Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The post-church

I hear a lot of opposition to the so-called "postmodern" or "emergent" church movement. I understand there is concern for weak doctrine, cheap grace and relativism, but I think there's mostly a fear of change.

I'm not trying to defend the emerging church at all. What I'm trying to get at is community. This generation is yearning for something new. We want real community, real worship, real service. We're sick of the "Christian" subculture that is marketed for sale.

But the modern church structure is battling against these needs, trying to stick with the old structure - the structure that is modeled after secular businesses, not first-century communities. I remember when one local college/career group set up non-traditional worship stations encouraging attendees to worship through expressive means such as art, prayer and meditation. The church-parent stopped that practice within a month.

But the "church" we have now is not traditional itself, it was created in the 70s when the last generation rebelled from the previous generation's worship structure. They played guitars, they didn't wear ties - they even created something called "pre-tribulation" eschatology.

This next generation doesn't have a strong devotion to any denomination. Right now I could go to any denomination congregation and have no idea what set them apart, they're all focused on families, moralism, and don't teach doctrine and have a soft-focus on the gospel. But our generation loves orthodoxy, and orthopraxis. We appreciate the traditional methods of fellowship and worship. We want doctrine and mystery, somewhat of a paradox but also in the tradition of the monastics of the past.

But what do we do? I'm personally sick of the spirit of schism which broke the catholic church in two and then later caused the protestant schism which itself brought dozens of smaller schisms. Now we have several churches in this valley who broke off from other churches, and the process continues. I don't want to break off, that's contrary to the community I so want.

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