To Whom It May Concern:
Back when I was struggling in my life, reading some of your books (Messy Spirituality, Adventures in Missing the Point, A New Kind of Christian, etc) provided me an escape from the fundamentalism I had come to loath. I attended a church where every week I heard the pastor rail against women who got abortions, bash homosexuals (in private he called them “fags” and didn’t want them in the church), harp on liberals, and repeat that cycle Sunday after Sunday. All the while, I had no spiritual nourishment, so I grew bitter.
Your books, at the time, were a breath of fresh air. I saw Christians who, rather than rant and rave against the ills of the world, actually taught that we should be the solution. This meant quite a bit to me.
But as time has moved on, I have read more and, to be quite frank, I no longer see the difference between the fundamentalism I came to loath and the Emergent movement I see before my eyes. I appreciate the call to justice, I appreciate pointing out the flaws of conservative Christianity, which has become and is becoming a dead orthodoxy, but my concerns with you far outweigh the positive aspects I see.
Please, don’t take this open letter as a power play on my part, or a mockery of the Emergent Conversation. These are genuine concerns. The fact is, Christianity in the West is in desperate need for an authentic movement, but this movement must have its foundation in authentic doctrine and authentic actions. If either is missing, the movement will fail – either because it lacks the substance to hold it together (proper doctrine) or because it lacks the heart to carry on (proper actions).