The Powers and Limitations of Language

October 26, 2004 — Leave a comment

Ahh, what a tangled web we weave in trying to use imperfect words to reflect thoughts. In my last post, I was attempting to say one thing, but as the comment from Tony suggests I missed the mark. An attempt at levity in formulating a title and including a visual only contributes to that which I am trying to speak against. Satire sometimes works, but sometimes misses the mark.

What I hoped to do was to affirm that the Emergent world is diverse, with a variety of world views. Like Tony suggests, I want to lean into the future of where God is taking us. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that we don’t carry our past with us, the stories that led this to where we find ourselves now. In affirming the past, in recognizing our difference, we provide a context for forming the future, learning from one another in those differences.

So, don’t read the previous post as a flame out against those heathen evangelicals that lead Emergent. There is far more unity in the body than division. Is there room for growth? Of course. This thing we find ourselves in is just a few years in the making, and developing community takes time. But part of what we are doing is groaning our way into a faithful response to the call of God in our particular context.

The most helpful thing that we might be able to do in these conversations (and as we respond to the variety of articles and critiques along the way) is to claim our unique contexts and avoid universalizing our experiences as normative for others. Although we speak the same language, the reality is that the British experience is far different from the American one, and as such, comparisons must always be made with a grain of salt. We have a lot to learn from the Brits, and they probably have some things that they can learn from us as well. The goal is to be moving toward (emerging?) being the folks that God has created us to be.

 

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