Emergent Village is in the midst of a transformation in its operations, a move its board announced Thursday after a year of what it terms a "discernment process."
Its announcement lays out a framework for the future of the Emergent "conversation." I've certainly been critical of aspects of the movement; I've always felt those involved in shaping its message are too willing to capitulate on areas of core Christian doctrine. I know, I know. Emergent is about being a safe place where hard questions can be debated without fear of repurcussion. I get it, and I think that's an admirable goal. I love Emergent's commitment to social justice, too. Its stance on global poverty is wonderful. I've met some truly great, loving Christians that are a part of the Emergent conversation.
Here's what scares me. "Many religious communities fear, shame, restrict and exclude people who ask questions, propose creative innovations, or open up new ways of thinking (emphasis mine.)" That's from Emergent Village's recent announcement. What exactly does this mean? Is such a statement purposely vague? I wholeheartedly agree that it's an unfortunate fact that many fundamental Evangelical communities fear, shame and even exclude those from their congregations who ask hard questions and propose creative innovations. But does "open up new ways of thinking" really mean "open up new ways of believing?"
It's a fine line between Emergent theology and Universalism, which to me is worse than atheism. At least atheists have the courage of conviction. Universalism--there's a great piece about it in the current issue of Relevant magazine, by the way--is, at best, flaky and, at worst, cowardly.
Now, I don't think there's anything cowardly about "friends of Emergent." But it's a slippery slope.
What are your thoughts? Are you a "Friend of Emergent?" Do you agree with its goals and mission? What are your thoughts on its recent announcement? Is Emergent too close to Universalist theology? Join the conversation here.