Of Spam and Emerging Churches

I was (to my regret) in our local Carrefour again shopping among the overpriced goods when I noticed a sample lady had stepped away from her counter and had left a nice plate of samples ready for me to swoop upon. I hate listening to the sales speel, so I did a quick "drive-by" sampling before she could catch me. So I tasted without looking at what I was tasting. Hey, it was pretty good stuff! I couldn't help glancing back to see what I had eaten. Tata! Spam! Yes, the vegetarian, crunchy, organic type of girl that I am had not only eaten spam but liked it. All these years of vilifying spam as the worst packaged food on the planet. Now, I have to confess that when I gave it a fair (i.e. blind) taste-test, I sort-of liked it. What to do? Well, DH and I went down to a restaurant in our apartment building and ate a bubbling pot of Korean spam and hot dog stew for lunch. Good stuff, that spam. I guess a year and a half of eating rice and kimchi and tofu has made me appreciate the greasier side of life.

So, now for a bigger confession. One that might not make any sense to some of my readers, but bear with me. When I first started blogging in December 2005, I came across the phrase "emerging churches." My innocent mind assumed that meant the churches that were emerging out of formerly non-Christian cultures, like Korea. Well, I'm all about that. So I addded "emerging church" to my blogger profile. That didn't last long. The Christian blogs which I read were generally of the Reformed variety, and were virtually unanimous in criticizing the Emergent church movement. I'm a theological girl myself, and when I hear that a group of crazy people are denying the existence of absolute truth, throwing away their Bibles, and worshipping with some guy named Brian McLaren by candlelight, all I can say is, "Must be a bunch of heretics!" So I removed "emerging church" from my profile, and washed my hands with anti-bacterial soap afterwards.

Fast forward to February 2005. I read an article by Scot McKnight "The Future or Fad? A Look at the Emerging Church Movement (PDF)" and, to my surprise, his description of the ethos of the emerging movement was a dead-on description of myself. Read it and be surprised. The only way in which I am markedly different from what he describes is that I am highly interested in doctrine, including both Biblical and systematic theology and the ancient creeds. But, even then, my approach to theology is very similar to what he describes today in Emergent Voices. So, I may have to seriously rethink my position on the emerging movement. It seems that, in spite of thinking I dislike it, I've found that it may be exactly where I'm heading.

So, what next? I found out from TallSkinnyKiwi (aka Andrew Jones) that an Aussie emerging church consultant named Fuzz Kitto will be in Korea this week to network with likeminded people. Subway strike should be resolved now, and I'll be meeting Fuzz tomorrow morning in downtown Seoul for a cup of Joe. I'm excited. This is the first time for me to meet a Real Live Emergent Church Leader. I hope to get a better sense of what the EM is and how I should relate to it. I certainly be blogging about it after I talk to him.

Good night!

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  1. I haven't had much time to read about the emerging church, but there are some books by McClaren in our Vineyard church bookstore. I, too, was very interested until I saw some of the disparaging comments on blogs.
    I think the conservative blogging community is dominated by a certain mindset/perspective, that sees itself as the definer of orthodoxy.
    It's an internet construct. An interesting phenonmenon.

  2. I know you probably don't want to make a habit of eating that yummy Spam but I do have a recipe for the 부대찌게 you enjoyed with your husband. Let me know if you want it!

  3. very interesting kiwi and spam...looking forward to your next post. I've heard McLaren speak before and read a book of his, but I'm not familiar with Fuzz. Enjoy your day!


  4. Hi Hannah - saw your post over at sparrow's and was interested in popping over to read a blogger in Korea. Why? Well, generally speaking, I am very interested in different cultures but especially interested in Korea because my oldest son in London, England, is dating a Korean girl.I'm eager to learn. I'll be by again.

  5. Hi my name is Char and this Sunday my church and another church merged together and it was a very good thing.Here is what I mean I go to calvary chapel and they were also a calvary chapel so we decided we would become one. Hope this helped you a little bit.have a great day.

  6. As far as what I can tell, there are a lot of really great things about Emergent churches, especially in their critique of programmes and how Modernism drives most churches today. They seem to want to get back to ancient church practices and to be 'authentic' (that great pomo buzzword). All very good things. Just make sure that you check out what they're replacing the programme-driven model with: if it's 100% Jesus alone it's not the answer to our church woes.