Peter Rollins posted this on Twitter this morning:
Society not only informs us of what the law is, but also what transgressions of the law are acceptable.
As such it allows us to act out against it in a sanctioned way. One that makes us feel rebellious without really challenging the system.
In this way we receive a pleasure derived from challenging the system devoid of the risk of really subverting it
This reminded me of how I felt about Fresh Expressions, the CofE/Methodist take on emerging church, when we were doing BCLC all those years ago. They were, to my mind, trying to contain and control what people were doing, letting them think they were being risky, subversive and radical when all they were really doing was rearranging the furniture.
In a conversation I had with Barry Taylor at the recent IoG event in Belfast we talked about this manipulating the format without ever actually challenging or changing the content.
I guess now the move from emerging church to radical theology can be defined in a move through reconstructing the space to deconstructing the message.
Moreover, I think this move almost has to be made in this way.
Fresh expressions didn’t seem right to me because it wasn’t something that came out of particular situations and was merely the church trying to be hip in the hope that nothing significant would really ultimately change (just more punters on pews – sorry cafe style tables and chairs:-).
In the same way I don’t think that you can practice radical theology without having already created a new space for it. This could explain why people find it very difficult to find practices that allow them to explore, with others, the new ideas they are taking on board.