Thursday, March 04, 2010

More answers from Salem, MA defining the "emergent church"

This is a continuation of the first post on this subject.  It had three video clips from Salem, MA from three different people who were part of an Emergent Cohort meeting.  They simply gave a single sentence answer to "what is emergent?"  Here are three more clips from the same evening two nights ago on Tuesday, March 2nd 2010 at The Gathering in Salem, MA.

The clips are non-professional answers - i.e. from people who don't have a monetary investment in defining "emergent."

This first clip is Jeff.  He may have more of a personal investment than any of the rest of the others, because he is the chap who founded the Boston, and the North Shore of Boston Emergent Cohorts.  Don't let that sway you though - he doesn't make a buck from it.  Looses a few bucks I am sure.


Jesse below pastors a house church in Beverly, MA.  He and I hung out for a pint after the meeting.  See, he has got to be emergent!  He drank a pint at the Gulu-Gulu Cafe with me, and an unidentified Baptist dude.  I would have said that Jesse had the best answer until he revealed he was kidding, and started over. :-)


This last one is Paul.  He attends The Gathering as do a couple of the others in previous clips.  He is a student at Gordon Conwell.  I like his "free-thinkers" quote, but I'm not sure that my atheist friends would agree with that point, but that's for future discussions.

17 comments:

cern said...

I like what Jeff had to say. Particularly 'I wouldn't call it a church... it's a dialogue'. One of the things that the emergent 'conversation'/movement seems to do that others don't seem to do so well is to recognise that they don't have to pretend to have all the answers about a Christian faith and that dialogue can be useful, informative and thought provoking. :)

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Mike,

Jeff knows the movement well, and a lot of the people in it. He has been a part of it for at least 6 years I think. He has a sense of it from the inside and from the perspective of those touched positively by it who are not even quite sure what it is.

I thought you might identify with the moon phase comment though. ;-)

g13 said...

hey pastor phil, thanks for posting the video. mike, thanks for your kind words.

for some reason, i can't get jesse's video to play. it might just be my computer though.

winans01 said...

Agreed that it is a dialogue, my constant concern is however when does the dialogue become seeking and not just hot air

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Jeff,

Yes, the video for Jesse was running slow for me, but it worked. I will have to check that out - thanks for the heads up. I thought it was just me.

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Bruce,

Good to touch base with you today Bruce!

I guess your point is only observable from close range. You have to be in the search with others to see the transition. It is a typical mistake of evangelical-ISM to emphasize numbers and miss personal transformation, which is truly only observable one on one.

I think too that we are called to walk alongside people whether they change like we want them to or not. Otherwise we become headhunters.

winans01 said...

I guess I speak from a little burn out. I have dealt with quite a few people lately that though I spend time with them and don't look to push any agenda just honest dialogue. these same people have talked and when they were done they just left. I'm not talking about on the street evangelism. I'm talking about people I have invested years with...You know typical minister stuff.
this is also fresh for me because I am changing styles and planting in Buffalo in a year or two. I know that traditional church will not be the ticket and I wouldn't want it anyway. currently I'm searching for the right lifestyle ministry to have in Buffalo

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Bruce

Years and leaving...I know all about that too. Been there doing that - regularly.

BTW - tried to reply to your email and it bounced back at me.

Jeremiah said...

Were there any representations of those who may be moved by some aspect of the emergent movement but who also may be jaded against or critical of the emergent movement, no matter how unfamiliar or tangential they may be?

I guess what I'm saying is, if the emergent movement is going to present criticism of itself, regardless of what sort of fool said critic makes of itself, a good place to start might be with someone who is in, by some definitions, an emergent church, and who considers his emergent friends as close as his own paternal brothers or sisters, but recoils at aspects of the emergent movement, inside her or himself, with the zealousness of a Pharisee. Such a, albeit possibly misinformed, internal critic might need to be invited to participate in a safe forum to present his (even misguided) feelings, and not necessarily jump at the chance to throw her (or his) two cents in when a mad-dash is made to showcase video feeds. Part of it could be an overly zealous enticement to be branded a counter-revolutionary but part of it might be feeling she or he has something worth noting but not wanting to rain on anyone's parade.

Regardless, after all the above blabbing, a movement that seeks to be inclusive seeks out criticism. If not for it's own refinement, for the critic's refinement. Otherwise, it seems to me, the movement is just another 10 or 20 year flash-in-the-pan (or maybe something significant that morphs and evolves...)

I might be able to find someone who has concerns about certain definitions of "emergent" if you're interested.

Pastor Phil said...

Interested indeed. This was a series of definitions by those who appreciate it, but are not its leaders. To look at it critically is a next good step.

Takers?

Jeremiah said...

I am interested and will form some questions and responses which not only laud aspects of the emergent movement which I appreciate but present concerns in a manner that is more informed, thoughtful, and not mean - conducive to good dialogue. I may begin by touching on the ongoing discussion within not just the emergent movement but all over the church on gender and race. There is no hurry or urgency - mainly an interest in presenting the whole story which includes not presenting critical views of the emergent movement which may solicit more than it's fair share of "e-/air time."

winans01 said...

For me the issue of emergent is...what are we emerging (rising) from? are we rising from: traditionalism, Orthodoxy, Contemporary-ism, seeker sensitive,Constantin's remodeling of church structure, Puritan ethos...
Unfortunately, many have used emergent as an excuse to run rather than to change

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Jere,

Do you want to record some of these thoughts - questions - whatever angle they take and post them on Youtube? Then I can embed it here. If you can keep it down three minutes or less that would be good. For the way people track these days doing a thought provoking thing in one minute is even better - otherwise the audience fades off the another faster moving location. :-/

Oh the weaknesses of social media.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Bruce,

If the issue is "what are we emerging from?" then you should be a regular part of the dialogue, because that is the question many are asking and pursuing. And who knows? it may different for each person - to some degree.

James said...

winans01,

I think the simple answer is "yes" all of those things. For me emergence is about transcending all of those things. Each of those movements formed for a reason. They were a reaction to something. Sometimes, they were reactions to reactions which became overreactions. In other words, puritans were reacting to something, but, I think most would agree that they took it too far. This caused reactions to the puritans and the formation of denominations. The question for the emergent then is, what did puritanism do right (Why did it attract people) and what did the tradition to which it was reacting too do wrong? What was the downfall of puritanism? What can I learn from this and how can I not repeat the mistakes of puritanism. In this way, I think that emergence is emergence from reaction-ism. It is seeking to be a para-denominational movement.

In some ways however, this is not what emergence is, but what I hope it will be. I don't think emergents are even yet sure of what emergence is...

Jesse Browning said...

I love how you described our company at Gulu Gulu as the "Unidentified Baptist Dude". Hilarious, mostly because he requested it in all seriousness.

Next cohort I'll buy the round. Me, you and UBD (Unidentified Baptist Dude)

Pastor Phil said...

Sounds good Jesse. Every UBD needs an IPA.