Tony Jones & the New Emergent Manifesto, Part III

I’ve always had a kind of love-hate relationship with Emergent Village. I liked how EV sought to push what we called “the conversation” in emerging circles and help to bring it to the foreground. I liked that they helped bring some books into more popular consciousness. This would have been back around 2004 through 2006, say, back in the earlier days of this blog. Back when I had begun my church exodus and detox, when I was deconstructing and reimagining and exploring.


I have never displayed the “Friend of Emergent” badge on my blog. Oh, I considered myself Emergent-friendly, but it always stuck in my craw that displaying the badge came with a price tag — literally. If you contributed to EV, became a member, whatever, then you were invited to display the badge. You couldn’t “just” be a friend. You had to buy it. I never liked that whole concept, and as time went on, I became a Friend of Missional instead. That was free, thanks to my friend the Blind Beggar. I didn’t have to join anything, pay anything, or buy anything — I just had to be friendly.

A New Kind of Conversation: Why I Might be Neo-Emergent

new-kind-xnty-cover.jpg 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.

The Decade Ahead for the Emerging Church

foggy-fjord.jpg 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.

Well, 2010 is Unorthodox So Far…

mawwiage.jpg Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Some movies yield many memorable lines.
Crash, Eddie: Were you killed?
Buck: Sadly, yes. — But I lived!
Sometimes I start to wonder if we even know what we’re saying anymore.

But let’s clarify.

I think Andrew meant unorthodox as in unusual or breaking with convention, rather than unorthodox as in a doctrine at variance with the officially recognized position. But I could be wrong. I do know that we’re losing our grip on the meaning of the word “marriage” — not for talk of extending it (or not) to gay and lesbian unions, but for talk of whether it represents a spiritual or a legal union and whether it’s a contract or a covenant and what technicalities facilitate their binding constitution or allowable dissolution.

Premature Eulogies & The Emerging Church

circus-lion-tamer.jpg Note: there has been some further dust-up in the discussion between the Joneses. I want to comment on that, and I want to say something about what I think the future holds for the church on the brink of a new decade. But before I get to those items in my next post(s), I’ve decided to publish the following one, which I wrote and left in draft form after Tony Jones posted his rebuttal and before Andrew Jones posted his response to Tony. And if you’re not following that thread, just ignore this preamble and pay attention to what follows.

Compassion, Justice, and the Manhattan [Project] Declaration

ecumenical-canoe-trip_david-hayward.jpg 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.


phyllis-tickle.jpg I spent last evening with an exceptional group of folks having some great conversation. Among the nine of us, it was billed as a debrief session for The Great Emergence conference with Phyllis Tickle a few weeks back. The four of us panelists/workshop leaders (Jamie Howison, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Lesley Harrison, and yours truly) met together with the organizers (Christine Longhurst, Kara Mandryk, and Michael Boyce along with spouses Rachel Twigg Boyce and John Longhurst) to discuss the event just passed. I have to say it was some great conversation, both when it was on and off-topic.

The conference itself was quite good, and video is now online for the plenary sessions. (The Q&A is unavailable and the panel discussion was not recorded.) The organizers have also posted links to other reviews and resources from the conference, including an annotated bibliography. Rather than downloading the videos, you can view them online below.

Emerging Fractures & the Great Emergence

roadsign.jpg I’m reaching back a little with this one, but I’ve had a partially-drafted post on this for a while and wanted to finish it up and publish it rather than just delete it and let it go. The topic I think is an important one currently.

Mark Sayers’ much-linked post “The Emerging Missional Church Fractures into Mini Movements” now has a followup, “The Emerging Missional Church is Greenwich Village — More Thoughts on Fracturing.” In the sequel, Mark offers some further insightful thoughts on the emerging/missional movement and the fragments thereof. He says, in part,