I have been considering the issue of the poor, and their identification with the Kingdom of God as it relates to this Emergent/Pentecostal connection.
The Pentecostal church has been perhaps the greatest Christian force among the poor in the 20th century, and still remains a fast growing movement (particularly in poorer nations) today. With the emphasis on global concern, and social justice in the Emergent conversation, it seems to me that a dialogue about the benefits of Pentecostalism to the poor deserves some airtime.
What is it about Pentecostalism that speaks to the hearts of the poor, even though social concern is not as high on the list of it's concerns as it is for some other movements? and even though it is often a movement among local people with few financial resources? Is there something in this simple, yet passionate movement which has something to offer the Emergent Church, yet remains relatively misunderstood, or overlooked?
I suppose one can quickly presume that the poor run to Pentecostal evangelists for false promises of wealth, but can we be so sure that the movement of such a large flock to Pentecostal traditions is as easily explained as that? There is obviously something more significant than false hopes of riches considering the size, and variation within the movement? What lessons can we learn about the power of Pentecostal traditions to draw, and to empower, and to encourage the poor? and how can this become a source of challenge to the Emergent conversation?