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In the preceding essays Brian McLaughlin and Michael Wittmer sketched the character and contours of a movement that has come to be known as the Emergent church. My ambition is more modest. I want to focus on worship as the Emergent movement conceives it. To do this, however, it is necessary to consider my object of investigation in the context of a larger set of concerns that animate Christians who identify themselves as Emergent. Central among these concerns is that the established churches (e.g. mainline Protestant, evangelical) are no longer capable of witnessing effectively to the Christian faith because they have failed to address fundamental issues about how to transform their institutions and practices to meet a world that has changed dramatically. According to the Emergents, it is only when Christians become aware of how the world has changed around them that they can begin to develop forms of Christian belief and practice that will survive and even thrive into the future.
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