Continued from yesterday . . .
It was there on the doorstep of the “promised land” that the emergent church really took root and established itself. As the twelve spies returned consensus was taken. Joshua and Caleb on the one hand wanted to go into combat with the inhabitants of the land and fight a war over the resources contained within that land. The other ten spies protested citing that there was no UN resolution for going to war and it would give Israel a bad name within the international community.
New voices of reason “emerged” aside from Moses with fresh and nuanced insights that could lead to an ongoing dialogue. Rather than give an answer to the complex and multifaceted question of whether to go where God told them - they thought it would be better to embark on a 40 year trek through the Sinai desert. After all, the destination wasn’t important – it was the “journey” that mattered. These 40 years on a journey never getting anywhere allowed for an invigorating and ongoing “conversation”.
This conversation was able to continue unabated over those 40 years as the emphasis was never on answers, but on exploring what it means to follow God in new and revolutionary ways - rather than listening to what He told them to do. The “conversation” thrived and was ongoing. People loved to gather and do manna together. After 40 years they were on the cusp of furthering the "conversation" when alas they all died in the desert. All those dead people really put a downer on the “conversation”.
The subsequent generation did a post mortem on post modern and decided that maybe the land of milk and honey was a good idea after all – especially if God said so! So the first significant “emergent village” had died out in the Sinai desert. The new generation crossed over the Jordan into Canaan. The “conversation” was put on hold to experience centuries of silence.
The first emergent church died out in the Sinai desert after 40 years on a journey never getting anywhere with a 40 year "conversation" full of questions and devoid of answers. As the new generation crossed the Jordan into the land of milk and honey the rotting carcass of postmodern thought lay in the Sinai desert. The emergent movement was down but not out and by the time of the Messiah's arrival there was a "new kind of emergent" waiting to reveal himself.
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Weekend A La Carte (October 21)
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