Thursday, June 16, 2011

Progressive versus Emergence Christianity (Phyllis Tickle)

I'm sitting in an airport in Houston on my way to a Christian Scholar's conference at Pepperdine.  I'm presenting my thoughts on Hebrews 12:27 from the other day in 20 minutes.  The session I'm a part of is centered around James Thompson's recent commentary on Hebrews.

I don't have time to think through this post, but an online conference at Patheos on Progressive Christianity caught my eye, mainly because James McGrath is one of the blog presenters.  As I quickly dug around, I was struck by Phyllis Tickle's piece, "Progressive versus Emergence Christianity."

My first reaction is to smile.  People are always wanting to start movements.  Yes, yes, I confess; I've dreamed of it too.  My little sense of Tickle is that she has really overreached in her sense of emergence Christianity.  She thinks its the thing and here to stay.  There may indeed be some longstanding things that are emerging but she reminds me of how people confuse philosophical postmodernism with cultural postmodernism.  The philosophy is hard core and must forever be engaged in the history of future discussion. People, on the other hand, ride waves that change with the wind and are weak caricatures of ideological discussions.

So I'm tired of talking about us being in a postmodern age unless you're talking the real deal idea discussion.  Even then, postmodernism is not a thing--it is an anti-thing, an un-thing.  It can't be the next thing.

Meanwhile, people are just going with the flow.  I don't know Tickle's stuff well enough to know but I suspect she doesn't have this distinction firmly enough in mind.

As for "progressive Christianity," I suspect that might be a more real ideological group that is here for a good long while.  Notice that the people at Patheos didn't create a category called "Emergence Christianity."  They have one for evangelicals, one for progressives, and one for Catholics. ;-)

Just some quick thoughts before boarding...


Rick said...

I think the emerging movement was/is much like snow on a mountain. It fell, melted, and ran into various lakes. One lake was Lake Conservative, the other was Lake Progressive.

People like Driscoll and Kimball went to Lake Conservative, while McLaren and Padgitt went to Lake Progressive.

FrGregACCA said...

Christianity "conservative" or "liberal", is inherently progressive: