Perhaps it is time to blow the dust off of this poor old site, if only for one last post. I don't even know that I qualify as an emergent Nazarene these days. I have been part of a Church of God (Anderson) congregation for some two years now. Emergent has dried up as a marketing buzzword, and while us emergents continue on emerging the emergence has submerged into the daily rhythms of our everyday church lives. Oh, the concerned folks continue to rail against the evils of our ilk, but then again they are always railing against some perceived threat because without it their lives would suddenly have a whole lot less purpose. Fear sells.
I should get to the point. Time is precious these days, and I have to say that I have spent the last two years realizing that truth more than ever as my kids have grown before my eyes. So, to the quick.
What does the the Church of the Nazarene want to be when it grows up?
In the 2,000 year history of the Christian faith the Church of the Nazarene is not yet an adult. It is growing, it has some adult-like responsibilities and it no doubt has matured but our barely centennial church can't claim stake yet to be an adult. I don't mean this as a disrespect to Nazarene hagiography, rather as encouragement that the best is ahead. It is precisely because the best is ahead that it is time for the Church of the Nazarene to start thinking and preparing for what it's adult mission will be.
Does the Church of the Nazarene want to follow it's high-born Methodist brothers into respectable mainline territory?
Does the Church of the Nazarene wish to hang onto the culture crusades as it's defining mark and become a footnote of evangelical history?
What exactly does the Church of the Nazarene want to be?
I see growing movements of organic house churches. I see a shift of demographics towards the global south. I see the need for a holy and loving witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in the urban areas of a post-Christian USA, Canada, and Europe. I see the evangelical term being hijacked by strident Calvinists. I see the church failing to stand up against the excesses of the military complex and it's empire. I see Christians more concerned with keeping their money than using it for the poor. I see churches turning away illegal immigrants.
Through all of these changes where does the Nazarene church want to be in ten years? Twenty years? Another one hundred years?
Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I have been gone too long and have missed the boat, but I am not sure that the Church of the Nazarene knows who it is, it is an adolescent in search of meaning, not sure of who it wants to be when it grows up, or what it wants to stand up for.