Culture: January 2006 Archives

Ira Steven Behr was responsible for some of the best Star Trek episodes ever produced, particularly in Deep Space Nine, which he eventually became the head writer for. I have tremendous respect for him as a writer. I have to wonder, though, about one statement he made in this interview. When asked what super power he would want, he responded, "In addition to the ones I already have? I've been blessed with so many that I would feel like a Republican to ask for more."

I've been trying to figure out what he could possibly mean by this. Even if he's working with some nasty and uncharitable stereotype of Republicans, what could it be that Republicans are supposed to be like that even remotely resembles having super powers and asking for more super powers? If anyone has any ideas, I'm really curious, because this just makes no sense to me.

I'm not sure I've ever blogged about the so-called Emergent Church, mostly because I think the whole movement is so radically confused that I never wanted to bother to figure out where to start in pointing out all the philosophical and historical errors that serve as its foundation. But Gnu at Wildebeest's Wardrobe has done that work now in a way that I'm in complete agreement with. His post on this, to my mind, is the defininitive analysis of the Emergent Church. What I'm going to say here doesn't add anything to Gnu's post, but I think I can say the main points more succinctly and without as much technical jargon.

For those unfamiliar with this movement, the Emergent Church (a term some of them have used, but sometimes they prefer the Emergent Conversation) is a movement that had its origins within evangelicalism and has rejected key features of what it sees as modernism within evangelicalism, seeing itself as an emerging generation of those who have accepted that we're now in a postmodern generation and have to conceive of the mission and methods of the church differently in order to capture the good of this overwhelming change in cultural perspective. If you take some of their language seriously, it sounds as if they've left the church and formed something else, something thoroughly postmodernist, rejecting truth or at least any possibility of knowing the truth. If you pay more attention to those who moderate their rhetoric, it sounds as if their claims aren't nearly as strong. So there are these two ways of reading them, and the question is open (as far as I'm concerned) which of them is correct. What I think Gnu has valuably accomplished is figuring out how to categorize these two possibilities and being able to distinguish what follows if each is true.

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