‘Inhabiting a space on the outer edges of religious life’: The Radical Emergent Christian Community of Ikon
What has come to be known as the ‘Emerging Church’ (or colloquially as the ‘emergents’) amounts to an innovating, if somewhat controversial contemporary Christian movement that attempts to be spiritually relevant in the contemporary cultural setting to both its adherents and those outside of its loosely demarcated boundaries. In this paper I overview one significant example of the movement’s more radical wing, the Belfast-based Ikon community in Northern Ireland. i The paper argues that, on the one hand, Ikon exemplifies the means by which a distinctly innovating and even intentionally provocative religious constituency endeavours to forge a juxtaposition within postmodernity. On the other, Ikon self-consciously attempts to avoid conforming to any typology and deliberately escape conceptualization, even underlining its own failures in what it aspires to be. The paper will indicate that the attempt to resist constricting characterizations is embedded in the very nature of the philosophical standpoints and theological leanings (such as they exist) embraced by the community as it seeks a unique but definitive Christian response to the challenges of postmodernity.
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