What is the emerging church?

Brian McLaren is doing a sermon series on "What is the emerging church?" at his church. I listened to the first installment on the flight out to COTA. He admits to not liking the term "the" emerging church; it sounds divisive, he says. But groups like our little SEPA cohort are springing up, giving a much broader flavor to the emerging conversation:

"There is an emerging edge in many if not all sectors of the Church," he says, made up of people who "can't just stay stuck in the past" but want to "engage today's and tomorrow's world." As a result, there is "unprecedented dialog and fellowship across denominational lines."

McLaren doesn't focus on the presentation and style of "emerging church," but emphasizes Jesus' call to participate in the Kingdom of God. "Being a Christian at the end of the day isn't about doing church, it's about joining God in mission and in God's love for the world."

In Matt. 16, Peter went from naming Jesus as the Messiah to being told by Jesus, "Get behind me, Satan." Similarly the Church can slip into "playing on the wrong side" focsuing on itself -- its issues, its doctrines, its theologies -- rather than its role in the Kingdom, McLaren says.

"The Church always has to be open to renewal and correction," he says -- hmmm, sounds familiar. "We've got to keep open to being surprised by Jesus Christ."

Listen or get the podcast at http://crcctalks.blogspot.com.

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