Scott Hodge


Emergent-Postmodern-SeekerSensitive-Blah, Blah….

Jan 18, 2006

I had a great conversation over lunch yesterday with Marshall Shelley (vice president of Christianity Today Intl and the executive editor of Leadership Journal.)  Over a couple of sandwiches our discussion covered everything from Marshall’s new book to "seeker over-sensitive churches" to "emerging churches" to "consumerism in the church", etc…  It was a great time and perhaps the start of a another article or two for Leadership Journal. 

One of the things that I appreciate about Marshall is his editorial ability to pull ideas and thoughts together in a matter of seconds – which would normally take a person like me a couple of hours to tie together. 

Anyway….one of our points of discussion was the apparent divide there seems to be between the "emerging" church and the "seeker sensitive" mega-type churches.  I shared my opinion that you can still be authentic, real and relevant and emergent while at the same time remaining sensitive to diversity in our communities. 

I love what I’m seeing from the emerging church and people like Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones, etc… but I also love what I’m seeing from guys like Andy Stanley, Erwin McManus, Bill Hybels and others.  Do I agree with everyone’s thelogy and approach?  Probably not.  But who cares?  I think there are valuable things we can learn and pull away from them all.  Who says you have to choose? 

So…all of us emergent-postmodern-seeker-sensitive-pre-historic-authentic-relevant-
starbucks-consumeristic-church-of-god-of-christ-kentucky fried chicken-charismatic-catholics-rob bellish-velvet elvis-terrystorch-not-blogging-like-he-used-to-lutheran-
blackberry-playing-evangelicalfragilistic………………………. let’s pull the fence down and learn from each other. 

With that said, here’s an interesting conversation between Andy Stanley and a "emergent" blogger…  Definitely worth a read and great points made on both sides.

14 Responses to “Emergent-Postmodern-SeekerSensitive-Blah, Blah….”

  1. ButTheologyDoesMatter says:

    Your sentiments are pretty typical of post-modernism. “Who cares about theology?” You should!

  2. Amanda says:

    Actually the question was,”Do I AGREE with everyone’s theology and approach?” and THEN, “Who cares?” In other words, I can learn from another person, even though we may not see eye to eye on every theological point. That is COMPLETELY different than saying, “Who cares about theology!”
    Accuracy helps to dispel miscommunication.

  3. readingsentencesdoesmatter says:

    Great post!
    I think our reader “BUT THEOLOGY DOES MATTER” should first learn to read a sentence correctly, then we will get to theology.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Great thoughts… Right on target with what I’ve been thinking through recently. There’s good on both sides. Some things I’d change as well.
    The point most people forget is that no one style is going to reach everyone. If the point is to build people into passionate pursuers of Christ, different methods will reach different people.
    There’s another interesting conversation between Andy and a blogger here.

  5. david says:

    great post scott,
    i hope this will lead to another article for you. i’ve often wondered why there is a seemingly ill-will among many/some emerging-types toward willow, saddleback, northpointe, etc…
    i know that for a lot of people “big is bad”, but i think i also hear a lot of the “big churches” saying that too. and they are trying to find ways to be “smaller”.
    this is a great issue that needs to be discussed further!

  6. Ted says:

    great post scott:
    i appreciate the emphasis you placed on gathering valuable insights from both sides of the spectrum (ie: emerging and seeker).
    too often i feel that one must try and pick sides — at least most dialogue’s i’ve had with people seems to swing that way. i’ve had conversations with those who are obdurate and inflexible in seeing the emerging side of things or the seeker side of things.
    they seem to raise the banner of one side, then audaciously proclaim that their side is the “right” side; therefore, since it is the “right” side then one must defend the castle of being right.
    rather, shouldn’t we, as scott suggested, gather what is important and valuable, from either side, then emphasis that, rather than becoming defenders of a movement/way of thinking?
    as we all know, their are extremes and theological debacles in all sorts of movements, denominations, way’s of thinking, etc…

  7. Sam Andress says:

    Scott -
    Good thoughts. I’m a bit suprised to see someone else has gotten to my posts…I guess it is a good thing.
    My heart is to just be part of the conversation…I don’t claim to be right about everything and don’t expect everyone to agree with me.
    I do think however if the “medium is the message” as it has been said, then we need to recover a hermeneutic of discernment in our church fellowships. If we don’t look any different than the culture around us (i.e., corporate america, programs, cool new stuff) then what do we really have to offer? Is it possible that the call to follow Jesus gets muddied up or covered under all of our cultural/social trappings?
    Great blog…hope to chat some time.
    - Sam

  8. Scott – AWESOME POST! You raise a lot of good questions and make GREAT points! I agree that we must be authentic and true to who God made us to be. Each one of the different styles/methods of doing church will reach out to different people in the community. If we were all carbon-copies of one and another, a huge portion of the population would continue to be unreached for Christ. Plus, if you aren’t being authentic to who God made you, people can sense that and you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin.

  9. Justin says:

    Great post, Scott.
    I’m glad you moved the way you did in this post, weaving from one idea of church leadership and community to another, and ultimately landing on a stance that breaks the boundaries between them.
    Thankfully, not one stance or movement is “the answer” to being the Gospel incarnate to the culture in which we live (i.e., Aurora, Chicago area, Seattle suburbs, rural Kentucky, etc.). It is only when we seek to learn from our culture, speak its language, and share in its joys and tears, that we can begin to say, “I love my neighbor.”
    And, to make my comment longer than it should be, I want to say a few words about theology and our approach to culture. It would be a vast oversight for any of us to think that “THEOLOGY” is the anchor here. Any suggestion to this point would be unequivacally forgetting church history and the many differing theological movements that have been hodge-podged together to make an American-Evangelical-Protestant-
    Postmodern-Emergent-Blogging-Whatever’s that we see today.
    Most often, we would like to think that theology is seperate from culture, and thus a formative and objective outside influence of culture. This is not the case.
    Instead, theology is the oration (or telling) of our context (how we look at things) within the story of God and humanity. It is defined by culture since culture defines our context. How is it that trinitarian theology has evolved (yes, I said the “e” word) over the past 200 years?! It has become enmeshed into the culture of the Western church, adopted from the Eastern church, and embodied by the global Church as a whole.
    I’m done here, but Scott you enter a good conversation and I hope it continues amongst church leaders. Sorry for leaving such a long comment, but it gives me hope to see a growth in diverse and creative approaches in fulfilling the Great Commission. Let’s live incarnationally, using our theologies to understand our life together and with God. And in this broken world that we live, may we continue to see how God might use us in new ways.

  10. Ted says:

    Great comment Justin!

  11. Albert says:

    I often wonder what is meant by the phrase

  12. Robb says:

    That is the QUOTE OF THE WEEK! I want to get a T-Shirt made … “So…all of us emergent-postmodern-seeker-sensitive-pre-historic-authentic-relevant-
    starbucks-consumeristic-church-of-god-of-christ-kentucky fried chicken-charismatic-catholics-rob bellish-velvet elvis-terrystorch-not-blogging-like-he-used-to-lutheran-
    blackberry-playing-evangelicalfragilistic………………………. let’s pull the fence down and learn from each other.”

  13. Um. I don’t know how to say this. But I am not quite sure Andy has time to devote to a daily conversation on Emergent vs. Mega. How do you know it’s even him? His writing seems a bit under educated to me.

  14. Learning from each other

    Scott Hodge has a great blog and his latest post is well taken. In the end, he makes the following statement:
    Soall of us

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