Andrew Jones the Tall Skinny Kiwi posted today about Brother Flack, a 100 year old missionary who Tall Skinny suggests ought to be the Patron Saint of the Emerging Church. It is a great post.
The quotes from Brother Flack highlight adaptation to culture in which one is ministering, and this is what Tall Skinny identifies as an emerging church dynamic having been around for a lot longer than the Emerging Church Movement.
"Go as a learner. Be prepared to learn from the national people and from the culture of the country. Do not try to make the churches like the one in your own country. Do everything you can to develop indigenous growth. Do not be masters; be servants. Identify in every way you can with the people God puts you among." says Brother Flack.
Having aggressively attempted this style of evangelism for a couple decades now, and having been acknowledged by missionaries as doing a missions model within the United States I have discovered something a bit disconcerting.
It has become popular enough to talk about adaptation to new cultures if someone moves to a far away place to preach the Gospel. There is an expectation that there will be a season of enculturalization for the new missionary. This is accepted as a necessary adaption for the growth of the Gospel.
In our own land new cultures are developing all the time. Adaptation, and learning from these developing cultures is not nearly as acceptable to the ecclesiastical powers that be as adaptation to foreign cultures. One can get themselves into some pretty sticky situations. I agree Brother Flack ought to be the Patron Saint of the Emerging Church, but if you practice his ways - oh, Brother are you gonna take some Flack! Sorry, bad joke, but still a good point.