One of the tasks that I had to do was land on a topic for my paper. This sounds easier that it is. I had gone in several directions, but most of them were not well suited to a mere 60 page paper. Postmodernity, though an important topic, is really not something anyone can tackle adequately in such a short paper. Even if I were to look at cultural postmodernity, I'd waste half my paper just trying to establish what cultural postmodernity was and why it is different than philosophical postmodernity. Heck I'd even have to waste another half figuring out if there even is a postmodernity!
Because my passion is social engagement (social action with our whole bodies), I knew I needed a way to enter that discussion. My exploratory research goal was to figure out what theology(s) were animating/enabling/sustaining social engagement. My thinking was that this is a component of the emerging church puzzle that has potential for broad application in the evangelical church. I found pretty much what I expected - Kingdom Theology (a lot of it is from the Fuller influence), Cultural critique which is mostly a deconstruction of modernity, Ecclesial critique which also ends up as mostly a deconstruction of modernity, Missional Theology and Incarnational Theology. That's not all there is, but those categories allow us to group certain patterns of thinking from the writings.
I decided to do Incarnational Theology and I am using the response to cultural irrelevance as a way of getting into my subject. I am not looking at all the possible aspects of an emerging church Incarnational Theology, but really two features: The inward embodiment of Christ in the Church (how do we as the Church emulate Christ) and The outward presentation of Christ to the world. I'm borrowing one of Len Hjalmerson's term - Public Presence for that one.
I have a good chunk written now, but I had the emphasis on cultural relevance rather than Incarnational Theology, so I'm redoing what I've written. It is a tonne of work.