The emergent conversation is full of honest and courageous conservative evangelicals who take the risk to say just what they are emerging from and why. When I talk with them or read things they write it is always refreshing to see such an honest and forward person reflecting and transforming their understanding of faith in light of their questions and journey. What has been less visible or audible in the conversation are those of us who are not emerging from the theological right, but the left. I think of myself as a member of the emerging left. Before entering the conversation you would have had trouble getting me to say much of anything with confidence theologically past Schleiermacher‘s ‘Feeling of Absolute Dependence’ or Tillich‘s ‘Ground of Being or Being-Itself’ or how like Borg I had seen Jesus again ‘for the first time.’ I still read and love those three (and I think Schleiermacher is more identifiably Christian than many enemies give him credit for). What I am going to attempt to do is articulate what it was like to theologically emerge from the left. Not that you can generalize my journey that is still in process for all the emerging left, but I am sure it will be easy enough to see how it differs and highlights different transformations than my sisters and brothers on the right.
Since the more progressive Christians are as diverse as the conservative ones it may be helpful for you to know that I am a progressive Baptist (yes we do exist), went to an ecumenical seminary, currently am employed at a Disciples of Christ church, have always lived in the Bible belt, am a preacher’s kid, have been married 5.5 years to a wonderful female minister who grew up in a fundamentalist home, and have a kid arriving any day now. I guess you could say I am emerging left out of the south land. Well the first thing I am going to look at is the topic that creates the most tension in conversation with those emerging from the right, the Bible. I am thinking ofplayfully entitling it ‘the Bible is not a salvage yard or a dead bunny.’