Well, all that and more was going through my head as I read this opening section to A Generous Orthodoxy. Reading this, so far, makes me ask myself a question I often ask, "Why do people have such short memories?" "Why is that we think all of history started the year we were born?" I ask these questions because they seem to me to be the cause of the current conundrum that the church finds itself in as described by Mr. Franke. As he says:
Foundationalism refers to a conception of knowledge that emerged during the Enlightenment and sought to address the lack of certainty generated by the human tendency toward error and to overcome the inevitable, often destructive disagreements and controversies that followed.
Fear of uncertainty and fear of conflict. I see these as having been the driving forces behind much of the western church since the time of the Enlightenment. They fuel our fevered debates about biblical inerrancy, our theological differences about the relative divinity of Jesus, and the reliance on a Christian subculture to keep us "safe" from unwholesome influences. But this framework in which the church operates is largely invisible to most of the people in the evangelical and mainline protestant traditions. And, as McLaren writes in A New Kind of Christian, if you point this grid out to them, they won't be happy with you. Why do we need certainty? Why can't we learn to work through conflict without it harming our sense of personal safety? Why aren't our churches places where we can learn these skills?
And here's where I start feeling like a lab rat because it's like reading a scary-accurate horoscope when he says:
...strong ecumenical interests, a desire to move beyond the liberal/conservative divide, and a willingness to think through old questions in new ways that foster the pursuit of truth, the unity of the church, and the gracious character of the gospel.
Yep, that's me. And then I think, well if this seems self evident to me, and I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, how come it's not self evident to everyone else? Why does this stuff have to be so hard for church folk? It's crystal clear for the unchurched.
I think I'm also realizing that being emergent is a value. It's about going deeper and it is something that transcends the church. Finally, I'm reminded of a quote from the new movie What The Bleep Do We Know? that says:
The trick to life isn't being in the know. It's being in the mystery.