So the blog buzz over the weekend were the anti-emergent motivational posters
and then Emerging Grace's beautiful response
. She took what was an attempt to tear down others, and focused on the true message of the gospel. I found the anti-emergent set to be disturbing and cruel and not just because I disagree with the sentiments they express. Some of them just completely miss the point of the emerging conversation which I hope is the result of ignorance and not malicious misrepresentation (one can always hope right?), but others demonstrate seriously harmful attitudes of prejudice and intolerance. While of course many who like these posters are the types that uphold intolerance as a Christian virtue (its all about the hate man), they so miss the point of the Christian message it's not even funny.
For example the following two posters were created to ridicule emergent and anyone who is not a middle aged white middle class yuppie -
The unspoken assumption that those people are crazy, they are wrong, and that they need to change is heartbreaking. It made me recall a few years ago on The Ooze
when I got into an argument with one of the many men who post there in order to tell the rest of us why we are wrong. He was going off about how dress codes in schools are good things because khaki pants and polo shirts really are the most appropriate clothing for everyone. As he saw it, yuppie middle class white America males are the majority in the world and therefore make the most godly choices (flawless logic of course) . All people (of any culture or ethnic group) should emulate him in how they dress if they are to be good Christians. He was serious. And he got really pissed when I mentioned that his ideas were racist, classist, ageist, and sexist among other things. It's great if he personally wants to dress a certain way and worship a certain way, but to assume that we all have to become like him in order to be real Christians is not only absurd but it is hurtful to the millions of people who don't fit inside his myopic view of Christianity. To say that the people in these posters cannot really have an authentic relationship with Jesus until they change their appearance and taste in music is one of the most sad warpings of the Gospel I have ever heard.
I love the poster Emerging Grace created in response -
If the Gospel is truly good news, then it is good news for this person right now. Not after he gets his life straight and comes to church looking like he just came from the golf course, but right where he is at. And the gospel is good news for people no matter the length of their hair, the number of piercings or tattoos the have, or if their clothing is made from hemp or stain-resistant wrinkle free cotton/polyester blend. The gospel is relevant to all people. That is the message of Jesus Christ, so its really no big surprise if it happens to be the message of some in the emerging church (or anyone in the entire history of Christianity for that matter).
and Ken Silva
can use the emerging church as the butt of their jokes if making fun of people is what entertains them, but I want to go on record here in asking them to stop making fun of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Labels: Church, Culture, Emerging Church