Monday, May 01, 2006

Brueggemann on emerging church

ReligionLink recently disseminated a piece on the emerging church. The brief resource written as an aid for religion writers included a list of contacts that could be approached for further comment on this phenomenon. One of the scholars listed caught my attention when I saw the name of Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. Dr. Brueggemann is described by ReligionLink as “an appreciative observer of the emergent conversation. Brueggemann is professor emeritus from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. He is also the author of a number of books including An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination, The Prophetic Imagination, Texts Under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination, and Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World.

I found an appreciation for the emerging church by a noted Old Testament scholar of great interest and I gave him a call to discuss it. We spoke briefly, and Dr. Brueggemann told me that his introduction to the emerging church came by way of a phone conversation and later lunch with Brian McLaren. While Brueggemann does not claim to have an in-depth knowledge of the complex and diverse movement of the emerging church, he said that he is appreciative of its desires to seriously engage the culture, and he appreciates its social and missional activities. Brueggemann also shared concerns about evangelicals who condemn the entire movement as heresy.

I was glad to see that a respected scholar was open to a different expression and experimentation with church forms and ways of being in the West. Perhaps others might consider such openness, or at least be more willing to withhold judgment against the movement, and pause before raising red flags relative to missional Christians who include emerging church links on their blogs.

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