I had the unhappy experience of listening to yet another online conversation yesterday in which two erstwhile and, I would have assumed, friends of emergent went to great lengths to distance themselves from emergent, taking pains to say that they are not affiliated with “the capital ‘E’ emergent brand.” Meanwhile, on the Huffington Post, Phil Shepherd says,
In the years of unpacking my faith journey, I found that I was not alone in this conversation. In fact, that there were others all around the world who were going through the same type of deconstruction that I was! The emergent conversation (not labeled with this title until some years later) was a life raft for many of us.
Well, whatever emergent Christianity is — dead or alive, a marketing brand or a conversation — God is not it.Emergent is, and has been, the banner under which some of us have gathered as we’ve searched for a new way to go about living faithfully. It’s a way that involves intellectual challenge, the pursuit of ancient spiritual disciplines, the formation of new faith communities, the revitalization of conventional churches, and, most significantly, friendships.
But each of these characteristics is obviously human. The emergent way of Christianity is just as humanly constructed, finite, and open to deconstruction as any other way of faith. And this is the very thing that God is not. God is not deconstructible. God shows no favoritism to emergents.
N.B., This post is part of a series exploring apophatic statements about God.