Emerging Evangelicals: Faith, Modernity, and the Desire for Authenticity

Emerging Evangelicals: Faith, Modernity, and the Desire for Authenticity

Emerging Evangelicals: Faith, Modernity, and the Desire for Authenticity

Emerging Evangelicals: Faith, Modernity, and the Desire for Authenticity

Excerpt

“This is the way it’s supposed to be,” Larry averred from the top of the stairs. I turned to offer an appreciative nod. His face was beaming, framed by a neatly kept white beard.

It was 4:30 p.m., mid-June 2009, and I had just finished a three-hour interview, preceded by two hours of talk, food, and coffee. The day had started with no anticipation of anything unexpected. I was to interview Aaron, a campus pastor in his late thirties. We had arranged to meet for lunch in Newport, Kentucky, just across the state line from Cincinnati. Aaron suggested a change of plan via email late the previous day, which I received the next morning:

James,

Not to throw a wrench in our plans, but I got to thinking about our
topic of conversation and thought it might be a good idea to meet at a
place that embodies what I think we might be discussing more than a
restaurant. Can we meet in Norwood instead of Newport? There’s a great
place [called] 1801 Mills…

Along with the change of venue, he added that others might join us. And so it was: instead of interviewing one individual about the Emerging Church movement, I interviewed four. The typical two-hour event became five.

1801 Mills is in Norwood, Ohio—a Cincinnati neighborhood that is both struggling and lively. It is struggling because the local economy still suffers from the 1987 closing of a General Motors automotive factory. The outward aesthetic bares this impress. Houses are run down: crooked and broken fences, chipping paint, cracked windows, few attempts at outward beautification. Streets are uninviting: trash scattered along curbs, rusty and bent road signs, potholes, and eroding asphalt. Cars are categorically tattered, modest . . .

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