A few weeks back I was going through my library culling books whose usefulness had expired. Their shelf life was short simply because they were back from the heady days where evangelicalism was grappling with the Emerging/Emergent Church. And as I was doing this it hit me. I kind of miss those days of the emergent church, Driscoll pissing every one off, Chandler was as bald as a Crenshaw melon, Desiring God conferences were packed with speakers you were dying to hear, and R.C. was still with us. Early on I doubled down on studying the topic and it was nice close to if not on the cutting edge of evangelicalism. I liked pastors asking me questions on the subject as they formed opinions. And, like all fads, it went away. I knew it would be replaced, and with their obsession with “ancient” practices, I should have guessed that it would be catholicism or eastern orthodoxy (and ultimately atheism). The emergent church had emerged, and died, pretty pitifully into standard issue unitarianism (albeit in denial). Then Driscoll imploded spectacularly, Chandler grew hair and egalitarian sensibilities. Piper and DG is now treated as a joke, and R.C. has passed into glory.
I think part what I miss the most is the feeling of knowing who was wrong and who was right. We had said goodbye to Rob Bell and were audibly rolling our eyes at Brian McClarin. Legalists were fair game for mockery but post modernists were simply open season. There was also a lot less concern for the feelings of those who were wrong. And being generally regarded as something of an asshole* I liked that.
The more I have thought about it I revisited my stack of books on the subject and have been slowly coming to the conclusion that they are taking up valuable shelf space. But also they are taking up valuable emotional space. Just as it is not good to hold on to books addressing issues that are no longer relevant. It is not good to cling to a past that is not coming back. In the soverinty of God the young aged, a lot of us mellowed, and can see where our arrogance blew through some old obstacles but also created some new ones.
I suppose at this point I could be considered Older, Restless and Reformed. Restlessness can motivate, but it also can lead to prideful exploration. It is a state of sometimes Godly motivation for his glory, but most often it is a form of covetousness and bitterness. I think what I am aiming at, in the grace of God, is Older, Humble, and Reformed.
*One day I hope to be thought of as merely a sort of a son-of-a-bitch. If you don’t get this go watch Royal Tennanbaums.