30 August 2006

More light on the emerging church?

Preparing for the Post-Christendom Era -- a little more light on this "emerging church" thing?

Father Jake takes a look at "Post-Christendom", and refers to the Christian tradition in the Western world. It's an important qualification, but I'm not sure that the qualification is made clearly enough. Is "post-Christendom" the same as "postmodernity", or is it merely a part of it?

I feel the same unease as I felt when discussing Lesslie Newbigin's "The gospel and our culture" idea a few years ago at a missiological conference. What is "our" culture, and who are "we"? The proponents of the "gospel and our culture" movement seemed to be making a lot of assumptions that they were reluctant to state or examine at all. And there seems to be the same thing in this "emerging church" discussion -- perhaps it is just a new term for the Lesslie Newbigin thing, which "emerged" while I wasn't looking.

The first question it raises is "What is the Western world?"

Is it the geographical region of Western Europe and North America?

Or is it cultural, rather than geographical?

And since much of the world is multicultural nowadays, perhaps it might be better to speak in terms of postmodernity rather than postchristendom.

Or it might be better to talk in terms of Huntington's "civilizations", though deven there I can identify with at least three -- Orthodox, African and Western.

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