St. Stephen's Musings

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:: St. Stephen's Musings

:: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 ::

A Snake Eating Its Own Tail

After having some in-depth discussions with people like Justin recently about the emerging church/"alternative worship" movement, I found James' new post....well, to use a popular phrase, "relevant" to the discussion.

In the comments, Seraphim conveys something I had tried to get across in my earlier discussions. He writes,

"The [emerging church] movement, while promoting so many good, beautiful categories of renewal, still seems rooted in two protestant distinctives: the hermeneutic of the individual and the 'protest' of Protestantism. and it all feels so awkward because the protest is (this time) not against Rome of course, but against Protestantism itself. It is a dead-end to use the core distinctions of a faith to critique that faith. There is nowhere to go... [a] snake eating its tail."

I like his analogy here. This is very similar to what I wrote to Justin about why the borrowing of Orthodox "trimmings" and transplanting them into a totally different context doesn't work. I wrote,

--Everything in the Orthodox Faith is holistically connected to everything else. So much so, that to take parts of it and place it in a different context isn't something we can do. Now, you can like candles, and Byzantine chant, and all that. That's great! But to incorporate iconography into a church that formally doesn't accept, say, the 7th Ecumenical Council seems rather disingenuous. It would be like reading 1 Cor., Romans, but never reading the book of James. (Sound familiar?)

Fr. John Breck puts it well: 'A hermeneutic that is not grounded in worship will inevitably limits its field of interest to the "literal sense" of the faith [Fundamentalism]; just as worship that does not ground itself in the fullness of the faith's theology will inevitably degenerate into pious noise void of serious content or transcendent purpose [Emerging/Alternative].'

This is why I've said that [the emerging church types] and [mainline/Fundamentalists] really share much more in common than they realize. They gut the faith; just from different sides.--

Update: I'm not alone in finding Seraphim's comments food for thought.

Update 2: An Anabaptist speaks his mind.

:: Karl :: 8:35:00 AM [Link] ::

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