marx
  • Published Communist Manifesto in 1848
  • Built on ideas of Hegel dialectical materialism
  • Opposites exist only when in opposition
  • When conflict if resolved, the two synthesize
  • All of life is a becoming, never a being
  • All creation part of some Absolute that is
  • Marx State must be supreme all other forms of
    authority must cease to exist for people to
  • Das Kapital, 1867 Owners always looking to make
    goods more cheaply on the backs of workers
  • Workers would revolt, which must be prevented
  • State should own all things, keeping ownership
    from individuals

Marxs Influence (contd)
  • Communist/socialist authority in conflict with
    religion and Reformation concepts
  • Human responsibility, worth, purpose
  • Others argued for a proto-secular humanism what
    is best for most
  • Midcentury churches took over in socializing
  • Building programs for meeting halls, gyms
    encouraged uniformity of belief
  • Not same as belief in God

The Spiritual Strand and A.A.
  • Children of 40s, 50s spiritual but not
  • Growth of AA, other groups after 1935 encouraged
    people to choose your own concept of God/Higher
  • Leap from doctrinal to experiential
  • Wounded as better healers than experts,
    authorities, clergy
  • Revived small-group dynamic

Strangers and Countrymen
  • 1965 Immigration and Nationality Services Act
  • Long memories of cheap labor imported from other
    countries Asians targeted
  • Wars opened Asia to US later, US to Asian
  • By end of Great Depression, Americans primarily
    urban with time and opportunities
  • Free time leads most to awareness of self,
    internal experience

A New Religion
  • Most mainline Christianity gave no religious
    vocabulary or practices
  • Asian immigrants brought Buddhism
  • Rich narrative of wisdom experience
  • Tranquil meditative tools unencumbered by
  • Insinuated itself into Christian and Jewish
  • Journey of the spirit did not require the baggage
    of religion

The Drug Age
  • For some, drugs offered different reality and
    adjusted perception of subjectivity
  • Again, American culture had taught little or
    nothing about spirituality
  • Experimentation became a way to encounter
    mystery, experience
  • Questioned nature of consciousness, further
    disorienting participants
  • Clear trajectory from Timothy Leary to the Great

The Erosion of Sola Scriptura
  • Years leading to Civil War had caused Scripture
    to be questioned by slavery opponents
  • Freedom, equality legally guaranteed if not
  • WWI and II called gender equity into question
  • Women got the vote seeds of Womens Movement
  • Divorce hurdle was overcome
  • Ordination of women, episcopacy
  • Gay rights as last challenge to biblical
  • When last fight is won, where will be the

The Corporeal Strand
  • Protestantism codified as a set of beliefs
  • Religious sensibilities that have assumed body,
    form, power CORPOREAL
  • Often exhibited in fights over hymnals, biblical
    translations, rituals
  • Race/gender/sexual preference have crossed
    barriers to become cultural fights
  • May be a sign we are nearing the end of focus on
    corporeal, perhaps to begin with moral

The Moral Strand
  • Roe v. Wade often cited as first sign of moral
    question What defines human?
  • Jack Kevorkian, mercy killing
  • Terry Schiavo was most recent major case to
    question difference
  • Inflict vs. permit death
  • Questions still open and debated

Technological Advances
  • Roman Catholic leadership
  • ¼ of todays emergents are of Roman Catholic
  • Impact of Vatican I II on all of Christianity
  • I Papal Infallibility origin, role of Scripture
  • II Ecumenism, interfaith dialogue, theology of
  • Medical advances ethical questions
  • Beginning end of life issues

Technological Advances (contd)
  • Impact of personal music devices
  • Changed expectations from performed to
    participatory music
  • Changes in political boundaries, loyalties
  • Money no longer sole basis of power
  • Information now holds power in most cases
  • Religious experience has moved from sacred to
    secular to electronic space
  • Internet connects without hierarchy, yet
    disconnects from local community

Technological Advances (contd)
  • Enables priesthood of all believers in ways the
    Reformers could not imagine
  • Huge implications for emergents
  • Opens information to all
  • Opens dis-information as well
  • No mentoring, formation, credentials
  • Rise of aggressive atheism in response to
    worldwide connectedness
  • Theodicy of natural and human-caused disasters,

Rosie the Riveter
  • Mobilization of troops and materials for WWII
    required women in war mfg. jobs
  • Over 20 million women worked in defense
  • Others cared for their children, did other
    related work
  • Peace sent most back to domestic oblivion
  • Restiveness from having had power
  • New technologies left much time, little to do
  • Role expectations of returning GIs, wives

Rosie the Riveter (contd)
  • Rosie increased social life in acceptable ways
  • Telephone contacts
  • Church volunteer work, fellowship
  • Young women had memory of a different upbringing
    power of women
  • Domestic, work, and social life would change
    forever as they came to adulthood

Family Reconfigured
  • 1960 Birth control pill changed womens options
  • Family planning
  • More equality in jobs
  • Smaller, later families
  • Two-income families
  • Child care elsewhere
  • Loss of mother role, traditional family
  • Where now is the basis for our social order?

Scriptures Place
  • GenX children no longer learned bible stories,
    morality at home
  • Scriptural ignorance results in two
  • Some eagerly seek engagement with it
  • Others ignore, avoid it send to attic with
  • Where is this all going?

The Great Emergence
  • Part I What Is It?
  • Part II How Did It Come To Be?
  • Part III Where Is It Going?

Part III Where Is It Going?
  • No one really knows we can only imagine,
    forecast possibilities
  • Like others before
  • A generalized social/political/economic/
    intellectual/cultural shift
  • Initiating in, but not limited to, Western
  • We speak of North American Christianity but other
    religions, areas involved as well
  • Emergence in UK 20 years ahead useful for our

Learning From History
  • After sale was over, Christianity readjusted,
    grew, and spread
  • Todays Emergents have spread
  • Geographically
  • Numerically
  • In depth
  • In passion
  • In belief of Christian call to brotherhood of all
  • New way of living out faith?

The Gathering CenterMany Faces of a Church
  • Early church first called Christian only when
    Barnabas and Paul were called to Antioch
  • Protestant name used at least 12 years after
    Luthers Theses
  • No way to pinpoint when, where, what history will
    see as emergent
  • Walter Rauschenbusch, 1907, first idd Western
    humanity in a revolutionary epoch as thorough
    as Renaissance and Reformation
  • Paul Tillich, 1950s, spoke of shifting times
    and shifting foundations

Sketching the Church
  • 1960s observers noted changes in a diagram a

Social Justice Christians
aka Mainline
aka Charismatic Pentecostal
Aka Fundamental
Changing Shapes
  • No longer fit neatly into boxes
  • Now more of a cruciform shape

Social Justice Christians
Changing Shapes (contd)
  • Locate self or community based on importance in
    Christian practice

Social Justice Christians
Intersections loose and flexible
Changing Shapes (contd)
  • Top Intersection between faith works
  • Where will you be at 10 AM on Sunday?

Social Justice Christians
Places on a spectrum rather than boundaries
Changing Shapes (contd)
Top Action more important than belief -

Social Justice Christians
Bottom Belief more important than what one does
- orthodoxy
The Gathering Center

Social Justice Christians
The Gathering Center (contd)
  • 20th 21st Century changes
  • Lifestyle from rural isolation to high-density
  • Labor from solitary to constant contact
  • Given that religion is relatively very important
    to Americans, it is natural that we should
    discuss it in both private working lives
  • Watercooler theology

Watercooler Theology
  • Conversation about God in public
  • Diversity in conversationalists about God
  • No longer just reserved for clergy
  • Open opinions on interpretations of current
  • Old divisions begin to melt, especially in four
    corners area
  • Finding empty spot or hunger or question or
    experience to talk about

Ubiquitous theology
  • Public, shared, and vital
  • Media age expedited communication and diversity
  • New center not quite Protestant or any other
  • Melange picked from each quadrant
  • Established churches could not accommodate
  • New faithful began meeting among themselves
  • House churches sprang up along with unlikely
    meeting places
  • All share incarnational characteristic Jesus is
    incarnate as is worship of the whole body

Centripetal Force
  • Gathers energy by bringing in more of its own
  • Swirling, mixing from quadrant to quadrant
  • Sweeping toward center
  • Expands in waves of influence
  • Results in new way of being Christian church
  • Predicted by scholars
  • Dismissed as generational by established churches

Error in Assessment
  • Denominations failed to account for rummage
    sale factor massive cultural shift
  • Culture had become post-everything
  • Modern
  • Denominational
  • Rational
  • Enlightenment
  • Literate
  • ???
  • No means of returning/no desire to do so

  • Major changes between inherited and emergent
    church result in backlash
  • Dramatic change perceived as threat to status quo
  • Fundamentalism (early 20th C.) one example
  • Reaction is not necessarily a bad thing
  • Scholars predicted _at_ 10 of born Christians would
    push back violently against center new diagram

The Rose

Social Justice Christians
The Rose was the symbol of the Great Reformation
Backlash Examples
  • Congregations, ecclesial units, individuals would
    aggressively dedicate resources to reversing all
  • Fallout from consecration of Bp. Robinson in
    Episcopal Church
  • Election of conservative Roman pontiff, local
  • Splintering of Presbyterian Church
  • Choosing sides unavoidable
  • Each quadrant develops reactionists, purists
  • Ballast against too-hasty changes in stormy sea

Surrounding Currents
  • Other sections of quadrants can be assigned by
    rough percentages
  • Exception Unknown emergent
  • Spectrum or sliding scale in widening ring
  • Ultimately 60 may be Emergent by the time the
    movement is mature
  • 30-35 neither Emergent or reactors

The Surrounding Currents

Social Justice Christians
Surrounding Currents
  • Flexible, open boundary lines
  • Outer corners peopled by persuaded quadrant
  • Inherited church of parents, grandparents
  • Lend stability to faith in transition
  • Will accommodate to and assist gradual change
  • Will participate in realignments across sectarian

Re-Traditioning Christians
  • 1 ring closer to center
  • Choose to stay with inherited church but wish to
    make it more fully what it was
  • Fond refurbishers want to fix live in it for
    all time
  • Increase comfort, beauty, welcome to all
  • Their task is the most remarkable, arduous, and
    richest of all

Progressive Christians
  • 1 track closer to center
  • Want to maintain position in institutional
    Christianity yet give up controlling doctrine,
  • Remain within Protestant communions
  • Seek to adapt to realities of postmodernity
  • Remodelers, not refurbishers open place up
  • Def Believes in loving God, neighbor, self
    thinks that 2 out of 3 aint bad Eric Elnes

  • Nearest to center
  • Names bear literal or implied hyphens
  • Presby-mergents, Anglo-emergents
  • Meth-emergents, Luth-emergents, etc.
  • Now losing the -
  • Most schizophrenic of circles most vibrant,
  • Tear down the house on Grandpas land build anew
  • Most difficult to predict future

7. The Way AheadMapping Fault Lines and Fusions
  • Different Bases of Authority
  • Left of vertical axis has different base of
    authority than the right
  • Left (all in tension) Right
  • Scripture sola scriptura
  • Spirit scriptura sola
  • Liturgy
  • Apostolic tradition

The Bases of Authority (a)
Social Justice Christians
Orthodoxy Orthopraxy

Orthonomy and Theonomy
  • Numbers diminishing for traditionalists
  • Orthopraxy (right practice) remains in upper
  • Orthodoxy (right doctrine) in place for lower
  • Emergence grows occupies no quadrant comes
    from all of them
  • Open space on both sides of vertical axis

The Bases of Authority (b)
Social Justice Christians
Orthodoxy Orthopraxy

  • New word coined from ancient Greek
  • Ortho correct nomy naming harmony, divine
  • correct harmoniousness
  • Employment of purity to discern truth
  • Many emergents confused about arguments over
    exact historicity, doctrine
  • Must be true since it is so beautiful

Orthonomy Keatsian Heresy?
  • Beauty is truth and truth beauty /
  • Beauty in the eye of the beholder
  • Action or object not divine or authoritative just
    because of its beauty or harmoniousness
  • Emergents on right side of axis use a word of
    their own theonomy
  • Greek theos God nomy
  • Only God can be the source of perfection
  • How best to understand Gods meaning?

Networked Authority
  • New Christianity/emergent church must discover
  • Authority base
  • Delivery system
  • Governing agency
  • Must find something other than Luthers sola
  • Seen as insufficient, outmoded

Historical Authority
  • Church has always utilized ideological currents
    of culture in general
  • Early church copied Romes governance
  • Under Gregory churchs authority was administered
    through monasteries and convents in similar
    hierarchical order
  • Roman church defined authority in single
    position system of kings, lords of
    pre-Reformation culture
  • Reformation created democratic theology of
    priesthood of all believers elected leaders

Emergent Authority?
  • Scripture-and-community combined network theory
    (math, physics, Web)
  • Church more of a network than an entity
  • Self-organized system of relations between parts
  • Each part of smaller networks in complex levels
  • Each is a working piece as long as connection
    remains intact
  • No one part or network has entire truth
  • Crowd sourcing total egalitarianism

New Concept of Church
  • Egalitarianism respect for worth of each
  • Indifference to capitalism, individualism
  • Becoming the church discovering what it means
    that the kingdom of God is within
  • Each person a bit of a much grander network
  • Established leaders, scholars, priests have only
    human understanding
  • Message will flash to, from remote parts of
    network and be tempered by community

What Is Emergent/Emerging Church?
  • A conversation bottom-up vs. top-down
  • Global no barriers as to nationality, race,
    class, economic status
  • Radical relational, non-hierarchical,
    post-democratized form of Christianity for the
  • Impetus in the secular emergence
  • Theory and tools found in theology, experience of
    quadrants plus one group

A Gift from the Quakers
  • Early support in conservative quadrant
  • Lacked flexibility to shift to new model
  • Quakers belong in no quadrant
  • Proto-network theory in interplay of
    revelation, discernment, Scripture, governance
  • Recent writers described different approach to
    spirituality and orderly being
  • (Richard Foster, Parker Palmer, J. Brent Bill),
    John Wimber of Assn. of Vineyard churches)

A Gift from the Quakers (contd)
  • I believewe are witnessing a new reformation
    challenging not doctrine the the medium. These
    new paradigm churches have discarded many of the
    attributes of established religioncreating a new
    genre of worship music, restructuring the
    organization, and radicalizing the principle of
    the priesthood of all believers.-- Donald E.
    Miller, Firestone Professor of Religion, USC,

Center Set and Bounded Set
  • Dont always fit into established churches or
  • Often dont fit the community from which they
  • Center-set let people sort out by how close they
    want to get to the center
  • Assumes something other than rules holding things
  • Presence of rules assumes some authority,
  • Bounded-set defining whos in, out

Center Set and Bounded Set (contd)
  • Believe-behave-belong fits bounded-set Roman
    Catholicism, historic Protestantism
  • Requires adherence to beliefs, conduct
  • Belong-behave-believe reverses process
  • Occurs in center-set approach
  • One can belong and can seek more
  • Will begin to behave in a different manner not
    imposed by rules
  • Behavior shapes belief until both are one

  • Emergence thinking often critiqued as
  • Postmodern/emergents recognize paradox in life
    and logical thinking
  • Logic suffers from sufficient perspective
  • Meta-narrative also product of human thought
  • Narrative speaks truth to the heart so it may
    inform the mind
  • Markedly different principle of human
    organization and understanding

The Problem With Constantine
  • Growing distrust for precepts, teachings of
    post-Constantinian church
  • Doctrine formalized at his direction
  • Theology shifted from Judaic wholistic concepts
    of life and structure
  • Became Hellenized dualism, Greco-Roman cultural
  • Body evil, suspect soul separate, good
  • Salvation concept went from how to live out Gods
    will to a guaranteed ticket to Paradise
  • Great Emergence about restoring wholeness to
    Christian life

Future Possibilities
  • Great Emergence may rewrite Christian Theology
  • Atonement, origin of evil up for question
  • New theology may be more embodied, paradoxical,
    narrative, mystical than before
  • Roman, Protestant communions will need to adjust
    to massive changes
  • Protestantism will have major impact
  • Will need to assume greater collegiality

Not Easy To Discern
  • How will the Great Emergence interface with
    results, consequences of realignments?
  • How will Emergents themselves consider resulting
  • The growing emergent movement must be intentional
    about faith and what it is to become
  • Once-inocuous movement no longer is

The Emergent Mission
  • The church became a place to go
  • Let us make it a people to be.