Mark has an interesting conversation posted over at his blog. One thing I’m very thankful for is that my church is very open to trying new expressions of worship. The thing I find fascinating is that one of the issues was over candles. My church will begin lighting Advent candles this Sunday, as will many other churches that are the furthest thing from “emerging” that you could imagine. Now, my church will also do an Advent prayer station service at some point, so I guess we’re on that slippery slope.
In all seriousness though, I think that this may be driving home Art’s point. McLaren has written some amazing things. I understand, to a great extent, where he is coming from. But, as Art says, he’s a turn off to some (many?) in Evangelicalism™. I resonate with many of Brian’s criticisms, but sometimes I think the way he says things makes it more difficult for people like the youth worker in Mark’s post to do ancient-future kind of stuff. Of course, part of this problem is that as much as Art might be at least partially correct that Brian caricatures parts of Evangelicalism™, I think an equal (if not larger) part of the problem is that those within conservative circles caricature the entire emerging movement as somehow lead by Brian McLaren. As such they’re able to say, “See, McLaren is a horrible liberal! Therefore anything that falls under the emerging worship label is liberal! Therefore candles used in youth ministry are of the devil!” I realize that I might be using a little hyperbole there, but not much.
I long for the day when the church can love one another, and agree to disagree about many things. Sadly, I doubt that day will come before the Eschaton. Nevertheless, to those of us in the emerging/missional/ancient-future/post-evangelical sphere I say this: humility in all things. A reminder I need to hear myself as much as anyone else.