I have often been very, very critical of the emergent/emerging church and will probably continue to be critical when I perceive a capitulation to postmodern philosophy and the articulation of an epistemology that makes evangelism and doctrine moot (and is not in concert with that epistemology present in Scripture).
With that said, Leadership Journal just posted a short interview with Phyllis Tickle (great name!). You can find it here. It is a very interesting piece. I know nothing of Mrs. Tickle so I can't vouch for her sanity or anything else, but I like some of what she has to say about Scripture and worship.
The subtitle of the piece is "we need to listen to more Scripture, without embellishment, in worship and life."
In her interview she says that the Word should be read aloud because this increases our ability to absorb it (agreed) and because, when read aloud, the text leaves off being an object on the page and becomes "an auditory space and you move into it" (I'm not sure I agree with this, but...)
She goes on to say that when we meet the Word in this way it "acts on us." "The Word works on us and changes us." I couldn't agree more. I so often feel that homiletics (preaching) is the art of taking a Scriptural text and embellishing it and turning it into a very different, human voice. In this way, we use Scripture as a tool to say what we want to say, or at least Scripture is merely an influence in what comes out in proclamation. This is problematic: it treats the Word of God as an object that humans can have mastery over. On the contrary, the Word of God should have mastery over us!
Now, Phyllis starts saying some things later in the interview that make me a little fearful: that we all hear different things in Scripture and that trying to have a uniformity of understanding of Scripture is "heresy." This is a huge can of worms that I won't open on a blog, but let's say that this is somewhat problematic for me.
Finally, she ends with an exhortation to Protestants to...READ SCRIPTURE. Wow, so revolutionary. Unfortunately folks, it is true that we don't read enough of Scripture. We don't let it do its work on us. I am a pastor of high school students and I can hardly get them to bring their Bibles to church (not for lack of trying). The reason? I'm guessing that they haven't seen it modeled for them at home or in the church.
Maybe things are changing. Phyllis thinks so:
"One of the things that younger Christians and emergent leaders are going back to is family altars, reading Scripture aloud, together, as a family."
Amen, you emergents!