emerging navel-gazing

If you’ve been following the latest trend around the emerging church interwebs, you’ll have noticed a bit of a general topic being tossed around.

If you haven’t been following, let me fill you in.

Over the last year or so there has been an increase in the number of various posts in all kinds of places about the end being upon us for the emerging church. I mentioned that earlier.gaze at the navel!

Recently, there’s been a few more eruptions of “I’m done with it!” followed by smatterings of “It’s not done, it’s just different!” responses, such as the sort I offered below.

Sonja, a special friend to the DualRavens blog world, contributed another one, and one that I think is especially worth reading, especially as in the comments there are other important voices adding their thoughts, with a tone that seems to agree about pressing on.

This afternoon I had to laugh a little bit. Because, at this point, there’s a conversation about conversations concerning people giving up on conversation with others in the conversation.

The emerging church has gotten very meta.

Not just the emerging church. It’s dizygotic* movement, Missional, is having a similar tone these days. The topic of “what is missional” being now more often replaced by “let’s talk about being missional by not talking about being missional and instead being missional, and what this means for mission, and won’t someone PLEASE talk about examples”.

As a contributor to such, I think there’s something worthwhile to all this obviously, but at the same time I hope it doesn’t continue on for too much longer.

Nor am I really interested in proving other people wrong, or otherwise adding to any trend that somehow wants to pick and choose the good guys and the bad guys in some metaphysical OK corral.

I think what has been said is interesting, not least because I think it does define a little bit the various motives of why people got involved with the various emerging/missional conversations. I’m tempted to offer my no-doubt prophetic psychoanalysis of the various character types, but I’ll even refrain from that.

I’d like to pose a question. And I would love it if this could be something that is passed around more broadly across the various emerging conversations, because it would be a useful way of rebooting the conversation and showing the folks who aren’t here to combat, or deride, or choose sides. Rather, I think there are a lot of really engaging men and women who are still interested in the conversation that has been meandering along for the last decade or more.

What makes emerging emerging? What’s the heart of it that is at the root of why we should overlook various issues that divide other churches? What’s the root of it? What are we, in essence, conversing about anyhow?

I think these answers have been given ad nauseam ** but I’d personally be curious to hear again from those who don’t feel like joining the various cool kids either on the right or the left. What’s the hope? What’s the vision? Why are you emerging?

And, for that matter, I’d like to sort out that answer myself. Taking a lot fewer words than I might otherwise do. I think I would like to compose a succinct answer to why I’m not only not dissuaded by folks who try to argue, but why I think I’m more persuaded than ever to keep on pursuing an understanding of church and theology through an emerging lens.

Maybe even a different answer than the obvious one: that this is the topic I’m planning to write my dissertation on, so the conversation better last for at least another few years.

But, I’m going to save my deeper answer for another post.

*look it up
**making everyone feel like they’ve drunken a whole bottle of cheap scotch on an empty stomach.

Navy gazing!

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