It is a "neotraditional" form of Christianity. Both the prefix and the noun are important. Neo" recognizes that it's recent, new; we haven't seen exactly this form before. "Traditional" recognizes that it's not simply new; rather, it is a reclaiming, a retrieval, a recovery, a "seeing again" of the most central elements of the Christian tradition. (Borg, Jesus, pp. 298-299).
Monday, April 30, 2007
Emergent and Emerging
The term "emergent" has become an important descriptor of a growing movement, largely within Evangelicalism. It is rooted in a post-modern reading of reality, it seeks to be open to new ideas and directions, recognizes the place of doubt, and recognizes the importance of tradition.
There is another term out there. It's similar but isn't as well known. It's "emerging" Christianity. It is a term used by and connected to Marcus Borg. In his newest book Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary, (HarperSanFrancisco, 2006) -- which is an Academy of Parish Clergy 10 Best Book -- Borg describes what emerging Christianity is. Now, I'll be reviewing the book on this blog and for APC, but I want to lay out this definition.
This movement is found in mainline Protestant churches and according to Borg:
As I'll point out in the review, Borg is keen on the importance of both "memory" and "metaphor." Tradition is a carrier of both the memories and the metaphors of faith, but as he is also keen to point out, they must be reexamined and reinterpreted if they're to be reclaimed by the contemporary church.
Borg is very complementary toward "emergent" Christianity and has appeared with Brian McLaren. Although there are significant differences, there seem to be significant points of contact between these two movements. Some, like me, find themselves positioned in between, hopefully able to benefit from the conversation with both.
I'll be posting more here about this and other thoughts from Borg's interesting and important book.