- Eugene Peterson
I remember the beginnings of the "seeker sensitive" movement. One of the primary issues raised in that movement was the way we talk. "Church lingo" was out, relating to people in their own language was in. For example, if the word "propitiation" ever escaped your lips, you could expect to be whacked over the head with someone's copy of The Message Remixed.
In general, I agree that we should speak to people in their own language. Which is one reason why I am a bit concerned for the Emergent/ing movement.
Note: this is not a post criticizing the Emergent/ing theology, church practices, methods, or any of their leaders.
But have you heard these guys talk?
For starters: if you still, frequently, have to explain to people the difference between emergENT and emergeING, perhaps you need to pick a new moniker. I still don't know what the difference is. And I've never quite figured out what they are "emerging" from. And do you ever quit emerging? Lots of things emerge, but they eventually stop emerging, right (once fully emerged, I mean)? Will the movement change its name to "Emerged" when it's done? And is this the first movement to have a participle for a name?
One key value of emergent/ing is "context". You have to fit what you do and say into the context of the surrounding culture. I agree with this, for the most part. That's why I'm a bit baffled by the college-professorish nature of emerge-talk.
Below are just a few examples of emergent/ing lingo, representing words and phrases most-likely unintelligable to
non-Christians not-yet-Christians pre-followers of the Way:
contextualize (this also hits on one of my pet-peeves: turning a noun into a really long verb)
contextualization (double the previous pet-peeve)
And my all time favorite: "praxis" (which is a word that only people who have studied theology understand).
While I understand that all movements that have a lot of thought behind them generate new words and new modes of speaking, I wonder if it would be possible for the emergent/ing conversation to contextualize it's lingo a little more, in praxis.
Again, this is not an "anti" emergent/ing post. My intention is not to demean all the well-intentioned and earnest people in those movements.
It's just to say: "When I hear you talk, I feel dumb".