OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
I’ve only just become aware of the terms “emergent” or “emerging church”. I was aware of the term “post-evangelical”, but when I last tried to find out about this sort of thing four years ago there was very little around. I found out about the emergent church movement completely by accident while doing research on a fundamentalist “think-tank” that helps members to spam “letters to the editor” columns with a web based mailer. The name of the most promanent spammer is the same as that of an emergent church blogger… God works in mysterious ways!
In my experience there are large numbers of evangelicals who would be interested in the emerging church but do not have the courage to step out of their evangelical box for fear of losing their faith.
Evangelicalism has successfully blocked off many avenues that seekers could otherwise use without having already made the decision to look outside their Christian community. Chistian book shops here only stock safe Evangelical books; they would not even order any books by Robert Funk. Church directories only list churches that sign up to very specific statements of faith. Higher education in philosophy or theology (outside of approved colleges) was universally frowned on. We are trained with automatic responses to many red flag words which signalled non-Christian thinking, including postmodern, deconstructivism, liturgy from your above list, along with Methodist, athiest, devil worshipper… :-). In order to seek you have to have already mentally left the church.
Some of my friends actually left their churches so they could start searching, but they ended up being so frightened or alienated by all the “heretical” opinions they found that they ran back to very conservative Willow Creek style churches. I don’t think they found anwers to any of their questions, but at least their souls are safe?