Yesterday afternoon, the Autumnal Equinox occurred, summer ended, and fall began in the northern hemisphere where I reside. I noticed this today when Google‘s logo changed to a fall theme for the day. The fall colours have begun to emerge… wait, can I still use that word? The emergent leaves are beginning to turn… uh… I’m enjoying the fall colours. And in an apparently unrelated turn of events, the new issue of Next-Wave is out, with a cover story titled Emerge-ed?, which may possibly sound familiar, as I wrote and published it here a few weeks ago. The post takes a kind of summary view of the discussion around the abandonment of the term “emerging” or “emergent” with perhaps even an insight or two of my own in there. The post received some linkage and clearly resonated with a number of people… which I think might be fully attributable to the way it rides the coattails of a cult classic for which I’ve unwittingly awakened some kind of craving.
What’s with the post-ed, anyway?
“Harriet. Harry-ette. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis. Beautiful, bemuse-ed, bellicose butcher. Un-trust… ing. Un-know… ing. Un-love… ed? ‘I wants you back,’ he screamed into the night air like a fireman going to a window that has no fire… except the passion of his heart. I am lonely. It’s really hard. This poem… sucks?”
Okay, maybe it’s pushing the metaphor… but Emergent Village is a large organization now, and some people feel that they make waves — without really intending to.
“It has its own weather system!”
And what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?
“Well, it’s a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that there’s a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentavirate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows.”
Yeah, so this whole emergent equinox is bigger than all of us. Know what I’m saying?
“I know that part.”
Good. I was afraid some of the references might be too oblique. I wasn’t trying to be brutal with my comments or anything.
“Well, brutal’s a very subjective word. I mean, what’s brutal to one person might be totally reasonable to somebody else.”
Yes, well, I realize that some people don’t think the words are all that important.
“[after brief contemplation] It’s a point well taken, Tony. But you must understand, although it’s not exciting, it’s a very important part of our work.”
And that’s why I wrote the article. See? I’m just glad you seemed to enjoy it.
“I’m smitten. I’m in deep smit.”
Uh-huh. So the point is clear, then? Or do we still need to appeal to the Emergent Godfather, or commissioner-at-large?
“Well, the truth of the matter is, I don’t report to a Commissioner. I report to a committee. Some of whom are appointed, some elected, and the rest co-opted on a bi-annual basis. It’s a quorum, so to speak.”
Okay, but I mean we agree about the history of the word and the continued relationships that are so important?
“Some of you were there, some of you weren’t born, and some of you are now DEED! But, we both said “I do,” and we haven’t agreed on a single thing since.”
I’m not sure this is really getting us anywhere. How about we use the word in some circles and not in others, as appropriate?
“I have no problem with that!”