Aaron Flores on Post-Emerging Church: The Integral Church

I think Aaron has a really great post on this topic, as you will see at the end of my post. I am wondering just how comfortable anyone ever is being “lableled” within certain church movements, denominations, theological strands, etc., when you know there are always people that are a part of it that you don’t agree with, whether it’s a strong or mild disagreement. Some come to the place where they are no longer content with where the movement has come to, and want to push forward, while others stay in it. When a term becomes a catch-all for everything it no longer defines or holds the truths or ideas that it at one point had set out to do. Hence, Andy Jackson coining the term emergentising.

The reality is that some who hold Reformed views don’t like everything coming out of the Reformed camp. Some who are Southern Baptist don’t like everything coming out the Southern Baptist camp. Some who are PCUSA don’t like everything coming out of the PCUSA camp. Aaron is not saying this as you will see in the post below, but I think we all wrestle with how we are identified by others. And being a Christian means we are going to be identified in many ways…some that we find acceptable and some that we do not.

I still buy into what Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions says about paradigm shifts:

“The pre-paradigm period in particular, is regularly marked by frequent and deep debates over legitimate methods, problems, and standards of solution, though they serve rather to define schools than to produce agreement…….Novelty emerges only with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a background provided by expectation.”

I think that many in the “emergent” camp find themselves in this predicament as debates over methods, problems, solutions, etc. are being worked through. I think some embrace what is happening, while others do not find it sufficient, or that it speaks to what they originally had resonated with. I think that “emergent” is a step along the way towards a more fuller expression of what we may see in the Church in the future. What that will look like, I am not sure though. But I think “emergent” is only part of the growing pains of the Church as it wrestles with what it means to be the Church.A

Anyways…here’s the real reason I posted. Below is Aaron’s post:

I have to admit that I’ve been feeling a bit, more and more, post-emergent. Others have their reasons, but mine happen to be purely for the fact that “emerging/emergent church” means so many things to so many different people that I no longer feel comfortable identifying myself as easily part of it. On the same note, I see a tremendous amount of worth in the conversation/movement and pray the emerging church is an impetus to something more.

When asked if my church is an emerging church, I generally say “No or Maybe.” It just depends on what someone means by emerging church and then even if I agree with their definition, “Maybe” is the best answer they’ll get. I responded the other day to someone that we are a balance between the contemporary and emerging. Not all that true either. We are really not at all contemporary. It is just, I do not know how to explain and at the same time seeking to be more holistic to past and present expressions of Christianity.

Perhaps, I have a vision for being an Integral Church and maybe, this is what some of us mean by being post-emerging. Integral means comprehensive, inclusive, nonmarginalizing, embracing. An integral approach to Christian spirituality is inclusive of as many perspectives, styles, methodologies, orthodoxies, traditions, etc. as possible within a “coherent view.” I wrestle with the possibility that there are only two paradigms for being the Church – the old vs. the new. In this way, integral approaches or expressions of Church can be “meta-paradigms’, or ways to draw together an already existing number of separate paradigms into an interrelated network of approaches that are mutually enriching.” (Thought As Passion)

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