Bless me reader, for I have sinned. It’s been 202 days since my last post. And what does it take to get me to stick my nose back into this conversation? Disgust, naturally, and something of a rant. A disgusted rant.
I know, it’s overdue. Long overdue. This blog seems to have disintegrated into one of those that has an irregular stream of posts saying, “Sorry I haven’t posted more, but I will soon, I promise.” But I don’t believe in those posts – and maybe I don’t really believe in apologies for not blogging. Sorry to disappoint you. ;^)
Seems a little odd to be writing a prologue after all this time, doesn’t it? Well, there’s a back-story, as may be inferred by those who may have noticed posts at other blogs with this same title. I’ve written a lot about the meaning of missional, its distinctives, and what it means to be missional — besides innumerable casual mentions on this blog. I finally drafted a missional series index that lists the posts I did during my major series (2007) defining the concepts inherent in the term as well as the nine-post series I did (2008) summarizing the missional synchroblog when more than 50 bloggers participated in hashing out what it means to be missional. With a couple of other miscellaneous posts thrown in, this is a total of 25 posts just from me. That’s a lot of words, and some may wonder why I’m doing this once again. No, it’s not because I skipped it last year and am overdue, but it’s for two major reasons.
Brian McLaren’s new book (A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith) has just been released, and it’s already causing a bit of a firestorm. I’m still awaiting my copy, but plan to look through it at his ten questions and interact with those once I’ve been able to consider them in more detail. In the meantime, there are a few things upon which I really feel the need to comment, and since I have a ready-built platform, there’s nobody to stop me. I apologize for the length of the post — I went back to see if I could split it up into two parts, but it just doesn’t work very well to do that. It’s long, but I think it’s important. Thanks in advance for bearing with me, and reading on. And if you get bored, skip down — I summarize at the end.
Well, I started out with some prognostication, and then I got distracted. It’s easy to get lost when you’re talking about the future, which is inherently hard to see anyway. But let’s get back on track nonetheless. As I was saying, the emerging church was set to become more mainstream, and it has done so in the past couple of years. This is not to say that the self-fashioned heresy-hunters are happy, but that’s not something that’s about to happen anyway. (Not ever, that’s their schtick.) Evangelicalism, however, has become more comfortable with certain forms and contributions from the emerging church. For those who followed along in the past year, you might think this is convenient, because evangelicalism is dead as well as the emerging church, or they’re at least on side-by-side deathbeds. What a pretty pair they make, gasping for breath to tell you that rumours of their demise have been greatly exaggerated. The precise meaning of the word “greatly” in this instance is still in some dispute.
One of the things about the way I’ve been reading blogs lately is that I often get summaries after-the-fact and reactions from others on various topics and happenings, which offers me a shortcut to catching the drift of some notable posts. And sometimes in this exchange I feel perhaps I’ve missed something important. Often I let it just slip by, but then there are times when I find my feet just instinctively digging into the sand adjacent to home plate as my eye fixes itself on the ball. This time it’s internal bickering among some who insist that any bickering on these points could not be classified as internal, because It’s fun to exclude others.
There’s a growing list of blogging cessationists whose voices are bing missed these days, and a list of notables it is, too:
- Andrew Jones
- Rob Mcalpine
- Mark Oestreicher
- Brant Hansen (sorta)
- yours truly. Kind of.
But not really.
And hey, Mr. TSK-Jones is kinda back from his blog-fast, too. So now that I’ve debagged the cat and confessed that I’m Not a Monk, But I Play One on the Internet, I feel in a way as though I’ve stopped blogging, when I really haven’t. I’ve not been as active on these pages lately as I once was, and I wrote about my blogging malaise a while back. It hasn’t changed a lot, but perhaps I can shed some more light. And no, it’s not going to be a blogosphere departure, just a… a… pseudo-hiatus.
I received an email from Rob Robinson about a half hour ago informing me that Rick Meigs (who blogs at The Blind Beggar, is behind Friend of Missional and is one of the seven Missional Tribe instigators) has been in a motorcycle accident and is in critical condition. Rick is an avid motorcyclist, and was at the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally. an email I received from him earlier this week said (in part),
There’s been something of a general malaise going around lately… people tired with blogging, tired with the emerging church, tired with missional, or tired with “the conversation.” People accuse these conversations of being the “same old, same old” or a number of other things, including being exclusive or exclusionary or being made up of people who only talk and don’t ever do the things they talk about. Perhaps you can call to mind a recent post or two or five that runs along these lines — I know I can. I’m not linking them because I’m not specifically responding to them… I’ve had similar conversations and emails and read comments along these lines as well. And of the posts we can both call to mind, there are some folk who I highly respect and who (ironically?) are an important part of the conversation… even if they tire of it at times. And some of what they say in these posts is correct. On the other hand, one reply in a group email thread this past week discussing this phenomenon said simply:
The Kiwi & family are going walkabout, sorta, in a big old truck named Maggie that they intend to drive pretty much around the globe. Europe first. As they go, they’ll be doing what they do along the way. (Hit the foregoing link or read how Jonny Baker tells it to get the full skinny.) In order to facilitate getting video updates from the Jones clan, the Tribe wants to get people to chip in (see the widget?) to get them some video gear for the trip. More info on the Tribe site. And do toss in a few bucks if you can, just to help keep Andrew’s blog interesting while he’s on the road. Otherwise you’ll be stuck reading me and Bill. See? It’s a good cause.
Blog Moment of The Year: Andrew Jones stops using the term “emerging church”. This one generated its fair share of buzz around the blogosphere, and no small amount of controversy over the term and the question of whether or not Emergent was all but done. I don’t think the term “post-emergent” came up in the aftermath at all, but the whole thing was a noteworthy moment to be sure.
Big changes at EV, and I heard it first on Twitter, wouldn’t ya know it? “MINNEAPOLIS, November 1, 2008—Emergent Village today announced a major change in structure that will position it less like a traditional non-profit organization and more like a social networking organization.” (from the press release). The Letter from the Board to Friends of Emergent Village has more information, including the results from their survey last year. I really liked this bit as they process their future: