Lynn writes... I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis lately and I don’t think I’m alone. As in the words of one of my daughter’s Dr. Seuss books “There are days when I’m not sure who or what I am.” I am, of course, talking about how I describe my faith, my brand of Christianity, my belief system or what ever else you would like to call it.
I’ve been involved with the emerging church movement / new ways of thinking for some years now. Six months ago I would have been quite comfortable describing myself as an “emerging-missional” these days I’m not so quick off the block. I’m realizing that there are lots of elements to my faith that make up my individual walk with God. Emerging, missional, monastic and even traditional all feature in my make up. For weeks now I’ve been wondering why identification is so important to us as individuals. Maybe it’s to do with belonging? If I owned up to some of my traditional beliefs / values I might no longer belong with my post modern friends, even though I very much have a post modern view?
I’m also aware that many are moving away from the “emergent” tag. Is this because traditional churches have now cottoned on and are offering “emergent services” which, from what I’ve seen, mean a more modern PowerPoint presentation or perhaps a “soaking” time. Is the “emerging church” simply becoming the latest way of marketing the same old same old? Maybe it’s because the movement has also been dubbed with the “anything goes” label that some are becoming uncomfortable? Or is it because it is seen as too much discussion and not enough action?
I’m not sure if there is a tag that can describe me. I’m basically trying to be a Jesus follower and trying to do the best I can to live a lifestyle that at least partially imitates his. I fail miserably most of the time, but still I try. I want to discover more of the life God wants for me and I do not want to settle for the “this is just how it is” Christianity which I see a lot of around me every Sunday. Still I fail. Yet I push on.
I’ve been reading Tom Sine’s new book “The New Conspirators.” In it he says “These days God is working through a generation who will not be satisfied with anything less than an authentic faith that makes a real difference in the lives of others and in the care of God’s good creation” I love this quote. That is what I want and seek to share with others - authentic faith.
I don’t want to shy away from describing myself as emerging, as it’s through this movement that I finally found a bunch of people who thought like me and wanted to experience that authentic Christianity as a community together. Last week there was some talk around blogosphere about a comment that had been made by someone who said that the emergent movement was like junk in a drawer. I don’t know in what context this comment was made, but I’d like to embrace that junk drawer. There are some precious and handy things in my junk drawer at home. What the world views as rubbish/junk God sees as a precious resource and can see the potential within it. I’m more than happy to be part of that junk drawer, but I also see that I am more than that junk drawer.
How about you? Do you have an “identity” crisis? Do you see people moving away from being associated with the emergent movement? Why do you think this is? Is your Christian identity – not identity in Christ – important to you or are you happy not being connected with any particular group/movement?