Jokes on Me

This week, I feel as though I entered into a cliche, Christian subculture joke: You know your kids have been raised in an emerging* church if

On Tuesday, the fam went into Starbucks on The Corner at UVA. When Wyatt went into Bucks’ upstairs, taking in the warm, earth-tone walls, the ambient light, the numerous chairs around tables, the art on the walls, the leather couches, he said, “Mommy, is this a church?”

I’m still pondering what I think about that, a lot there actually.

*for those fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with all the nuance of Christian subcultures, emerging has often become a catch-all world for new forms of Christian theology and worship – a word that, in actuality, mainly means nothing. But emerging does own the annoying stereotype of being fascinated with all things hip and trendy, a “relational authenticity” that can very much be its own version of plastic.

12 responses to Jokes on Me

  1. Oh wow, love it. Not to mention a great definition of "emerging" in relationt to the modern church.

  2. Wait until they ask for a shot of espresso in their communion glass!

  3. That footnote is FANTASTIC.

    Similar story: In my former life as a mega-church attender, a visitor once quipped that the first time he arrived in our auditorium he wondered where the cup-holders were on the seats.

  4. clever footnote. but aren't you also promoting a negative stereotype with it as well? as in those who claim "emerging" are fascinated with a meaningless label and often have just an empty sense of authenticity as those who they revolt against?

  5. yes, probably.

    however, that was why I purposefully described it as an "annoying" stereotype – it is annoying in that this is the stereotype (though, as they say, things are stereotypes because…). And that is probably my main beef with the word – it means 100 different things to 50 different people. I didn't mean to say that people who love the word are inauthentic, just that anything can get overdone and become a shtick (and in many cases, has).

    mainly, this is all tongue-n-cheek. My problem was I didn't know any other word for how to describe the culture that has been created by the aesthetic sensibility to which I belong and which Wyatt has subconsciously identified. Emerging is the only label I could think of – and yet some of my blog friends wouldn't have the foggiest clue what an emerging church is or why this would have been funny.

    having said all that, a word to all "emerging-ers" (dang, did I just coin a new one??): I know you care about more than comfy couches and bw photographs on the walls. I did not intend to offend – I mean, I'm often told I'm one of you. And I like the aesthetic, a lot. But, you have to admit, Wyatt's reaction is funny."

    So, mainly I'm poking fun at myself. I mean, I have been Wyatt's pastor (and helped design the spaces he's worshiped in) for pretty much his whole life.

  6. You could see it as promoting a negative stereotype, or you could see it as speaking the truth in a funny way. Isn't it true that often "those who claim 'emerging' are fascinated with a meaningless label and often have just an empty sense of authenticity as those who they revolt against?" I sure think it is. Not always, but often.

    Winn did take care to use the words "mainly," "often," and "can be." Just sayin'.

  7. I love the stuff kids pick up on. I grew up going to whatever the version of "emergent" church was 20 years ago. We went to visit my Southern Baptist grandmother when I was about Wyatt's age and I told her I wasn't allowed to sing Hymns anymore!

  8. Kristen, that's hilarious.

  9. the "emerging" christian culture reminds me of the green movement.. both are kind of trendy. Describing them as such can make them seem overhyped and a little shallow, but I don't think it is necessarily the case. Both movements are kind of in transition so that's expected..

    The few times I'm annoyed with both I call them trendy 😉

    btw I'm in Charlottesville right now! Just came up for the night (en route to DC). What time is your church on Sunday? If I play my cards right I may be able to go before I head back to Blacksburg.

  10. 5:00 this week, Tia.

  11. Robert Benson June 6, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I was speaking to a small group about the ancient traditions in the part of the Church where we use prayerbooks and liturgies and bells and smells and such and a young woman said to me that her church was so traditional they still used hymnbooks. If you run into her at Starbuck's, tell her I said hello.

    And tell Wyatt I really like the way he thinks.

    Namaste —

    R. Benson
    thelongpew.com

  12. ok, coming back to this a little late (i wish there was a way for me to know about follow up comments…cough, intense debate, cough 🙂 )

    anyway, i love this:

    "So, mainly I'm poking fun at myself. I mean, I have been Wyatt's pastor (and helped design the spaces he's worshiped in) for pretty much his whole life"

    man i hope i get to see you guys in person sometime soon.

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.