I've been watching several YouTube clips by various pastors and christian leaders ripping into the "emerging church" - "post-modernism" - "missional" movements that have been birthed over the last 10 years. If you're not familiar with these terms please take advantage of some wiki links to get a quick thumbnail sketch:
The central stream of conflict and debate seems to be around the issue of truth. Is there (or isn't there) a universal claim (aka - truth) that is binding on all everywhere? A Meta-Narrative. How does one's cultural context limit their ability to attain or engage with that meta-narrative? Is there a middle ground between the two extremes of complete relativism and objective truth certainty?
Without getting into deep philosophical waters, I'd simply like to offer something I've found to be true in my own experience that this debate over truth has surfaced. I find Jesus at work in places of tension more often than in places of agreement. Not to say that Jesus isn't at work in places of agreement, but that He is uniquely found in places of tension where disagreement, struggle, debate, and conflict abound. Counter-intuitive as this may be, I'll offer a few quick thoughts for my reasoning:
- Tension reminds us that we who follow Jesus are diverse WHILE being united. That the diversity of experience, opinion, belief, and understanding in the body of Christ is a gift - not a curse.
- Tension reveals our inadequacies and demonstrates our need for God.
- Tension allows us opportunity to listen and learn from people not like us.
- Tension results in more critical thinking, thoughtful analysis, and better decision making.
It isn't that agreement is bad or unhelpful.....but that the tension born of disagreement is a gift because Jesus meets us differently and more powerfully in those places.