Is “Emergent” a Noun?

2 Responses

  1. Tia Lynn says:

    Hey there Charles-

    That part of the article where the author deems emergents more “tolerant” of issues like abortion and homosexuality might have been a poor choice of words on his part, since the word tolerant has the negative connotation of “compromise” for many traditionalists. But I think what he means is not that emergents are “for” abortion or homosexuality, but have a little more compassion and understanding for those who are affected by these issues. Over 2/3 of women who have abortions, live below the poverty line and the largest group who get abortions are under the age of 15. Most emergents i know are firmly against abortion, but differ in the method of how to REALLY solve the problem. They realize that legislation that makes abortion illegal will not change hearts or eradicate abortion. As we have seen with guns and drugs, if there is a demand for it, then it will continue to go on. So instead of lobbying for legislation or protesting clinics, emergents want to deal with some of the underlying causes that contribute to abortion: education reform and opportunities, adequate housing, available childcare, job security, single mother support groups, and so forth. I am not saying that there are NO traditionalists that are concerned about these issues, but on a whole, the evangelical pro-life movement has been tied up in legislation and protest, so when a journalist sees christians exploring a more compassionate and service-oriented route, the word “tolerant” seems appropriate, though charged.

    As for homosexuality, most Emergents and myself (not sure if I quite fit into emergent category yet), are APPALLED with how cruelly public Christian leaders have treated the homosexual community, making them an easy scapegoat for all America’s moral problems. They have turned them into enemies to be loathed, feared, and slandered. It’s not that emergents think its just fine to be a practicing homosexual, but they know the issue is complex and affects PEOPLE, whom we are suppose to love and be kind to (b/c our moral disdain does not lead people to repentance, but KINDNESS does). Most people who struggle with homosexuality, start at a VERY EARLY age and the causes are FAR more complex than most public evangelicals have made it. People don’t wake up one day at 18 and say, “You know, I could be straight, but I think I’ll be gay for the fun of it.” We choose our behavior, but orientation is another matter. A myriad of factors can play a part in the development of the homosexuality: hormonal imbalances, sexual abuse incurred as a child, and so forth. All very painful and difficult experiences. Emergents are intent on trying to undo some of the ugliness that has been heaped upon the homosexual community by reaching out to them has fellow human being, who, like everyone else, want to be loved, accepted, and have companionship and family. So, “tolerant” is a poor choice or words, I would say the methods of Emergents and traditionalist differ in service of the same goal, to reconcile people to Christ. It’s unfair to accuse emergents of haphazardly disregarding biblical teaching b/c their methodology differs.

  2. Charles says:

    Tia –

    I agree that "tolerant" is a poor choice for the description, but in an opinion piece it seems to say more about the writer than the subject.

    I agree with your characterizations of attitudes toward abortion and homosexuality. It's sad to me, as a conservative/traditional[ist] evangelical, that so many of us have become the stereotype. And it bothers me that the many, many of us who disagree and are often embarrassed by the "public Christian leaders" don't stand up against them. People struggling with homosexuality or considering abortion don't need us to tell them they're evil, they need us to show them the love of Christ, and lead them to the cross. If we don't do that first, it doesn't matter if we convince them not to get an abortion or to suddenly become heterosexual.

    I particularly agree with you when you say, "the issue is complex and affects PEOPLE, whom we are suppose to love and be kind to (b/c our moral disdain does not lead people to repentance…"

    It's important to note also, that I don't "accuse emergents of haphazardly disregarding biblical teaching b/c their methodology differs." I really don't mind the differences in methodology. If it works, it works. If art, Gregorian chant, candles, and Taize style prayer is helping people press in to the presence of God, then do it. My concern when it comes to the Emergent movement is purely theological.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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