Friday, February 2, 2007

"all dressed up and no place to go"

I followed the recent Mainline Emergent/s conference mostly through the blog of Jan Edmiston, and I find it hopeful that “mainliners” are increasingly part of the conversation addressing new ways of being the church in our postmodern culture. Unfortunately, the phrase “mainline emergent” remains oxymoronic for most of the country. As one recently burned by a congregation that was/is superficially "progressive" yet 1950's mindset at its core, I can't help but feel frustration about this. The vast majority of mainline churches simply aren't an option for spiritually hungry postmoderns.

On the Presbymergent site, someone had e-mailed questioning where they might find a PC(USA) church in northern Indiana involved in the emergent conversation. There were three answers given (at the time of this writing): One suggested a NCD in Lafayette (but that’s the central part of the state), one person grew up in northern Indiana and didn’t know of any emergent PC(USA) congregations there, and another – John Shuck — suggested looking at his blog’s list of PC(USA) churches “that are progressive or nearly progressive” as a starting point in the emergent search.

Shuck’s list made me curious. Were there any congregations in my area that would be possibilities? Imagine my consternation (yet not surprise) to find good ol’ LPC listed as our area’s “progressive” congregation. Another possibility within reasonable driving distance was a church in Olympia. Unfortunately when visiting that church’s website, I found that the pastor is one of the folks who had been part of the COM “help” (and I use that word facetiously) for LPC. He definitely did not strike me as an emergent or even very progressive guy when he was part of the LPC conversation.

So the dilemma continues. Sunday (or pick a day) comes and I’m “all dressed up – albeit for me that is jeans and a sweater – and no place to go.” Wonder how many people are in my category? I’m thinking I’m the tip of a very large iceberg (even with global warming). So for now, small group is my answer… but what about so many others out there with no place to plug in?


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