Tag Archives: Emerging

Three Things Tuesday – Emergents Retreating?, Christian Women Oppressed and the PCUSA 219th GA

#1 – Has What Emerged Retreated?


I ran across an interesting series that Kester Brewin wrote about participants of the Emergent Movement in the UK returning to the institutional church and organizations.  He addresses this topic to some degree in his book  Other: Loving Self, God and Neighbour in a World of Fractures (which I have now ordered and am looking forward to reading).  The series (and the comments) covered a lot of interesting topics including how spiritual maturation takes place (part 2), how institutions can become damaging and what can be done to counteract that (part 3), some  info about Vaux (a community of artists and city-lovers who sought to explore the Christian faith through the media that came naturally to their hands) and Temporary Autonomous Zones (part 4).  Jonny Baker and Andrew Jones both post responses to the series.  Of course the authors are all from Europe which is some years ahead of the US regarding emerging/emergent Christianity, but there are still many similarities.  What do you think?  Is a retreat taking place?  Is it maturation?  Has the institutional church changed?

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#2 – Happy Christian Women…Really??? and Drinking The Company Kool-Aid

Pam Hogeweide and Kathy Escobar have written posts in response to a recent Barna survey of Christian women requested by Jim Henderson of Off The Map for his latest writing project about how the modern American church treats women.  I believe that this is a very important issue and am disappointed that no woman is authoring the book with Jim on this project (Pam addresses this in her post) but do appreciate that Jim is at least asking women (here) to let him know if their experience matches the survey results from Barna (mine don’t and I let him know).  Check it out and let your voice be heard.

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#3 – Good News and Bad News

The good news is that the PCUSA General Assembly voted in favor of lifting the ban of non-celibate gay and lesbian clergy.  The bad news is that they voted to not even hear or discuss the issue of same sex marriage and so it is tabled for two more years.

Soul Force held a demonstration at the proceedings and some were arrested because they refused to leave.  There seemed to be some differing opinions (check out Shuck and Jive post and comments) about Soul Force being there but I appreciated them being there to represent the voice of the oppressed and excluded.

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A Chastened Epistemology

This post is part of a Synchroblog coordinated by Julie Clawson to address the question “What is Emerging In The Church?”

I grew up with phrases like “Absolute Truth”  “Christian Worldview” and “if God said it, I believe it, and that settles it”. What wasn’t considered in my circle was that any understanding of truth outside of our own might have some value or that there really was no such thing as a “Christian Worldview” or that our interpretation of scripture might be flawed. The refusal to consider any of these things became like a thick slab of concrete between “us” and “them” (i.e. anyone who believed differently than we did and put a voice to those beliefs).

A few years ago some real life stuff happened and I began to reexamine my beliefs.  Around the same time, I was introduced to the emerging conversation.  It was such a relief to interact with people that didn’t write me off as spiritually immature if I didn’t believe exactly as they did.  It was so refreshing to hear people say they realized they might be wrong about what they believed.  And contrary to what I had been taught, I discovered that the lack of certainty did not diminish their devotion to being followers of Jesus Christ.  They didn’t have all the answers, in fact; they had more questions than answers, but they were more like Christ than many of the “Absolute Truth” Christians that I had hung out with for so many years.  Don’t get me wrong – these uncertain people had beliefs and convictions, but they didn’t hold on to them as tightly; and they had knowledge but it was a less than certain knowledge.  They called it having a “chastened epistemology.”

It made sense to me.  How could we believe that we had it all figured out? That would be like putting ourselves on the same level as God, himself.  And in recent years Christians had gotten it wrong about other stuff … such as slavery and interracial marriage.  Just because there “is” truth doesn’t mean that we fully grasp it or understand it.

As I began to embrace this new kind of thinking – this new way of being a follower of Jesus Christ – some much needed humility was born in me and out of that a space was created that has allowed me to connect and interact with God and others in a deeper more meaningful way.  I’ve been told that I seem more kind, gentle and compassionate.  I am more at peace and at last my faith is more like a bridge than a barrier.

I admit, it is a struggle living within the tension of believing something and holding that belief loose enough so that God can take it away from you without you feeling like you just got pushed off the edge of a cliff.  I have to consciously strive on a daily basis to remain humble about what I know and believe – and sometimes I fail.  But, it is possible and I believe that it is worth it.

After all …

How can God speak into our lives if we aren’t humble enough to listen and hear?  How will we know if we are mistaken about something if we hold on to our beliefs with unswerving certainty.  Can we be transformed without being humble?

IMHO a chastened epistemology is one of the most valuable characteristics that is emerging in the church today.  I believe humility = teachability.  More than anything else a “chastened epistemology” draws me to the emerging church/conversation.

Check out some of the other synchroblog posts:

Pam Hogeweide compares the emerging church movement to a game of ping pong.

Sarah-Ji comments that the emerging questions people are asking are far bigger than any defined movement.

Sharon Brown writes about using labels as an excuse.

Peter Walker reflects on how the emerging church conversation helped him recognize his power and privlege as a white male.

Dave Huth posts a on new ways to talk about religion.

Kathy Escobar finds hope in seeing a spirit of love in action emerging in the church.

Nadia Bolz-Weber reflects on the the beautiful things she sees emerging in her church community.

Chad Holtz writes on our Our Emerging Jewishness.

MojoJules describes her organic entry into the emerging church and reflects on moving forward with a new public face.

Dave Brown comments on the emerging church and swarm theory.

Danielle Shoyer reflects on the big tent of the emerging church.

Brian Merrit offers his pros and cons of the emerging church.

Julie Clawson is grateful for emerging globalized Christianity.

Liz Dyer believes a chastened epistemology is a valuable characteristic emerging out of the church today.

Sa Say adds her voice to the conversation in The Prick of Doubt.

The Emerging Church In North America – Past and Present

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Stephen Shields has written “Ten Year Out: A Retrospective on the Emerging Church in North America“, a very good piece on the Emerging Church past and present.  In order to assess the state of the Emerging Church Next-Wave ezine interviewed some of the movement’s most notable leaders including Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Scot McKnight, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones and Jordon Cooper.

Stuff That Caught My Eye…

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Something to think about: 

Your stuff matters but maybe not in the way you think!

In case you haven’t seen it yet – The Story Of Stuff  

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Politics:  Who can get to the issues when there are so many juicy rumors?

The Obama camp confronts rumors at Fight The Smears

Charles Martin has a full list  of Palin rumors, along with facts & rebuttals.                 

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I should have posted this at the end of August but it is still very useful as premiere week has turned into premiere “months”!

  Printable 2008 Fall TV Premiere Calendar at TVAddict  

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Current Emergent/-ing Conversation Topic:  Emerging and Emergent Church Distinction

Doug Pagitt’s Video Post

What’s In A Name? from the Central Ohio Emergent Cohort Blog 

Open Letter To Dan Kimball from Raffi at Parables Of a Prodigal World

The EMC As An NSM from Tony Jones

Claiming Emergent from Julie Clawson at One Hand Clapping

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Posts I wish I had written:  You know how you read something and you think “that is exactly what I wanted to say”….

Ugly Politics from Minnowspeaks

5 Things We Got Right In The Emerging Missional Church by Jonathan Brink posted at Emergent Village

I Won’t Sin another great post by Jonathan Brink at his blog Missio Dei

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Ever wonder what that song you heard on Grey’s Anatomy is called?  

Grey’s Anatomy Insider has a list from every episode.

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Looking For a Good Movie Blog:  For lots of movie reviews and some news.

The Movie Blog

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Cute Animal Pictures  Check them out – they are adorable.

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