Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Emergent NJ

Last night, I met up with an Emergent Cohort, a gathering of young emergent church leaders, dreamers, and faith seekers. We met at The Office, an incredibly cool bar in Ridgewood, NJ. During the meeting, we discussed the upcoming Emergent Mid-Atlantic Conference to be held in Philadelphia, PA. I am already signed up to attend.

We also discussed faith, how we can go about expressing it to a post-modern culture. And, then we spoke about one particular leader in the emergent movement named Brian McLaren. This man's name will be familiar to most in our congregation because I have referenced a number of his books in my sermons from time to time. One book in particular, Everything Must Change, was an Advent study we did last year.

The conversation about McLaren, however, took an unexpected turn in our conversation when we talked about his recent support and naming a particular Presidential candidate as his candidate of choice. I guess I was very surprised in that McLaren seems to go to great lengths not to disgruntle or alienate particular groups in his call of church renewal. To name a particular candidate though seems out of character with how I view him, even if I could figure out who he was going to vote for anyway.

The Emergent Cohort was also rather upset. They were upset with what appeared to be the particular candidate of his choice whereas I was only upset that he actually named him. The meeting was very interesting and reminded me that not all Christians vote the way I do. I knew the emergent folks were going to be a bit more conservative than I so I wasn't blown over by their discussion. What did impress me was the civilty in our conversation and the friendliness that abounded. These folks really are rather super.

In any event, I know where many in our congregation side with on the political conversation and no doubt, you know where I side. But I can't image that I'd ever endorse a candidate. Maybe I am too cynical realizing that politicians are... well, politicians. What they say during their campaigning will bear little semblance to what they actually accomplish. While I do enjoy the rhetoric of one candidate, to me, I am voting for the political party machine. It would be nice if both candidates were truly God's agents on earth--but they, like we are, of the same metal. While in some capacity we have some variation of God-agent-like-ness, truth be told, we're also of the same sinner-metal too. We're all imperfect, tempted with various temptations, and make promises we don't keep.

That's my minor political stumping. But to the cohort meeting, I enjoyed a nice conversation with people of different minds but worshiping the same Creator. I am definitely looking forward to meeting with these folks again and then up in Philly for the conference.

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