It seems that the body of Christ is having a tough time naming its latest protuberance. What is this soft mass we’ve been calling the Emerging Church? It has been said to mean many things. It has been said to defy definition. It has been said to be so new (emerging) that we don’t know what it is yet.
Well, I believe I have it figured out. You are welcome to join the conversation. Here is the essential glossary of the emerging church.
An Essential Glossary of the Emerging Church
Emerging Church: n. comp. That which Christians do when they graduate from the youth group and wish to avoid the hymns in the big church. Synonym: “the intermediate state;” a.k.a., “childlessness.”
Conversation: v. intr. 1. Insistence that grown-ups listen to a relentless critique of institutionalized Christianity–which critique never occurs in conversation with grown-ups. 2. Refusing to reach a conclusion. 3. A period of silence and guided breathing. 4. See “sermon.”
Emerging Church Leader: n. prop. 1. A multiply-pierced soul-patched male who facilitates the “conversation” [q.v.]. 2. Could theoretically be a female [see “egalitarianism”] but none of national stature have “emerged” [q.v] to date.
Truth: [term not found]
Sermon: pron. see “conversation.”
Emergency: n. pl. emergencies. 1. The net effect of the emergent church. 2. A participant in the emergent church conversation.
Gospel: adj. 1. That which sets us free from the “tyranny of certainty.” 2. That which gives no offense. 3. It is expected, however, that emergencies [q.v.] give massive offense to generations of Christians who sacrificed to build the facilities in which emerging churches meet for daring to build buildings and orphanages and hospitals and missions. See “institutionalism.” Preaching the gospel: hugging somebody.
Jesus: n. pr. The westernized, parochial version of the way to God, though he himself was mideastern. Essential but optional. Already but not yet. Nothing can be said with certainty about his life except that we should imitate it but not insist that anybody else imitate it because that would be cramming our views down their throats. See “conversation.”
Salvation: adv. 1. Deliverance from institutionalized Christiandom into anti-establishment emergentism. 2. An arrogant claim to a connection with a posited supreme being, whoever he or she may be. 3. That which all nice people have regardless of religion, culture, faith, creed, or number of holes in their jeans.
Institutionalism: see “Unpardonable sin.” Synonyms: Modernism, modernist.
Postmodern: adj. “Spoiled,” as in “The postmodern person delays the onset of adult responsibility.”
Nu-monasticism: a way for churches to not pay their pastors a living wage, thus forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for their kids’ medical expenses through programs like Medi-Cal to the glory of Jesus.
The Cross: v. The act of clenching one’s fingers together and touching in sequence: a) one’s forehead, 2) one’s sternum; third) one’s left chest [except among the orthodox, in which case one’s right chest; last) one’s opposite chest.
Heaven: interj. 1. Earth. 2. The kingdom of God on earth. “Going to heaven:” having your needs met on earth. “Helping someone to go to heaven when they die:” making sure people are clothed and fed and sheltered.
Death: interog. 1. Why are you so focused on the next life that you’re no earthly good? 2. People aren’t asking that question. 3. No one is worried where they go when they die, and your looking up this definition only shows how you’ve corrupted Christianity into something about the next life instead of this life which is all-important.
Orthodoxy: pron. A fluid and all-inclusive set of non-beliefs, which, if held with passion, becomes evil, but if held “generously” would become God’s truth if he had communicated any truths, but he hasn’t so we have to keep the conversation going, because 2,000 years of study and dialog have not been enough to reach any conclusions with certainty. If you are not orthodox, you are a “modernist.”
Satire: the use of humor, irony, and exaggeration to critique a topical issue. Okay, now, let’s lighten up. As I’ve said before: Emergent theology: Not so hot. Emergent Methodology: Yes! I am Pro-Candle! Every generation needs to be evangelized on its own terms. Our kids will hate our church-style… we can’t afford to drive them away. So we have to encourage them and resource them to do church in their own language, their own style, wrapping the old-old, unchanging truths of Scripture in their own culture.
I just read: Mark Driscoll’s Vintage Jesus! One of the best reads on Jesus I’ve read in a long time. Two thumbs way up!
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Col 2:8.