In December, Brian McLaren was arrested along with 115 other activists while peacefully protesting the federal budget that he believes unfairly treats the poor. As one of the most visible participants in Emergent Village, McLaren's increasingly outspoken political views has some wondering - is Emergent a new camp for Christian liberalism? In this post Tony Jones, the national coordinator for Emergent, responds to critics by championing Emergent's conversational purpose and celebrating the group's diversity.
I read a lot of blogs, my wife and friends say too many. And some of those blogs are deeply critical of Emergent Village, a decade-old friendship that has, after my family, become home to my most important relationships. My Emergent friends, old and new, love Jesus and are robustly grappling their way into God's future. It seems to me that the two most important commitments that we in Emergent share are 1) we are ultimately hopeful about God's future, and 2) we are committed to moving forward together, as friends.
What continues to surprise me is how dangerous some people consider this friendship I'm in to be. If you take some of these blogs (and books) seriously, those of us who make up the Emergent Village are a great threat to the Christian church - we have undermined doctrine, truth, and church life. The fact that we're discussing theological items that have been previously deemed "undiscussable" is considered grounds for labels like "heretic" and "apostate."
Honestly, I care little about these critiques. They come from those who either have no idea what Emergent is all about and/or could not possibly be persuaded from their position anyway.
On the other hand, I'm currently hearing and reading that Emergent is part of ...