This post is about the fourth great rummage sale and that is the “Great Emergence”. In this post I am only giving you a small taste of the emergent movement In future posts we will look at just what the Great Emergence is and where it is going.
Lets start off this post again with some words by Phyllis Tickle in her book The Great Emergence:
The Great Emergence, like the Great Reformation or the Great Schism or the time of the Great Gregory or the Great Transformation, is a generalized social/ political/ economic/ intellectual/ cultural shift. Like its predecessors, this one too is a phenomenon initiating in the Western experience; though unlike the preceding reconfigurations, the Great Emergence is not limited to the Western world in its expectations, expression, or exercise. It suffers also from an unfortunate confusion of terms that its predecessors did not have to surmount.
As pointed out above the cultural trends that are pointing to the Great Emergence are spread far beyond the religious realm. Another important point made by this book is that this rummage sale, unlike those in the past, is not limited to just the western world. In fact many African and South American nations are at the forefront in this transformation. That in itself is very frightening to many of us here in the United States.
There is much trepidation in some current Christian denominations when the words “emergent church” are discussed. There is almost a panic among some as they see their spiritual life being extinguished. It should be pointed out again that as in the past the Great Emergence is not about shaking Christianity off its foundations but instead is about opening the blinds and letting new, and some not so new, light in.
Anyone who has read some of my posts of the last few months know that I believe the emergent movement will take the church back to its roots of “Being” instead of just “Believing”. In other words it will take us back to our roots but this time with a twenty-first century understanding. I will have much more to say about this in coming posts.
Lets close out this post with, again, some word from the book The Great Emergence.
One of the hallmarks of the Church’s semi-millennial rummage sales has always been that when each of the things was over and the dust had died down, Christianity would not only have readjusted itself, but it would also have grown and spread. Never has that principle been more operative than now. In the hands of emergents, Christianity has grown exponentially, not only in geographic base and numbers, but also in passion and in an effecting belief in the Christian call to the brotherhood of all peoples.
I am very aware that I have probably not began to cover the questions you might have about this movement. We will be getting to more of those in future posts. But for now I will be going on to some other topics, including the most important thing of all and that is the words of Jesus.