Emergent Church – Getting My Fanatic On?

I notice that I feel a powerful attraction to the Emergent Church Movement (ECM) because of its ability to speak to the frustration born from my interpretation of the current state of affairs with Church in community. Is what I feel the appeal that it can offer something that hasn’t been provided to date? I notice how enticing this is to me. I think its the culture conversation in me that listens for and deeply values “progress.” In the context, “progress,” the offer more, better or different fans frustration.

The idea that I may not have a future worth having, exacerbates my frustration. When frustration reaches a certain level it culminates in action. This particular strategy is one way to produce change. I notice that I make radical personal changes when I really can’t stand the way things are.

Edward A. Ross, in his book The Changing Chinese, points out that mass movements attempt to intoxicate their followers with hope of a future while cheating them of the enjoyment of the present. When frustrated, the moment is irreparably spoiled. Comforts and pleasures cannot make it whole. No real content can ever arise in our minds but from hope of something other than what we have.

I noticed that when I heard about Brian McClaren’s tour I got excited and immediately subscribed to the newsletter, studied the locations and dates and began to make plans to attend. And then I stopped and asked myself, why must everything change for me? Do I feel this way because I experience this moment as “irreparably spoiled?” When it comes to the church, do I feel all I have that remains is a hope for future change that must take place? Is my faith and sense of community in that condition?

Without diminishing the need for change, what are my motives in joining the change? Is it possible that my faith in the cause is a substitute for my loss of faith in God? I wonder if despair has a part in fanatical behavior? And, if it does, what is its relationship to fanatical behavior?