I'm realizing that I really am an "Emergent." I've tried for a long time to keep away from the label (and I still don't want to be labeled) but I really do relate too well with the "Emergent Church" movement (maybe someday I'll be able to define it for you). This is probably old news to anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while.

As I've been working in my church here in Ramona I’ve realized something about myself and the emergent church: though a distinction has been made the message is still for evangelicals. The other day I was trying to find a good gift to give the students in my small group for our last meeting of the summer so I was reading through some books. Of course I looked through the kind of books that have really been a help to me. I looked through Velvet Elvis and Sex God, Adventures in Missing the point, A New Kind Of Christian, the Jesus of Suburbia, and some others. Every book I looked through was for people who are used to and/or are sick of the main stream evangelicalism they’ve been raised in or have seen all around them. The books are geared toward people who already sing worship songs, pray on their own, read the Bible every once in a while, and at least think it’s good to evangelize. As I began to see this I also began to see that my message is usually the same (at least the message I enjoy giving the most). The Problem is that my youth group doesn’t fit this description.

Last night in our small group Bible study we talked about evangelism. Now usually the conversation, when I talk to people about evangelism, is all about what message we send when we evangelize. Do we really care about the person’s life or just their after-life? Is it ok for us to shove the Bibles down peoples thoughts? Those kinds of questions.

But last night was much different. I was dealing with a group that had never been taught that they should evangelize in the first place. They were generally of the opinion that you should live your faith and leave people alone. We still talked about weather or not it’s wrong to be militant in our evangelism but I found myself having to explain why we need to evangelize at all—a much different conversation than I’m used to. We watched Bullhorn and we discussed the people who just seem to be doing it wrong. My suggestion was and is that evangelism, sharing the gospel, has been hijacked. Sharing the gospel has been turned into converting people from their religion to our own, and so we (this students in my group and I) are so afraid of being associated with that approach that we are afraid to do it at all, to take it back and do it with the intentions that the first Christians had—inviting people to live the best possible way to live... with us.

Nothing I had read in the so called emergent movement had prepared me for this. I don’t mean to put everyone in the emergent movement into the same box (because as I said above... I am one) but it seems that the message is still mostly for evangelicals. What do we do for the kids in the liturgical churches who aren’t angry-evangelicals and don't even want to associate with that brand of Christianity…?

…by the way, I think I have decided to get the group the Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus.