The Next Wave
by JM Leary
The emerging church movement is happening, no matter what you call
it, and no matter how much you agree or disagree with it.
Many in my generation are facing one of the greatest and most unique
challenges in the history of civilization: absolute boredom. Everything is
already decided, everything has already been discovered. We can get
anything we want from the internet, and usually for free. Millions of
dollars are spent making sure that everything on television appeals to us as a demographic. We’re not interested in retirement or anything beyond what we can in front of us.
We are not pursuing ‘postmodernism’, we are exploring who we are, and discovering that there’s something our parents and teachers never told us about. Remember that the term is simply a way of describing what is happening. Don’t get your signals crossed. I am not pursuing postmodern thought, I am pursuing truth, and am doing so in a way which fits into what people have decided to call the 'postmodern' patterns of thought.
I have attended a church in one form or another my entire life. Since I
was 17, I have been asking questions that no one would answer. I have wondered at the ineffectiveness of Christianity in this country. I have cringed at the urbane attempts to duplicate the secular world.
To this day, I doubt I would call myself a member of the ‘emerging church’, but I will say that I have been asking the same questions and saying the same things they have, without knowing of their existence. And I know plenty of people just like me.
I have read so many articles trying to put Brian Mclaren and his band of
emerging ragamuffins in their place as a fad in Church history. That’s
just not the case. The youth in the church, the really passionate ones
that want to change the world for Christ, have been moving this way on their own. We’re tired of our parents divorcing, our pastors being only intellectuals and not activists, our churches feeling empty and cold, and having a thousand questions no one will answer.
To say this is a movement or a fad that will pass, is only to confirm what we, the next wave, or emerging church, or postmodern christians, have been saying. This wave will come and anyone not watching will be swept away to ineffectiveness. We are not trying to change the truth. We are trying to understand it, and finding that the explanations of our parents and our pastors falls short.
The critiques of emerging culture amount to little more than dogmatic
review. We are not saying Christ must change, or that Truth does not
exist. Rather we are saying that both are alive. If Christ is living, so
must be Truth. Truth is the relationship between ourselves and
I am emerging from my culture, a man of God. To do so, I have dropped the methodologies of my forefathers, and forgone religion altogether. Instead I have put my focus on the person of Christ, and those who follow Him. If that means I’m part of the ‘emerging church’ so be it, I’ll go wherever God and His people are.