Major Changes at Emergent Village

emergentvillage_logo.jpg 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:

First, we need to be, as our name suggests, a village, which means we need to create and defend safe space in which people can have needed contact and conversation. The “city limits” for the village should be the four values (or rules of the order) that emergent has developed:

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.

The Autumnal Equinox Emergence. -ed.

nextwave117cover.jpg 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.

Emerge-ed? — Further Thoughts

emergentvillage_logo.jpg My little Emerge-ed? piece really seemed to strike a cord with some people, and maybe hit a nerve with others. As I’ve thought about this over the last little bit, I decided that an addendum might be in order.

Even Brian McLaren is clarifying statements about him having “moved past” Emergent, (Tony Jones goes defensive over different issues with the article, getting a response from Marcia Ford) but I did like what Brian said:

For what it’s worth, I have no interest in arguing who is and who isn’t emergent, emerging church, missional church, postmodern, new monastic, etc., etc., etc. It’s just not the way I think, and in fact, drawing branding lines to define an in-group or out-group makes me itchy. Besides, for some people, having emergent sympathies might be like working for the CIA – the people who are deepest in could be the last to admit it for lots of good reasons.


I believe I ordered the LARGE cappuccino You have to read that title with a Mike Meyers beat poet voice like in So I Married an Axe Murderer (a true classic, directed by Thomas Schlamme of West Wing fame). I don’t know if we’re all “emerge-ed” now — I doubt it — but it looks like we’re dropping the name. Some of this appears to be distancing from Emergent™ and some looks to be simply distancing from labels that are confusing and misleading to some. Often people get a certain idea of what the term “emerging church” means, and the idea has a lot read into it that shouldn’t be there. No doubt some of the reading-in is caused by the poisoning of the waters by some critics who essentially critique a caricature rather than an accurate portrait of the emerging church itself. In some cases, I gather the caricature becomes so pervasive that some distancing from the term itself needs to take place. I hate when this happens with the really good terms.

50 Ways to Define “Missional” – I

Blues Brothers:  On the Missio Dei. When I composed my entry into the Missional Synchroblog, I suggested that of the 50 different responses in the list, there just might be 50 different definitions of missional. Some of the entries have been really top-notch, and make valuable contributions to a rounding-out of the term. While there may be some mildly contradictory views, I did want to explore what the corpus of posts is saying as a whole — or at least to summarize and interact with a few of them. Given the number of posts to wade through, this will probably be a bit of a miniseries, lest I be accused of writing too many loooong posts. We set the stage with apologies to Paul Simon.

“The problem is all inside your head”, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to define “missional”