A couple of posts back, I said that emergent is a conversation between members of different faith traditions about how Christians should go about engaging postmodern culture. And emergent is very much about culture. It recognizes that there is an “old” culture – usually called “modern” culture – which relied on knowledge and analysis as tools to find truth. That culture is vanishing.
“Postmodernism” – the new culture – is a reaction to modern culture, rejecting it and seeking to find a different way of looking at the world – one which is more wholistic, finding truth in art, relationships, and – yep – even spirituality. However, the new culture has not yet fully developed (it is, itself, “emerging”).
I mentioned that the emergent conversation is, in part, about how the way we do “church” got too caught up in the old culture. The emerging conversation is thus largely about the painful process of pruning away things that were products of the old culture, hopefully creating fresh space for God’s kingdom to grow in the context of the new, still-developing culture.