Russ Moore, of Southern Seminary, makes some very interesting and cogent comparisons between the Emergent Church conversation and the Warner Brother’s move to re-invent the classic Looney Tunes characters. Bugs Bunny Meets Brian McLaren: Christianity, Pop Culture, and the Quest for Hip. More rights.
It seems to me that the “Loonatics” phenomenon is not all that far removed from the “emergent church” fad sweeping American Christianity at the moment. Many good critiques of the “generous orthodoxy” of Brian McLaren have been offered—noting everything from the movement’s embrace of a faulty view of truth to its flirtation with understandings of salvation that reject the necessity of explicit faith in Christ. But even beyond the specific doctrinal crises in the emergent movement, there is the sad fact that this really isn’t all that new.
That’s because the problem is not simply with the postmodern fuzziness of Brian McLaren and his devotees. The problem instead is that American evangelicalism long ago sold out to cultural accommodation to the consumerist, therapeutic ethos of contemporary American society. Now that side of evangelicalism is as “lame” in the eyes of the culture as a Looney Tunes cartoon from the 1960s. And so, evangelicalism “reinvents” itself—in the image of a brooding, angst-ridden twenty-something coffeehouse culture.
Moore makes a good point. While many within the emerging church conversation rightly bemoan program driven baby-boomer pop-evangelical bandwagon American Christianity, the core seeker-sensitive model seems to be receiving nothing more than a cosmetic make-over in some branches of the emerging church. They just market to a different demographic. At the end of the day the audience gets stuck with nothing more than a cheap imitation caricature of itself. We need more than a religious version of MTV unplugged.
Read Moore’s whole article: Bugs Bunny Meets Brian McLaren: Christianity, Pop Culture, and the Quest for Hip