As society shifts toward postmodernism, are we leaving behind our religion? Emergence (Progressivism; Postmodernism) is not a religious construct. It affects EVERYTHING, including religion. We see Emergence in New Atheism, Politics and everywhere else (even down to your grocery aisles). I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful emerging faith community called Church in the Now Midtown, here in Atlanta that maintains some of the beauty of my past religious experiences including wonderful preaching and semi-charismatic praise and worship.
But, as I talk with other folks in other cities around the world, I find that our church is not the norm. We are an extraordinary congregation. We meet twice a week. Our worship service is on Thursday nights and on Sunday afternoons, we share a meal together. But what makes us different is that we are a mixed congregation. Some are gay. Some are straight. Some are white. Some are black. Some are single. Some are married. We joke that if you picked two people out of our congregation, you couldn’t find two similarities between them.
But let me say this: I love Jesus. But, I also love my evangelical roots. And I’m at a church that preaches sound Christian doctrine and embraces a tinge of Evangelicalism. We even call our message “Good News” and we MEAN it. And, if you didn’t know our pastor was gay and that we’re hopeful Universalists, you might think we were an Assembly of God church plant (for a few minutes).
But I see a lot of my friends leaving their Evangelical roots and running for the Mainline Church. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mainline. Their services read like poetry. Their liturgy is beautiful and they have a rich tradition all their own which is appealing. But sometimes a brother just needs a praise-break. Sometimes, I might need to jump or raise my hands during worship and know that that’s okay.
So, it discourages me to see young folks (as we shift toward Post-modernism) abandoning their roots. As we’re moving toward progressivism, are we also moving towards ONE church? One Church is a beautiful thing, but I want my folks to remember their history. I want my Baptists to love the Scriptures. I want my Pentecostals to speak in tongues. I want my Espicopalians to sing their homilies. I want my Catholics to pray like there’s no tomorrow. The test of Emergence won’t be if we can all merge into one denomination. The test of emergence will be if a Baptist, a Catholic and a Pentecostal can serve together, while holding onto their roots. The test of emergence will be if a black gay man and straight white woman can work beside one another to feed the hungry.
I LOVE JESUS AND I LOVE MY RELIGION.