29 May 2008

Kimball: The Emerging Church

Reading Dan Kimball's The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations and, much to my dismay, loving it. Dan is a pastor in California of this church and this is his blog.

He does not throw the baby of theology out with the bathwater of stagnant orthodoxy and seeker-senstivie superficiality. In fact, one of the surprises in reading this book was realizing that he is reacting much more to the seeker movement than anyone else. He is also more self-critical than some in the conversation.

Here's a particularly encouraging part, putting its finger on one of the very concerns that has come up in my mind recently as I've been reading McLaren, Pagitt, Sweet, and Jones. Kimball writes that at a conference he was at, as he was contributing to a panel discussion,

as I watched the eager pastors and leaders writing down our ideas in their notebooks, I felt unsettled, even a little frightened. I suddenly realized that if we were not careful, we could easily end up creating the very thing we are trying to avoid.

Our hope is that the emerging church will break out of the consumer Christian mentality. Our aim in making a worship gathering more experiential is that people would participate in the service rather than remain spectators. Experiential and interactive worship, in addition to the teaching that occurs, is a refreshing practice that resonates with those being raised in this culture. . . . But if we focus too much on creating cool and creative experiences for our worship gatherings--if most of our time is spent figuring out how interactive art can be incorporated in the service or what dance we can use or what meditative visuals would look good on the screens or what candlelit prayer situations we can design--we may well end up in the same consumer Christian trap. . . .

Woe to us in the emerging church if we do not keep balance and perspective. (112)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It's a great quote.