Saturday, May 27, 2006

An Anthem for the Emerging Church

I know there is a debate among the EC folk about whether there should be an EC creed or confession. On the one hand any creed would serve only to exclude some from the fold and the EC is definitely not about drawing boundaries. On the other hand the movement may become so broad as to be theologically schizophrenic and it will have to accomodate people who profess to be "Arminian-Calvinists" which is nonsensical. Then they shall have to figure out what to do when mainline liberals begin popping up more frequently in the EC community and bringing mainline theology on sexuality and biblical authority with them. I would love to hear some EC posts on the concept of heresy that is both irenic and gracious as well as committed to the theological integrity of the gospel.

In the absence of a creed then, will something else suffice that ECers can agree on? If not a creed, well how about a signature song? Does the EC, like all citizens of strange lands, need an anthem? Many theological movements had a theme song or a theological tune.

The Arrians in the fourth century had the hit song: "There was a time when he was not!"

The emancipation movement had "Amazing Grace"

The early evangelical movement with Billy Graham had "Just as I am"

My tune of choice for ECers is DC Talk's song Jesus Freak. Here's the lyrics:

Separated, I cut myself clean
From a past that comes back in my darkest of dreams
Been apprehended by a spiritual force
And a grace that replaced all the me I've divorced

I saw a man with tat on his big fat belly
It wiggled around like marmalade jelly
It took me a while to catch what it said
Cause I had to match the rhythm
Of his belly with my head
'Jesus Saves' is what it raved in a typical tattoo green
He stood on a box in the middle of the city
And claimed he had a dream

What will people think
When they hear that I'm a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it's true
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain't no disguising the truth

Kamikaze, my death is gain
I've been marked by my Maker
A peculiar display
The high and lofty, they see me as weak
Cause I won't live and die for the power they seek

There was a man from the desert with naps in his head
The sand that he walked was also his bed
The words that he spoke made the people assume
There wasn't too much left in the upper room
With skins on his back and hair on his face
They thought he was strange by the locusts he ate
The Pharisees tripped when they heard him speak
Until the king took the head of this Jesus freak

(repeat chorus 2x)

People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger
People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger

(repeat chorus 2x)

What will people think
What will people do
I don't really care
There ain't no disguising the truth


Chris Weimer said...

Oddly enough, that's one of the few Christian songs I actually both know and like. I'm not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing though.

thunderbeard said...

i don't know, bird. most ec folk would say that dc talk isn't hip enough for them. honestly, i think that something like pedro the lion's "foregone conclusions" would be the song of choice for many. theologically, there isn't a whole lot of substance in the song. however, i think that the song accurately reflects the attitudes and thoughts of the ec in terms of evangelism, the questioning of presuppositions, and missiology.

i do want to be clear, though, that i'm not really part of the ec. while i don't mind those hovering around the edges of the "movement" (reformed dudes like chris seay and mark driscoll), my interactions with the "real" emerging church folk have been all lead me to the conclusion that the emerging church has been turned into some sort of meaningless "conversation" that uses its words and attitude to say (in a very thinly veiled way), "hey, we're cool people. we aren't squares like those fundamentalists. see, check this out. told you we were cool. all open-minded and stuff like that, right? we won't beat you over the head with the bible. just come and see...we even have cool music."

granted, not all of the ec crowd is like this. but most of the newer "converts," if you will, are. they want to seem like they are intellectual, accepting, open, authentic, and willing to delicately walk the line between innovation and heresy (even though some of the more well-known ec pioneers haven't done the best job with that one). however, now it just seems like the emerging church has degenerated into an aesthetic (very similar to the movements that it was kicking up against).

i remember a time when being involved in the emerging church really meant something about who you were and your ideas about praxis (good, bad, or indifferent). now it just means that you like art, drink coffee, dress hip, and have tattoos. i've seen it all too much to still be able to take the emerging church seriously these days.

i listen to what could be called "hip" music. i enjoy experiencing and making arts of various varieties, and i like to distance myself a bit from the hard lines of american evangelicalism. however, there isn't much that upsets me more than when someone says, "oh, you're one of those emerging guys. you have that look."

thunderbeard said...

oh, by the way, some of the lyrics in the song linked above may be offensive to some. i think it really brings up some important issues, though. especially what with the condition of american evangelicalism.

Dave said...

I reckon Paul, Peter, Luther and Calvin were Jesus Freaks, totally sold out on Jesus...that makes them