Emergent Church

The Emerge-ish Church


As usual, I've said most of the things I think are important above in the video, but the basic gist is this:

This is a post for two separate sets of people. The first is the world of the general internet community and the second is a group of students in the Thurman/King School and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School for Christian Leadership. It has come about because I'm teaching a one-time evening seminar to this group on the topic of "The Emerging/Emergent" church and was asked to address the issue for folks that were interested in but didn't have any personal ties. Ok, so now onto the point(s).

If you are NOT in that class, the favor I'd ask is that if you've got another perspective and/or resource that you want to pass along to those students, please post it in the comments and I'll make sure folks get to see it. I'd love for this post to become a living document, so please post away:  personal narrative, resource to read, or otherwise. I'd love to have as many voices as possible on this doc.

If you ARE in that class, please watch the video above and then look at some of these links below and the comments section. Try to read and/or watch at least two from the "Insider Perspectives" section and at least one from each other section. It would be great if you checked them all out, but getting to at least one each should give us grist for the mill. If you have any questions please be in touch and I'll see you in April!


Insider Perspectives

Outsider(ish) Perspectives
Shane Clawson: Sojouner Blog Post "On the Sloppiness of Naming"

More Critical Perspectives
On The Difference between Emergent/Emerging
Miscellaneous Things I Mentioned in the Video

Top Ten Myths about Emerging Church

Short list (for posterity’s sake) of Tony Jones‘ list of Top Ten Myths about the Emerging Church, delivered at Emergence Now at Columbia Theological Seminary January 27, 2010, and reported real time via Bruce Reyes-Chow (who is there as well) through Twitter with @breyeschow.

#1 “Emergence is just about theological debates and publishing contracts.”

#2 “Emergence only appeals to younger people.”

#3 “Emergence is a reformation of evangelicalism.”

#4 “Emergence does not believe in authority.”

#5 “Emergence is confined to the American church and white guys.”

#6 “Emergence doesn’t appreciate church history.”

#7 “Emergence has a spokesperson.”

#8 “Emergence is a new way to ‘do church’.”

#8.5 “Pomomusings is the official blog of the emergent church.”

#9 “Emergence is anti-denominational”

#10 “Emergence is trying to put the conventional church out of business.”

UPDATE 1/27 : Tony posted the slides from yesterday’s talk here.

Physicality, Absolutes, and Exclusive Coolness

A video inspired by Tripp Fuller from Homebrewed Christianity, who suggested I give a listen to an episode of The Christian Humanist Podcast about the Emergent Church and the Neo-Calvinists.  Well, I gave it a listen, and it was interesting to hear folks from outside the conversation about their sense of Emergent thinking/Church.  I especially appreciated that while they were critical here and there, I felt that they generally (with a noted “coolness” exception I address in the video) engaged the material respectfully and in a way that was thought provoking.  So much so that three things popped up that seemed like they were work considering:

  • To what degree is the “Emergent Church” a movement of actual buildings and congregations? Is it a series of building?  Books? People?
  • When does inclusivity go so far that it is merely an excuse for wishy-washy theology?  Does we have to have a firm theology?  Is it possible to live in intellectual limbo or are we fooling ourselves?
  • When does the attraction to like-minded folks and engaging dialogue lead to demarcation and exclusivity?  Can people be authentic and “cool” at the same time?  What is the relationship between the Emergent Church and culture?

These questions are not particularly new to the theological conversation, so don’t expect anything mind-blowing, but they are what is live for me at the moment, so there we go.

I’d be interested in hearing from other folks out there about their responses to the above questions and my responses in the video.  I would be especially interested in hearing from people that are not directly involved with the Emergent shebang, so if anyone out there has means of sharing this outside the Emergent  blog-o-sphere and can get feedback to share, I would love that.

Postmodernity, Hermeneutics, and the Second Naïveté

This morning, Tony Jones published on his blog the contents of a chapter he wrote for The Justice Project. In it he discusses the utility of some aspects of postmodern thought to the faithful Christian.  His particular consideration of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur and the hermeneutic of humility prompted me to add on to some thoughts I started in my comments of the transforming possibility of text.  I have been engaged by the work of Paul Ricoeur since I first read him, and I imagine I’ll further address some of his thoughts as I proceed.  He has lots to offer.

In this particular video I am mostly concerned with his idea about the Second Naïveté.

What is The Image of Fish?

This past weekend, November 6-10, I was at the American Academy of Religion Conference in Montreal.  While there I made a number of great connections, including some longer conversations with Tripp Fuller (of Homebrewed Christianity) and Phillip Clayton, both at Claremont and involved with the Transforming Theology Project.  Well, long story short, both those fellows were encouraging about the work I’ve done over that THEOPOETICS(dot)NET and inspired me to get more of my work out on the web instead of just focusing on printed output.  This is the beginning of what I hope with be one or two videos a week engaging theological work (in print and on the web) with some smaller textual summary below.  Cheers!