10.28.2004

Stupid Wars- The Machine vs. Newbies

It is an interesting situation that we have in our so-called "western" world of Christianity. We have a fight going on between the emerging church and the institutional church. If you listen to the sides involved on each team you would think that the fight is about structures, systems, and other important things. But when you look at how each of these groups "do" church, they look amazingly similar.
The problem is that this war has been too categorized. First of all, the categories of types of churches is very hard to define-- mainline, fundamentalist, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, evangelical, charismatic, pentecostal, emerging, postmodern, alternative, house, etc.
I grew up in a very conservative, fundamental, independent, 250 member Baptist church. My wife grew up in a evangelical megachurch of 3000. We went to college at a conservative, evangelical Christian university. I then worked for a small, evangelical rural church in Indiana. After that, my wife and I moved to the heart of the 2nd wave charismatic renewal movement-- Tulsa, OK where my wife worked for Oral Roberts University and I worked for a large, conservative non-denominational Charismatic mega-church. Now, we are in Fresno where my wife works for a small mennonite brethren college and I work for a midsize mainline slightly evangelical church who has a senior pastor who is really into the missional church approach, where we have a emerging/alternative/contemplative ancient-future worship service/community.
And then there is just me-- a moderate, postmodern Christian who works in the institutional church but whose expertise is in the emerging, postmodern deal.
Why am I saying all of this... the reason is that in my experience the institution and the emergent is hard to define.

1 comment:

  1. Was I ADD today? Well, I was fidgety, many things to do and I found the presentation today to be so...well...institutional with a capital "I". I just couldn't sit there for long. I tried. Really. And it maybe an unfair caracatur given my limited time at the conference. But talk about institution. Jeez, the pastor has a study assistant and worship planning is done with a team of half a dozen or more full time professionals. Talk about disconnected from the real worlds of most of the rest of the world. His stories didn't even connect with the ordinary person in America. It seemed to me that every single illustration was drawn from a massive institution that looked more like Microsoft than the average American church. Leaves most pastors/worship leaders lusting for a different church experience. Peterson calls that "ecclesiastical pornography." Please tell me that it was better than this.

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