Emerging: Simple Folks Version

Language is a tricky thing. If I was talking with my former roommates and said ýthe good entrance to the mall,ţ they would know I was talking about an entrance at Washington Square where one steps to the left into Starbucks* or to the right into Cinnabon or a step further to Jamba Juice**. On Sunday mornings we would pile into one of our cars, clad in sweatshirts and pajama pants and slippers, and drive thirty minutes to ýthe good entranceţ to get food for the day: coffee, a cinnamon roll, and a smoothie (we were on a carbs-only diet – probably the reason Atkins was created). The reason my roommates would know what I mean when I say ýthe good entranceţ is because weÝve experienced it.

Same things happens when trying to understand the meaning of one word: generally I comprehend when itÝs related to my own experience. In AP English my teacher taught us the word ýcathartic,ţ but we didnÝt really get it until after one of our classmates came in and yelled about how unfair some assignment was – she went into great detail about how it was too much work, how too many other classes were asking for the same stuff, and how life was just too crazy as a senior. When she slumped into her chair after her tirade, the teacher asked, ýFeel better?ţ ýYes.ţ ýThen what youÝre feeling in catharsis – you unloaded, and now you can move on.ţ

Scot McKnight has posted an article on the emerging church. Andrew Jones posted a quote from it. I thought it sounded good, and then I realized I didnÝt really know what was being contrasted/what was different. I looked up words, but they all seemed to be related. So I asked some friends for a translation:

Okay, so here’s a definition of “emerging” . . . except I don’t get it. ­čÖé What’s the difference between eccelsiology and theology (in practical terms, pleaseandthankyou)?

And Gregg responded, cause heÝs nice like that:

Eccelsiology is the study or practice of how we do church. What makes the church, “the church”? What’s its purpose, what are its practices, what does it do, etc. It’s technically a subset of theology, the study of everything
about God.

So in the case of the definition, I think it goes something like this:

The EM is a way of doing church that is shaped most by a missional focus, (an attempt for the church to do what God is doing in the world), that seeks to unite Christians for the sake of unleashing the gospel to change the world, rather than a set of particular beliefs about God that is designed to get people to believe certain things about God.


I *love* people who get the BIG stuff and can translate it to me in terms that I can associate with an experience (because apparently thatÝs how I process information). AND I donÝt feel dumb. ThatÝs always nice, too. But now, after thinking about “the good entrance,” I’m hungry. And my hubby’s got worship practice after work: stink.

*Did you know they just came out with a new drink? I must’ve sensed a tremor in the Javasphere, because during the ETC (one moment when I wasn’t theologically in tune), I wondered why they don’t call Caramel Macchiatos just “Macchiatos” because they had already twisted the original recipe so much and they didn’t have any other versions. But St. Arbucks knew: and they almost made me look like a fool . . . almost. After my wandering thoughts, I spent time trying to remember how to spell Macchiato – ah, mama of wee brain.

** Do you remember when it was Zuka Juice? My dad has cups with that logo on them – vintage, I tell you.

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