Thursday, May 26, 2005

More on the emerging church

A few days ago I received this comment from Dan Kimball, author of The Emerging Church in reference to my blog entries regarding his book. First of all, thanks, Dan, for taking the time to engage in a discussion on this. I’m thrilled that you noticed my blog!

Since some of my readers may not have seen his comment I’ll quote it in its entirety here:

hello --

this is Dan K. - i think you are misreading the intention of what i wrote there. i agree with what you are saying, but that was actually the point of why i wrote that. i was saying that in the modern contemporary church, we DID isolate ourselves and remove any form of liturgy or historical forms of worship. so when i began adding some more mainline traditional expressions of worship things to our worship gathering, i had no idea that other contemporary churches who began rethinking church, were also doing the same. my point was to show how isolated in thinking and disconnected from the "traditional church" most of them are. but we are now rediscovering what others have been doing all along, outside of most megachurches who primarily only use very contemporary expressions of worship.

So, it wasn't to say that we thought we were original, it was to say that we in the contemporary church have been naive and ignored traditional church forms of worship. to my surprise, we discovered others were doing it all along, not that we were saying we were the first to think of it.

make sense?


This puts a different spin on the discussion. I think that part of my problem is the term “vintage worship” that Dan uses throughout the book. I may have not read it carefully enough but I’m not sure that he defines that term anywhere. Coming at this book having read Ancient Future Faith by Robert Webber I saw Kimball’s “vintage worship” as apparently MUCH older than he seems to be indicating in his comment to me. And, frankly, I’m not sure I misread it. His line about being “the first protestants to use candles…” may have been hyperbole and it may have been tongue-in-cheek but that doesn’t indicate a wide knowledge of the more traditional denominationally based churches that have been flourishing in the US for the past decades. (By flourishing, I don’t mean 10,000 members but more like 200 – like the church I attend.)

I think Kimball is right that many (dare I say “most”?) leaders in contemporary mega-churches have isolated themselves from the larger, more historical church to their detriment. Many seem to have a sense of history that goes back no further than Rick Warren or Bill Hybels. It is ironic (although Brian McLaren would say absolutely predictable) that the most successful churches in terms of numbers had thrown off the very things that would allow them to connect with the next generation of young people.

1 comment:

o1mnikent said...

Posts like this are reasons I read blogs.