This is an old story/link, but I saw it just come up again. I refrained from sharing it earlier, but there's more to share this time.

So, a popular Calvinist blog was poking fun at the emerging church a while back, designing "po-motivational posters". I got a chuckle, it was cute.

Well, at Emerging Grace, Grace appreciated the effort but thought some of the emerging views needed to be clarified, and came up with some more motivational posters

Since then, others have joined in, making some motivational posters for the emerging church as well as poking fun back.

This one's my favorite. I do emphasize this is all in "fun". There is no war here, and, if you ask me, I'd say the two groups need each other, if nothing else then to be challenged and kept thinking.

This is one way to keep up the conversation, I guess. It points out stereotypes, each of which has a grain of truth, somewhere, in some corner of the group portrayed. Every church has problems, and has had them since the beginning. Challenges to be better are exactly what we need (though fighting and cynicism is not. Did I emphasize enough that this needs to be viewed as "fun"? Some of these sites have angry comments, which are not so fun.)


Matt said...

I have a hard time with these posters for a few reasons. First is that they seem juvenile on the part of the Calvinists, and stereotypically vague and non-pointed on the part of the ECM.

I think Team Pyro has some excellent criticisms of the ECM that those dipping their toes in "Lake Emerging" need to consider before diving in. But wrapping their criticisms up in a sarcastic tagline and a humiliating picture does not "speak in love", regardless of whether you consider it "speaking in truth" or not. Their defense of sarcasm as a proper way to rebuke and correct just doesn't persuade me.

On the other hand, the ECM has always had a hard time explaining in concrete terms what they really believe and how that's shaping their motivation. Their posters don't help in the least. I could take a picture of a trash can downtown that has "TRUST JESUS" spray painted on it and frame it in black with a vague phrase like "Making all things new" or "One man's trash is another man's treasure" and the ECM forums would applaud, but it still doesn't give anyone any insight into WHY I believe that trusting Jesus is important, or how a trash can symbolizes anything.

The difference in what the makers of these posters are trying to accomplish (if anything) is a great example of the communication gap between the evangelical church and the ECM.

Joanna said...

I appreciate your observations :)

Yes, I did think TeamPyro's posters were NOT done just in good fun, and did seem more pointed & 'mean' than necessary. I hadn't read their defense of sarcasm before, and, it didn't persuade me, either.

And, I also agree that none of the ECM motivational posters are all that motivational- but I think one of the ECM characteristics is to not have cliches, acronyms, slogans, and simple answers that can be put on a poster with a pretty picture. But that's just my observation.

The ECM folks were obviously trying to use the same medium to communicate back to the Calvinists- and its not a very effective medium. You're right, it definitely highlights the communication gap.

Matt said...

I don't know if Team Pyro's posters are more pointed than necessary... they really do believe these issues are a big concern and need to be talked about, and I think they're right. Now, some of them like this one really don't have any point except to try to shame the ECM for having a different culture. This poster is a comeback on the same level of superficiality from the ECM. I don't think either side got anywhere in the "conversation" with those contributions.

James Kubecki said...

I would wholeheartedly agree, Joanna, that there is a communication gap.

What I find most ironic is that the Phil's posters were originally background images for (in my opinion) a thoughtful and reasonable critique of the famous "McKnight" article on the ECM that you yourself have referenced in the past. (Side note: add a search box to your blog...)

What's ironic is that no one seems to be responding to Phil's actual arguments; instead, they have latched on to the posters. And even then, most of the response is centered on the tone and not the actual content.

So if there is an actual interest in "the conversation," then where is the response to the actual criticism?

To save you hours of reading (Phil is a bit wordy at times...):

My one complaint with our Emerging friends is that (whether they formally embrace postmodern epistemologies or not) they tend to be far too accommodating when they meet postmodernism face to face. Rather than answering postmodern skepticism and refuting it with biblical truth proclaimed confidently, they typically try to tiptoe around the sensitivities of the postmodern unbeliever.

(From the aforementioned article.)

Again, where is the response?

...postmodernists can legitimately be charged with a general reluctance to affirm truth unequivocally. That's the issue McKnight needs to come to grips with, because it does have a seriously adverse effect on the way lots of postmodernists—including several of the most vocal leading voices in the Emerging conversation—handle (and mishandle) the revealed truth of Scripture.

Nada. Nothing. Maybe the lack of response is what inspired this poster. Either way, I think you can boil down most of Phil Johnson's frustration to "When can we get some concrete answers?"

I realize I have asked that same question several times in this comment - the intent is not to browbeat, it's simply to underscore the fact that this, I believe, is the source of the frustration from the conservative side.

Heather said...

Hi, Joanna. Thanks for the links! It made me go back and re-visit those posters I made - I haven't looked at them for months!

And can I say - when I made them I had absolutely no knowledge of the "poster war" - I just thought it was fun. :-)


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