Alright, I've offered analogies before, and you have all been kind enough to offer critiques. I know the question "what is emergent" is going to come up at this little breakout session at Xenos on Thurs., and I want to be able to offer a better answer than a chuckle, a smile, and something like, "No one really knows..."
I'm not sure why I thought of it, but I was thinking about this crazy optical illusion that my dad sent to me one time. Please take a look at it here before you read on.
So the idea is that if you stare at the small cross in the middle, the blinking dot turns green, then eventually all the other dots go away and all you see is the green dot moving around the circle. It is such a clear example that what we see is not always what is there...but then when you *blink* or look away for a second, the other pink dots show up again.
So here is my analogy: The emergent movement is like *blinking* - When we are so focused, so set in our theological ways and opinions, so consumed with the absolute truth we see before our eyes, we may very well be missing something else that is also there. Doug Pagitt in his new book, "A Christianity Worth Believing" (which is surprisingly good, by the way, and you should read it) says there are 31,103 verse in the Bible. So if we memorized 300 of them (which is a lot), we'd only have 1% of the Bible. What about the other 99% What are we missing when we only focus on what we are so certain we can see, and don't step back, *blink*, and take a look around the rest of the Bible.
For me, the emergent movement is about getting a fresh look at the Bible and correcting my vision a little bit. It's being willing to admit that what I think I see may not be what is actually there. It's about allowing other verses, other perspectives, other voices to speak and to inform so I can get a better overall picture. Admittedly, after several years of looking at it this way, I'll have to blink again, and get a fresh view again. But what the optical illusion tells me is that my human nature if prone to block out what I'm not focusing on, or what I don't want to see. So sometimes I have to step back and getter a broader view, even if it messes with what I thought was really there.
Alright, what do you think? How would someone who is not favorable toward emergent respond to this analogy? Obviously it isn't the whole thing, but for me, it hints at the core - any thoughts?
Songs of Lament and Hope
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