Emergent Terminology: It’s Not About Fracturing

fragmenting-cube.jpg Yesterday I wrote the introduction to this post, which ended up being about as long as the next bit that contained the important stuff I wanted to say, so I split it up. Feel free to start yesterday, then continue on below, which is about the whole mess of misunderstanding over networks that are not called Emergent.

We return to the assertion that nobody’s mad at anyone, and add a caveat for the possible exception of those who have been grossly misrepresented in the fray. The essential take-away here is that the forming of a new network is not to set up an alternative one, but to found something for people with a specific focus. Undoubtedly, people both within Emergent Village and outside of it, within or outside the missional conversation, and within and outside of the emerging church. This should not be a surprise, and should be considered a form of progress. Not in the sense of “better than” another network or anything of that sort, but better in the sense that it represents a form of self-organization that is necessary for the inclusion of more conservative Christianity in the thick of what we’ve all been on about for a number of years already.

Emergent Terminology: It’s Not About Terminology

blahblahblah.jpg Perhaps I’ve said my share already as I’ve seen the comments that others have been making about the shift — for some — away from using emerging/emergent terminology. Having had a couple of my posts picked up and linked around, I thought I’d be done, but it turns out I’m not — even if it turns out I’m saying more than my fair share. I’ve been pondering the bigger picture of it though, and late last week something clicked as I began to see the whole matter from a different angle, and I’ve decided there’s an alternate interpretation to be applied. This post, I think, is my most important observation of the discussion, and one which I hope time will prove to be accurate. And as I’ve said before, language is important to me, even if others tire of the talk of words. Eventually I do as well though, so hopefully this week will wrap up all that I feel I need to say about this battle of words. And anyway, I’ll point out that it’s not about words anyway, nor is it about people de-friend-ing one another.

The Post-Modern Post-Emergent Post-Evangelical Post-Charismatic Post-Fundamentalist Post-Label

tatteredbluetag.jpg It’s gone so far now that we’re blogging about how we’re tired of talking about the topic we’re blogging about. Again. Oh, don’t worry — I’m no better. So here we go again, but this time it’s Scot McKnight posting on the latest bruhaha with some new info, or new perspective on old info. I bring this up not because we need to say it once again that there’s discussion about the continued use of the term “Emergent,” or for that matter, “emerging.”

What I found interesting about Scot’s piece was the history he outlined for the word “Fundamentalism” and the word “Evangelical.” Both words have undergone a change in meaning culminating in its abandonment by some who no longer identified with the revised meaning of the term. In this fashion, it makes perfect sense that the emerging church would undergo the same shift, and that missional will follow. Already in the missional conversation there are some moving away from the term as no longer helpful — despite a 50+-participant synchroblog on the meaning of missional, the word remains a bit slippery.

(Re)Introducing Christianity into Western Culture

allelon_miwcp_partnership.jpg Since meeting Alan Roxburgh last year and attending Allelon’s missional order gathering last October, I’ve been gradually becoming more familiar with Allelon and their work. Recently, I’ve been looking at Allelon’s Mission in Western Culture Project based on some of the material they’ve published on their site. While I was out of town, Alan Roxburgh published an update and appeal concerning the project and their meetings this August in Zambia (coincidentally where Todd Heistand is right now).

Missional Is & Missional Ain’t

humptydumpty.jpg Back in August-September of 2007, I did a series on defining “missional.” I spilled a lot of virtual ink on this question, never really feeling that I’d exhausted it. A complete listing of the posts in the series appears below — when I wrote the last of them, I expected to return to it earlier, either with further posts or in published form. I’m still planning to rearrange the material for publication despite not having touched the project for a few months, as the thing that set me off on the project in the first place hasn’t gone away. Fundamentally, there is a lot of misunderstanding of what constitutes “missional” in the church at large. People are either afraid of the word because it represents some liberal emerging church idea or they adopt it completely. The term that is, not the ideology — existing programs are commonly being relabeled “missional” without actually engaging the ideas behind mission-shaped church. The word “missional” came to have a rather slippery definition — and if you followed the series at the time, the image at the top of this post will make sense.

Random Acts of Linkage #38

car-on-map.jpg Where have I been this week? Well, with a major site relaunch (don’t miss the Seabeck video), I was short on browsing/blogging time, but nonetheless…

    Advent — Stuff from folks besides the Johannine Advent Bloggers:

  1. The Old Bill: prayer of Mary the refugee
  2. Rachelle Mee-Chapman: Nativity Tales for Children
  3. Father Jake: Advent Begins
  4. Ron Cole: Advent…creating quiet space…waiting
  5. Advent at Mars Hill
  6. Advent Waiting: “This is a space set aside for some Parents looking to jump with our young kids into the story of God’s justice coming near as we wait for Jesus’ birth.” (via)
  7. Don’t forget to stick with us daily as a group of us blog through Advent.
  8. Other — the regular hodgepodge of linkage:

Allelon Site Relaunch & Seabeck Video Report

Allelon.org Website I’ve been pretty much too busy to read or write for the past …almost two weeks now. As my friend Bill Kinnon mentioned, the project that’s had me snowed under for that period of time has been the redesign of the Allelon website. There are a few bits and pieces yet to come and some small tweaks to be made, but there it is in all its glory! I came into the project at the 11th hour when most of the design was done, but as Bill mentioned it’s been a large amount of work by a small number of people. The new site is much easier to navigate, and I found all sorts of things that I’d never seen on the old site… and that’s without even browsing through all the articles. We updated some site content today, including a new article by Sally Morgenthaler and a video report from Seabeck and our Missional Order conversations this past October. You’ll find me talking in the video… but that’s not the best part of the eleven-and-a-half minutes. Bill spent a lot of time editing today, and he did a great job… he left me asking, “So, when is the next gathering?”
(RSS readers can click through to this post to view the video.)

Missional Order: Coffeeshop Poets

Crumpled Note:  One Moment There’s one thing from the Seabeck gathering which impacted me quite deeply, but about which I’ve really said nothing so far… the language of revolution. Much of this comes from a brief talk that Al Roxburgh gave on Wednesday morning, but for those who weren’t there, it also features in an article on the Allelon site (Page 3 in particular. It was also part of the subject matter for a walk around the mall with Papa Al and Brother Maynard. (Sara Jane dubbed it, Paparazzi Bill publicized it.) If this post is of interest, I recommend chasing down some of the longer explanations and discussions in the links I’ve provided. In the nature of the zen story which is told and retold orally in part because it is then shaped by the experience and understanding of the storyteller, here, mostly in my own retelling, is what I got, which I relate under the question with which Al opened his brief address at Seabeck: “How do cultures change?”