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Whew... this why I've tried not to become too involved in the quasi-institution (or national/international scene) that has always been part of what emergent church is as a larger movement of people. I guess I'm partly selfish of my time and also, this kind of involvement always give me opportunity to read the subsequent posts and comments of those who hate and revile emergent for whatever reason. This post has a lot of derisive, judgmental bloggers and commentators "dancing on the coffin" as it were, if it actually is, or might be. I'm not totally sure how, why or if I should respond, but some neurons have been firing since reading this post and Tony's response, and Amy and Steve's contributions... Kinda firstly, I'm thinking that I've never considered my journey with emergent to have been simply an alternative methodology or even contained in "innovation." There's definitely been some serious attempts at innovating some methodology, but also some sincerely frightening theological and hermeneutical shifts. We've struggled with value sets and world views, not just finding the best local prices on candles and bulk coffee. If we're going to make such a strong tie to innovation as identifying of emergent, then don't stop the history lesson! Just running backwards in time to find people pushing envelopes and trying out unacceptable meeting spaces/places will be a long term endeavor. I guess the biggest thing within me that pushes back at the emphasis on identifying emergent with innovation is the authentic practice of desegregated diversity. That's rarely been a tension with which many in Christendom have wanted to put much effort. Thank God that some of God's people are trying, because some of God's people need a corner of the kingdom where they can participate. Note my inferred emphasis is on *some.* The number two push back comes with the strong use of the word "relevant," mostly by the naughty, derisive commentators around the blog-o-pond. Relevance is a two-edged sword that I've personally never held to be a core value of emergent... I've read too much Nouwen along the way to make that mistake. Now secondly... ee gad... an intro and a conclusion and this could be a sermon! The other synaptic snack I've been enjoying is a reminder that I too casually talk about the "emergent church" when I'm really talking about my participation with, and my experience of, and my localized expression of, and my hopes and dreams for a small slice of what is intentionally itself just a small slice of, off-shoot of, branch of or genus of, the tribe we call Christianity. How nice to be reminded that "we are not alone," with we being the royal plural for *me.* Sorry, I don't have snappy conclusion to wrap it all up... just totally ran out of energy and inspiration. (Which I do believe in, even if I'm a out-dated, half-dead, subsumed emergent.) Still smiling, and still emerging!
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Dec 30, 2009