Sunday, June 13, 2010

"I Hate Your Church..." Published

My Expository Times article on the emerging church ("'I Hate Your Church; What I Want is My Kingdom': Emerging Spiritualities in the UK Emerging Church Milieu") is now available online. You can access the abstract for free here, but you'll have to subscribe to The Expository Times, purchase short-term access, or log-in using an Athens account or university homepage.

I'm not allowed to distribute the article either.

The article briefly assesses current ways of defining "the emerging church" and suggests the value of the notion of a "milieu." Borrowing from Gordon Lynch's work on progressive spirituality, the concept of a global "emerging church milieu" (with regional milieus within it, e.g. "US emerging church milieu" or "UK emerging church milieu" etc) allows the emerging church to be portrayed as a coherent religious phenomenon without ignoring local differences and divergences.

I then enumerate what I see as the six commitments of emerging church discourse. These are commitments to:

  1. "glocal" contextualisation,
  2. "ancient-future" traditions,
  3. organisational experimentation,
  4. exploring postmodern thought,
  5. (re)thinking theology, and
  6. socially, politically and environmentally just living.

Not having much space in which to present these commitments in this article, I go into much more detail in my doctoral thesis, but these commitments (which obviously overlap with other Christian and non-Christian milieus beyond the emerging church milieu) are variously understood and put into practice multifariously.

Then I identify two spiritualities which emerge from this milieu: Deep Church spirituality and A/Theistic spirituality. These two spiritualities were primarily presented as hermeneutics in my thesis, but they can also be thought of as spiritualities. In my postdoctoral research, I hope to explore them as social imaginaries. Again, I didn't have the room to go into much detail in this article, but I hope to publish a few academic journal articles and a monograph that will bring my library basement destined thesis to the masses!

My Expository Times article then concludes by reflecting upon the missional orientation of these two emerging church spiritualities. Following a question that John Hull asked of fresh expressions of church in Mission-Shaped Church and Mission-Shaped Questions, I wonder whether Deep Church and A/Theistic spiritualities are kingdom-shaped or church-shaped in their missiologies.


Stephen G said...

Excellent. Have downloaded it and also sent a reference to it to one of my postgrad students.

Katharine Moody said...

That's great. I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on it - particularly how you see my reflections on what I call the "UK emerging church milieu" fitting with NZ contexts. K xxx

Eoin O'Mahony said...

Yes, got it too. Should be good reading for the next while. Well done.

Katharine Moody said...

Thanks, Eoin!