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O.K. so here is my problem with a quote like this. I have just finished reading Eddie Gibbs and Mark Bulger's "Emerging Churches" and I really disliked it for the same reasons I dislike this quote.

I resent the fact that Emergent authors continue to describe themselves as having arrived at a new reality. In this case emerging churches "ARE willing to give up the need to predict the outcome of every encounter with absolute certainty. In fact, they kind of get a kick out of the shocking discoveries that emerge during the journey itself."

Wouldn't it be just a tad bit more humble to assert that comment as an ideal to which Emerging churches aspire. Or, are we saying that if you are not doing x or y you are not an Emerging Church? In that case, then doesn't the Emergent Church simply become the ideal or arrived Church?

In every Emergent book I have read its the same recipe over and over. "Constantinian churches are Y. Y is bad. Emergent churches are X. The values don't matter. Just insert something negative for Y and something positive for X. Its simplistic and arrogant don't you think? What kind of conversation is that?

To be fair Matt, Shults doesn't talk about THE emerging church in this he talks about Emergent Types, and is responding to the question "Why is the emerging church drawn to deconstructive theology?", so he is a) attempting to answer a question and b) straining for a hypothesis not writing a polemic or even an overview... He does say...

"In part this is attractive to ET because they (we) are embedded within a late modern generation that is open to difference in ways that (so it appears to us) our evangelical “parent” churches were not."

So he makes the concession that it may not be reality per se, but to do with perception... I think he is reporting what he percieves to be the reason for the attraction, so what Emerging types feel rather than what the actaulity may or may not be. TBH what he describes seems to fit the bulk of my experience of both the established and the emerging churches and people... but not every experience of either!

TBH I liked Gibbs and Bolger because they presented a wide variety of opinions and experiences of those 'leaders' or 'faces' within what has become known as the Emerging Church, rather than writing a book form a presonal position, it is research... in doing so they sought to draw out common themes rather than to propose a definition. But hey, we all see things differently! AND I completely agree with your penultimate paragraph!

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