I started reading a new book this week and have been reminded of how I’ve gotten to where I am right now.  Now mind you, I’m only a little more than a chapter into Tony Jones’ “The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier”, and while I don’t stand shoulder to shoulder with Tony on his beliefs, the how’s and why’s of emergent are very similar to my own journey. 

That last sentence just turned a lot of people off. 

1.       It has Emergent (Emergent Village) – a controversial 21st-century Christian movement whose participants seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched
2.       It has Tony Jones – the National Coordinator for Emergent Village
3.       Did I mention it has Emergent in it?

This new book is an attempt to explain why Emergent came about and some of the things that they do and do not believe.  Typically, I would have passed this by as another book moving farther away from the history of the modern church, but the reviews on Amazon piqued my interest.  I’m not going to quote any of them because I would suggest reading them all.  You’re likely to agree with them all on some point made within the course of the book.  Some as passionately as the reviewer and some as a passing “whatever” or “yep”.  I remember just how alone I felt as I began to venture beyond the typical American church experience and I was lucky enough to be traveling with a couple of other people that shared my disdain.  We grabbed hold of many of the Emergent figureheads and hung on their teachings and writings because they were the only ones that seemed to be making any sense.  Not because they were presenting answers, but they were at least open to asking questions.  This book is doing a great job (so far) of reminding me of those early struggles and realizations.  It’s also bringing me back to some topics that remain unresolved and pushed back into the corners of my mind. 

Maybe you don’t feel at home in a church… even though you grew up in one and know how to work the system.  Maybe you’re the person that everyone stops and stares at when you walk in.  Maybe you sing the songs, listen to the sermons, sit in your life group week in and week out, but it doesn’t have any impact on what you do the other five or six days of the week.  Or maybe you’re perfectly at home in the church bubble and can’t figure out how or why anyone wouldn’t feel welcomed into the church in America.  If any of these ring true, then I think Tony’s book might be a good read for you. 

And in the meantime, from now until the time you get your copy, here’s a link to a series of blog posts that will serve as a great primer about emergent.  http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/02/25/would-the-real-emerger-please-stand-up-complete/

much love,
– mark