USA Today: A Force for Good
For a growing movement of believers, an activist faith means more than proselytizing about Jesus and stoking the fires of our culture wars. Welcome to the new (and yes, liberal) world of evangelical Christianity.
A passerby might not have known: Was this going to be a church service or a concert by an alternative rock band? The set-up on the stage suggested the latter — a drum kit, guitars on stands, several microphones, and large screens flashing iconic Portland scenes — and so did the look of the young, urban-hip crowd filling up the auditorium.
Then the band hit the stage with a loud, infectious groove, the front man singing passionately about God, and it was clear that the Sunday gathering of Portland's Imago Dei Community was both alt-rock concert and church service, or neither, exactly. So it goes in the new world of alternative evangelical Christianity, better known as the emerging church.
There's a growing buzz about the emerging movement, and depending on your point of view, its robust growth and rising influence are worthy of applause, scorn, or perhaps just puzzlement. Fitting for a movement that eschews hierarchy and dogma, emergents defy simple definition. Perhaps the best one can say is that they're new-style Christians for the postmodern age, the evangelicals of whom the late Rev. Jerry Falwell disapproved. ...