There are lots of concepts and key words that have been reference points for those of us who have been following this emerging church ‘conversation’…
We live in world in flux. The personal angst seen in the popular culture of the sixties and seventies has found its way into the very structure of our society, and into our institutions. Everything is now questionable, everything is old and tired and broken down…
Another word we hear a lot is deconstructionism, a philosophical term first used by Jacques Derrida in the 1960s- who began to form a method of thinking about concepts that allowed him to get behind the assumptions and rationalisations that the modern world operated under. You can check out what wikepedia has to say about this stuff here.
I like this quote from John Caputo;
Whenever deconstruction finds a nutshell — a secure axiom or a pithy maxim — the very idea is to crack it open and disturb this tranquility.
The suggestion for we Christians is that not only are our institutions based on a whole set of modernist assumptions that are being challenged, but that the world we serve is likewise deconstructing itself about us, and we ignore this at our peril…
But here is another quote, culled from a useful article (here) by Alistair MacIndoe, from the Rock Church in Dumbarton.
And how long must it be before we learn that our task as Christians is to be in the front row of
constructing the post‐postmodern world? The individual existential angst of the 1960s has
become the corporate and cultural angst of the 1990s. What is the Christian answer to it? The
Christian answer is the love of God, which goes through death and out the other side. What is
missing from the postmodern equation is, of course, love.’
N.T. Wright 1
We Emerging types have used too many destructive words- perhaps even relished them, and the feelings of superiority this has given us.
But now the real work begins- the purpose that God gave was to go and tell people about Jesus- and (to paraphrase Francis of Asisi) if necessary, use words…
How we do this- how we start to tell again the stories of Jesus, and turn people again towards his beautiful way of living in these our complex times- this is for me to work out, with my community. So we turn to that other buzz-word at the moment-
But, I am convinced that God is creative, and seeks to make and remake, not to break down and destroy. And so for we, his servants, it seems clear that we should start the spiritual cement mixers, and fire up the brick kilns. Busy times are ahead.