Thursday, June 14, 2007

Emergent vs. Emerging...

I read a doctoral dissertation this week that had some pretty critical things to say about the emerging movement, even though the paper itself was not about the emerging church. Maybe I'll post more about the paper later. One of the biggest pet peeves was constantly seeing the author refer to the whole emerging movement as "emergent", and at one point even referring to the whole movement as a denomination.

So, what's the difference? I think Driscoll does a good job summing it up:


Bryce said...

I think Mark begins well but there are two things I would disagree with:

1) That Emergent is Liberal...I know many people and Church's within Emergent that would not classify themselves as Liberal (although I know Mark does). That is part of the problem with language...Mark's definition of Liberal is very different than mine or others.

2) He seems to own the idea of "Missional" as his uniqueness, although I would argue that the ones he would call the most liberal, would say that they are also trying to be missional (even as Mark defines it).

The problem with "Emergent" and/verses "Emerging" has more to do with language and perceptions. I would argue that to create tight boxes that define people/church by the categories of "emergent" and "emerging" was never the point of the conversation and also can be quite counter-productive.

"Emergent," at it origins, meant what "Emerging"(as Mark define it) means now and ironically it is those who distanced themselves from "emergent" that created it.

I have pastor friends who are theologically conservative evangelicals who are officially apart of Emergent and know that there are those in Emergent who are very liberal theologically but can't we be apart of the same conversation together? Do we have to agree with everything theologically to talk about the Church and its future?

"Emergent" was never designed to be a denomination but about people from different streams of Christianity trying to figure the future of the Church out together - seeing differences of perspectives as a strength rather than a weakness. If we can't converse together, than aren't we just exasperating the denomination problems of the 20th century and essentially focusing more on our differences than how we are going to share the Good News of Jesus to our hurting world?

Just some thoughts...

Knotter said...

I guess we'll always run into problems defining the terms. Since I would tend to resonate a bit more with a guy like Driscoll than I would with Pagitt or McLaren (even though all 3 have some good stuff to say) I can totally see why someone who is more conservative would label someone else who may not be as conservative as themselves as "liberal".

As for missional, I think Mark uses the term a lot within his setting but I don't know if he's that exclusive with it. I tend to think he would see the others as missional as well, except maybe he'd use the term "liberally missional"? ;)

I would agree with you Bryce that we should be able to have more people being part of the same conversation. I think maybe my wording (as well as many others) of "emergent vs emerging" is not productive. It shouldn't be about competing against one another. I think that all 4 streams that Driscoll describes in this video can teach each other a great deal while still learning a great deal from each other as well.

With that said, I think Emergent tends to recognize that they are different from emerging while at the same time being part of the emerging movement.

The main thing I am trying to wrap my tiny little brain around is how someone can see something within emerging types that may seem more "liberal" (we'll use that term loosely for the sake of proving a point) and then label everything within the emerging movement as "emergent". Then, rather than listening to anyone who is involved in the emerging movement they call it all emergent and label everyone heretics.

Basically, I see too many people jumping to too many conclusions. And I might have to lump myself into that category too.

Sheesh...this is starting to make my head spin.

Bryce said...

I guess part of the problem is that these terms change about every month or so.

I can see someone using the word "surfacing" instead of emerging and then the term "emerging" meaning something totally different.

Terms are crazy and in many ways reemphasizes the power of language.

Now I should probably post something on my neglected blog...

Knotter said...

Depends...what do you mean by "blog"?

Bryce said...

good question...I don't know if I know brain needs a break :)

Knotter said...

Now you see why I decided to post about Batman.