It Was and It Isn't: A Rhetorical Exploration of Simulacra in Emerging Church Vintage Worship
Document Type Article
Ironically, a new vintage movement of worship was being taught in a certain strand of the emerging church movement. Dan Kimball, pastor at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, established his teachings to reach the postmodern generation absent from seeker-sensitive churches in a text called The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations. This text suggested many elements, or symbols, for worshipers to include in vintage faith worship gatherings that would connect with the post-Christian culture. Eight of these symbols were chosen – the band, technology, video screen broadcasts, life-stage groups, ancient structures, light, symbols of the faith, and artistic displays – because of the vintage connection Kimball desired to reinitiate into current worship trends. Each of these symbols had entered into one of all of the four stages of simulacra established by postmodern theorist Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard argued that a misrepresentation of sign would lead to mismanaged meaning and create a falsified reality in the new environment of the sign. Baudrillard’s theory was established as a workable methodology to be used even in the religious discipline. Baudrillard’s work connected rhetorical analysis with practical application in the vintage church, worshippers protect meaning through established honest contextualization of the vintage sign in new environments.