Vacation and traveling a little bit has been wonderful. I have enjoyed my time talking with people and hearing what is going on with them. We just got back from Minneapolis last night where we visited some friends of ours. I wish the trip wasn’t so quick but we had fun. We attended a multi-ehtnic church (pastored by Efrem Smith, one of the authors of “Hip-Hop church”). It was a cool experience.
So again, I bring up my thoughts on the emerging church (vacation has allowed me a good deal of time to process some of this) and its mission. Living in commnity is cool. Being real is cool. Being missional. . . that’s cool too. I’m all for loose structure, spontaneious spirtuality, and less instituationalization. But what aobut Eph. 2? “Christ has broken down every wall of hostility and believers now display a new humanity to the world of what it means to be a reconciled worshipful community” (my translation). If we’re going to live like Jesus and be truly missional, we certainly are going to see racial reconcilation. It troubles me that so much of what I read in the emergent movement is “white”. We can talk about our target culture or traget audience, or whatever. . . but Jesus loves everybody and all are welcome. How much sense does it make to be intentional about being missional and building community, living toegether, etc., yet be unintentioanl about building churches in mutiethnic areas that reflect true unity?. . . will we miss it again? I hope not. Here’s a cool article
There is a growing conversation happening about diversity or the lack of diversity in the emerging church conversation. Thankfully there are several people of color responding, and sharing their thoughts. So here are snippets from some of the conversations.
Over at the Ooze in a conversation about Seeking diversity in Emergent sacred narrative writes
“Maybe we study African Christianity and South American Christianity and Eastern Christianity and Mexican Christianity and tell those stories.”
I’d add the many facets of African-American and Afro Caribbean Christianity as well.
Another ooze conversation responds to a blog by Maurice Broddus on Black People in the conversation he writes
“In a lot of ways, the emergent church struck me as, well, the Christian equivalent of the grunge movement. A little subversive, a little edgy, and whole lot of white, middle class evangelicals trying to make Christianity look cool. In other words, originally I saw a lot of style over substance. However, once I dug a little deeper, read some of the foundational works, a lot of the substance of postmodernism resonated. I was left wondering how this would translate to black churches, wondering what an emergent African American church would look like or what a multi-cultural emergent church would look like. “
This is exactly how I feel sometimes about t Emergent. What we are trying to do at my church Mosaic Life is figure out and life out biblical emerging church values in a real multiracial faith community.
Jose over at cracked pots has this perspective on the diversity from the urban side of things
“i think you’re right about an urban presence. reverend ray rivera, executive director of LPAC (south bronx) will say that people want to “parachute into the city” and try to save us. it becomes less about being missional (coming along side), and more about the old-school, missionary mentality. my other question is how do we preach relocation, and for those who are already there to remain?”
And Finally Anthony smith at postmodern negro is exploring/imagineering the postmodern black church
“I want to be a part of Christian community…a local ekklesia. But I want to feel at “home”. Not in a consumeristic sense, but in a sense that it will challenge me, provoke me, encourage me, to be a part of the missio Dei or God’s mission of salvation in the Land. When I think about the kind of church community that would draw me…my imagination always goes to images like these. Am I crazy?”
This is how many of the spiritually searching people of color I know feel. I really do resonate with this. This is where I think Emergent has missed the boat.
I think is all boils down to creating new churches that speak this yearning. As my church planting coach (grandfather to biracial kids said on the need for diverse and new churches “my grandkids need churches that haven’t been started yet.”