The other day I read a blog posting by James MacDonald. He is not a fan of the postmodern/emerging church movement. In some ways I don't think I blame him. The church is about more than style or cultural relevance. I think some take this too far, but they are calling us back to some things the modern church has missed.
1. The Church should be culturally relevant. We are not tied to historical expressions of faith. Besides, does the 1950's really represent the desired historical expressions of faith?
2. Jesus is the focus. I am not neglecting the Trinity, but Jesus is the visible expression of God. Hebrews tells us that He is the exact representation of God. The Holy Spirit is often called the "Spirit of Christ." We are not shortchanging anything theologically by focusing on Jesus. His earthly life demonstrates how we, too, should act and live. Being a Christian is not about denominational loyalty; it is about loyalty to one person--Jesus Christ. We are disciples, apprentices, followers--not whatever denominational moniker you desire.
3. We are a missional people. Though times have certainly been more kind to the Church, we are not, and never really have been, a home team. We are missional. God wants to transform the world we live in, and that means more than simply "getting someone saved." We demonstrate compassion for them. We are in the business of expanding the Kingdom of God.
4. Love for our neighbor. Christians have not always been the most loving people. That is unfortunate since Jesus said loving our neighbor was part of the Great Commandment. The emerging church challenges us to re-look at the way we treat sinners, homosexuals, other races, other faiths, and whatever makes us different from others.
What I want is a balanced faith. I want to be loving and grace-filled, but also hold be held accountable. I want to see lost people begin to follow Jesus, but I also want to heal the sick and visit the lonely. I like the extended title of Brian Mclaren's book A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished CHRISTIAN. I think it is absolutely fitting for where we need to head as a Church.