It would seem itâ€™s Advent in the UK. Well, if you want a consumerist Christmas it is. Driving from Bristol to Nottingham yesterday on a warm sunny August morning, I heard that both Harrods and Selfridges have opened their Christmas departments, apparently because their costumers have asked them to so they can begin preparing for the big day; some six months away. The emergence of Christmas gets earlier every year. Eventually, I guess it will stop emerging and we will just have Christmas. But what a disaster that will be. Isnâ€™t the reality that its the â€˜emergingâ€™ side that appeals, the actuality, something of an anti-climax? [Now for the crass segue â€“ but itâ€™s the way my mind works]. Isnâ€™t the same true of church? Isnâ€™t the issue an increasing number of Christians have with church that it has stopped â€˜emergingâ€™ and â€˜arrivedâ€™. That itâ€™s become the ecclesiological-version of already opened presents, pulled crackers, crushed party hats and cold turkey sandwiches? That all the creative energy invested and anticipation and surprises are over? That its forgotten that 16th Century Reformers and 19th Century Evangelicals and 20th Century Pentecostals were the emerging church of their day, and instead allowed these creative, intuitive, culturally and theologically transitioning movements to â€˜arriveâ€™. Iâ€™m sure what appeals about the emerging church is that it is just that, â€˜emergingâ€™ â€“ and thatâ€™s what we should always be doing, whatever church or denomination we are part of. God forbid that any of us stop emerging and â€˜arriveâ€™.
Alan Mann Author of 'Atonement for a 'Sinless' Society.