In an email I said the following: “I think in Canada (from my experience) we see the emergent movement as an American thing. We don’t identify with it, but we appreciate the conversation. I think in Canada we have to go even further, but the problem is that moderns are so “worried” that we are going to abandon everything they hold close. We may abandon some things, but if we are kept close by Jesus, we will never truly leave. Freedom over control.”
I will stand by a couple things in this quote. 1) Emergent is really not on the radar in most Canadian circles. But let me clarify. Emergent is on the radar of youth leaders trying to spice up their youth group, but in terms of those on the ground, starting churches and grass root movements, the conversation is not nearly far enough along to make a difference in what we do. It is almost as if we need something more edgy “per say” in order to really impact our country with the hope of Christ in the world. 2) But like I said, moving toward edgy is really awkward, because we don’t know what that looks like and many of us are worried our modern church friends will call us heretics and think we are abandoning our faith as we try different things, teach new ideas and stretch things out. I think this worry of abandonment is more about control than anything else. Yet, I believe it was Jesus that said that he had a strong grip on us and we mustn’t get so caught up in others motivations (mixed with actions).
So then what is the current state of the emergent church in Canada?
To me its helpful. It is supportive and the books, blogs, podcasts, and people are allowing us to sift through and pick out the relevancy in the material to our culture. I am currently finding more helpful information from Kester Brewin and Pete Rollins of late; but they are both UK guys and I guess that says something about where we as Canadians get our inspiration. And usually most books that are more about spirituality (donald miller and rob bell for example) are more helpful then ones that suggest methods. I have found Richard Rohr more helpful than any others at this stage of my personal development.
In the CNBC (my tribe), there are not a lot of emergent type churches, but I would say that some of the things COTM is doing as well as the joshua house here in the Lower Mainland are good attempts at figuring out where the church is going in the future. The funny is, and not to be vain, but we may be too far ahead. We are trekking in areas that we have no idea about and sometimes it might just be easier to revert back to old ways of doing things. At least I feel that way sometimes.