Peter Rollins is a prominent figure in the Emergent church movement in the United Kingdom. Schooled in philosophy, with several degrees from Queens University in Belfast, Rollins is determined to revitalize Christian practice with a peculiar blend of self-critical Christian practice and theory. He works with a group called Ikon, which engages in “anarchic experiments in transformance art” and holds “theodramatic” events in pubs and on the streets of Belfast.
If yesteryear’s evangelical church was a castle in the exurbs, Jacob's Well is a rehabilitated loft in the city. Evangelical churches attract young people with spaces stripped of Christian symbols and tradition; worshipers at JW like its dark wood, stained glass and high ceilings. Other churches would be thrilled to have 1,000 attenders; JW worries that it will lose the intimacy that nurtures community and friendship. And stewardship? Jacob's Well urges members to give time or money only out of gratitude.
The Emergent church movement—activities so loosely organized by design that many proponents call it the “Emergent conversation”—has succumbed to its own growing popularity and named its first national director.
Last spring the Nashville Convention Center played host to both the National Pastors Convention and the Emergent Convention. While the former was largely geared toward evangelical baby boomers, the latter catered to Gen X and Millennial evangelicals (and “postevangelicals”) who are trying to come to grips with postmodernity.
Brian McLaren’s two most important books—A New Kind of Christian and the recent A Generous Orthodoxy—both open by raising the specter of an evangelical pastor leaving the ministry or the church altogether.
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