Missional Misgivings, or Missional Misunderstandings?

scoreboard.jpg Dan Kimball says at Out of Ur today that “Small, indigenous churches are getting lots of attention, but where’s the fruit?”

My first thought was that we’d seen this before, a year ago when Mark Driscoll said pretty much the same thing, to which I responded about measuring converts, and based on that, David Fitch explains why he misses the point. So I thought we’d already addressed this — and I thought Dan Kimball should know better. And maybe he does… because he’s got a point.

Allow me to highlight a few points of departure from and agreement with Dan’s position.

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.

Measuring Converts in Simple / House / Missional Churches

churchpews.jpg First it was Mark Driscoll saying, “And all the nonsense of emerging, and Emergent, and new monastic communities, and, you know, all of these various kinds of ridiculous conversations — I’ll tell you as one on the inside, they don’t have converts. The silly little myth, the naked emperor is this: they will tell you it’s all about being in culture to reach lost people, and they’re not.” Then recently I found a post asking if it was End of the House Church? This from another insider, who notes, “I am beginning to wonder if the ‘reemergence’ of the House Church Movement that has happened in the last three or four years has stopped before it really got going? The reason I wonder this is because in the four years of being in organic Church nothing much seems to be different in regards to numbers and the vibe I am getting around the place from way back in 2004.

Random Acts of Linkage #28

Calendar September hacks and gasps its last for this year, and it’s been quite a week in the blogs… but I’ve set aside quite a few that have nothing to do with you-know-who talking about you-know-what. Okay, there are a couple in there… and I’ve saved a good clincher for the end. Also have lots of book mentions in here as well for those who need more reading material. If you only come by here weekly, I think almost every post I’ve done this week has had some significant discussion around it, and it’s not too late to jump in. I certainly feel like I’ve written a lot, but I’m not the only one who’s said noteworthy stuff this week. So then, on with the linkage!

  1. This week is a good one to end with a classic from the archives: Michael Lee’s “Why I Am Not Emergent” from November 2005.

The Rattling of Swords Grows Loud in My Ears

Bugs Bunny Slapping Bull Yesterday I sat back and didn’t comment — I was busy with other things, including some writing, but it seems to me that something needs to be said about this whole Mark Driscoll flap. And right off, this isn’t about Driscoll, or Pagitt, or Bell, or even Don Carson or the matchstick boys. It’s about criticism. And I hardly know where to begin… but challenges have been issued, and though most of them aren’t directed at me personally, I think I’ve got something to say (alright, I always have something to say, whether or not I should say it). There are times when criticism deserves a response, as do certain kinds of responses to criticism. I said yesterday that I probably had things to say that could get everyone upset with me… and while that’s not my intent, there are things that need saying. And I’m just dumb enough to be the one to say them.

NOOO-BODY expects The Spanish Inquisition!

Monty Python: The Spanish Inquisition I’m thinking today about criticism. Not in the fine sense of the word, like “literary criticism” or critique as in “peer review.” But then, today everyone’s thinking about criticism, I think. I have some stuff to say on the matter, but I haven’t finished counting to ten yet. I’m deliberately counting s…l…o…w…l…y. But when I’m done, I’ll probably open my trap and say something. I’ve already been quoted (nicely, thankfully) as commenting upon this whole critical debacle. I’m glad it was something good that I said. I’m omitting all the links from this post, saving them for a future one… but I’m still going to offer some preliminary to think over while I mull over some more prepared words. I find I’m disagreeing with both sides to some extent, so yes, I’m disagreeing with some of the people I’m supposed to agree with… which isn’t to say I’m exactly agreeing with the people they disagree with. If you know what I’m talking about, the commentary below will be apropos, and you don’t need the links. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, links will be forthcoming, and I’ll explain everything — but the preliminary commentary I offer here is important background. I think we all need to stop and consider the following.