Why We're Not Emergent

Last week during my vacation, I read the book "Why We're Not Emergent (by Two Guys who Should Be)." I picked it up based on the recommendation of my Pyromaniac uncle who gave it three "wow's." I've known Phil my whole life, and haven't ever heard him give something three "wow's" with the exception of Thanksgiving Pizza. So, I decided to check it out.

I was really ready to hate this book. It wasn't that I thought I would disagree with it - I'm not a huge fan of the emergent movement myself. But I can't say that I remember ever reading a book (or blog) whose purpose was to decry the Emergent Church that came across as honest, and humble. Most of the blog entries and comments (even including some from the Pyromaniacs) on the Emergent Church come across as mean-spirited, intellectually arrogant, and completely unwilling to admit that there might be something the church could learn from the "conversations" postmoderns are having.

As a result, most of the "anti" crowd only reinforces the Emergent guys' position that Historical Christians of a Reformation Kind (to use David F. Wells' terminology) are arrogant, mean-spirited, old-fashioned, and unwilling to change form or function. So, the "discussion" is not really a discussion so much as two sides lobbing grenades over the side of their bunkers hoping to do as much damage to the other side as possible, which is stupid. If both sides are Christian, Matthew 18 applies, and we ought to be humbly seeking reconciliation. If one side is not Christian, 2 John applies, and we need to stop pretending to discuss and start trying to evangelize. Either way, there's no reason to be a jerk.


Anyway, I was prepared to hate this book. But I loved this book.

Loved it.

Deyoung and Kluck approach the Emergent Church in a humble, yet scholarly way. The book has a perfect mix of humor and seriousness, expose and introspection, brevity and depth. This is easily one of the best books I've read this year. It helps the reader understand what the Emergent "conversation" is all about, the reason for the "conversation," and discusses some of the dangers of the direction the "conversation" has taken several of the emergent leaders.

But the book isn't a witch hunt. It's not a hand grenade over the bunker. The authors are quick to point out some of the redeeming qualities of the Emergent Church, as well as to recognize that all those who are a part of the "conversation" do not agree with all of its assumptions. They throw out the bathwater, but leave the baby in the tub which was really, really, really refreshing.

I would give you some quotes from the book, but if you're (1) under the age of 30, (2) involved in ministry of any kind, (3) interested in the Emergent/Postmodern Church discussion, you need to read this book for yourself. It is easily one of the best books I've read this year. Phil was right - Wow, wow, wow.

I realize this review is going to sound a bit like my review of a certain Mexican food restaurant (Ted's) in Oklahoma City, and that many of you are thinking the book (or the tacos) could never live up to the hype. Test me in this. If you have any interest in the Emergent Church at all, buy this book (and eat at Ted's). You'll be glad you did.


Kara said...

I don't know if I will read it, but I can't agree more about TEDS!!! LOVE IT!