The Emerging Way (part 2)

28 03 2007

porkbarrel.jpgIn government there is an unpleasant practice known as “pork barrel politics.” Basically that term describes a situation where a piece of legislation that is needed and very likely to be accepted comes with other items attached to it that would very likely be rejected if presented on their own.

 The more I examine the emerging movement the more it reminds me of pork barrel politics.

It appeals to the desire for authentic Christianity, something every true believer wants. It honestly recognizes the flaws of “consumer Christianity” and “show-time religion.” It laments the sad state of indifference that characterizes so many that claim to believe in Christ. It rightly points out the need to move beyond anemic professions of faith to actually living in full embrace of a transforming discipleship to Christ. To all of that I say “Amen!”, or to keep with the analogy, that is the legislative bill I’d like to see passed.

But the Emerging version of that bill comes with emerging pork that troubles me.

Chapter two of The Emerging Christian Way illustrates the problem. The title of the chapter is “Experience: The Heart of Transformation.” Here, Tim Scorer, wants to focus on one’s need to truly experience a “Christ-centered journey” (which sounds reasonable). The problem comes when he suggests the methods one ought to use to experience the transformation. He adds the “pork” of New Age visualization and Neopagan mysticism.

Building on the biblical story of Zacchaeus and the tree he climbed to see Jesus, the reader is eventually invited to…

“Take a moment now and say the mantra below.

Breathe in and say, ‘I open my heart to your presence.’

Breathe out and say, ‘You are light of my path, breath of my being.’

Breathe in and say, ‘I open my life to your shaping.’

Breathe out and say, ‘You are source of my hope, grace of my healing’” (p.42).           

The writer goes on to share a poem by Toronto poet Roo Borson titled “The Trees,” and then uses it to prompt visualizing “a tree actually listening to the unwinding, slow opening, of your heart! Are you willing to trust the intimacy of your opening heart to the long memory of this elder? … Are you ready for the awesome responsibility of befriending such a being?” (p.43).

In case you missed it, the “elder” and “being” referred to in the above quote is the tree the reader is asked to imagine.

One may wonder if I’m ascribing more importance to the suggestion of using unbiblical imagery than the author actually intends. Two more quotes will suffice to prove the case. On page 44 the author pleads, “Could you imagine going to a great living thing like a tree, a stream, an eagle, or a mountain, and seeking guidance on the issues that you find challenging in your life right now? Will you do that?”

And then going back to “The Tree” poem he writes, “In the Christian tradition, we honor especially the writers whose work was selected for inclusion in the Bible. Roo Borson came along too late to be included, but the poet of the book of Psalms came in plenty of time!”

 In other words, had the poem “The Trees” been written in time it would have been “selected” for inclusion in the Bible! That’s too much pork for me.




4 responses

28 03 2007
Neal Pumphrey


I am glad to see that you are trying to help others learn about the emerging church. I wish everyone could have your discernment.

28 03 2007

I agree that the “Emerging Movement” is trying to promote various agendas and “feed” various constituents. I do, however, think we are going to need to “do” church in a new way in the coming years in order to tell the old, old, story of Jesus and his love in a way a new generation can hear.

But what do I know? I’m just a poor pastor looking for more hits on my blog.

2 04 2007
Tim Cheshire

I to have studied the emerging church movement, and I like their idea of change ins some instances, but overall I think the flaws of it cause it to be a fly in the ointment. If we could take their principles that are good and combine them with good meat. AMEN

3 04 2007

Thanks for these recent posts. I’ve recently been reading books by Emerging authors and have certainly been edified by their works. I just wrote a post about Emerging and Fundamentalism. Thanks again for posting.

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