I am still emergence

Flickr Photo: gadl

Flickr Photo: gadl

After the recent Emergence Christianity Gathering in Memphis, there have been some interesting responses about Phyllis Tickle’s presentation, the future of the emergent church, the response to privilege, etc. As I have skimmed the blogs, I have seen feisty conversations with some valid critiques and, for the most part, respectful interaction. Whether invested in the emergent church conversation or not, I choose to believe that all of these conversations will be good for the emergent body of Christ as we all seek a way forward.

Here are a few posts that have been shared, though Kimberly Roth seems to have a great list on her post, EC13 Reflections: Prologue.

My input into the conversation is this — As we venture forward, we must be careful not to assume that the power of the emergent church lies in the hearts, minds or actions of any single person, any one gathering or any group of leaders. There are certainly respected individuals who fill traditional roles of organizational leadership, but I have always believed that the impact of the emergent church is most profoundly experienced through the inertia and momentum of the many groups of people who are gathering together, wherever they are or however they are lead — each living and seeking to move closer and closer to who and what God hopes the church to be.

Yes, there is a place for conferences, books and other traditional means of convening religious people, but these things do not, must not, be the sole definers of what it means to be the emergent church. If we allow this to happen, then those who sit outside of these spaces pointing fingers and tweets accusing the emergent church of just being the next iteration of what we have always done before . . . they will be right and these relationships built on emergence sensibilities that have been nurtured along the way, they will get lost in the fray.

Three years ago, I posted this I am emergence post as a confession of sorts . . . none of which has to do with a group of leaders, a “movement” or a defined set of beliefs.

because I believe that Jesus called us into individual and communal lives that are inspired and fueled by the wonderfully ambiguous, immeasurable and nuanced challenge of BEING the church;

because I believe the “T”ruth that God speaks to humanity must be discovered and rediscovered through a consistent and exhibited life of shared authority, communal theologizing and institutional fluidity;

because I believe that the political, theological and ecclesiastical “other” is discerning God’s calling on their lives just as faithfully as I am, but do not feel the need to stay in relationships that are confined by false, forced or unjust relationships;

because I embrace, respect and stand up for world that is does not exist in controllable and unyielding bounds of culture, class, sexuality, gender, economies, geography . . .;

and because I just am.

[full post]

I’m okay with these words. I guess, I am still emergence.

So, let’s keep growing by challenging AND defending one another, let’s keep gathering at conferences AND at the local pub, let’s keep gathering on the margins AND in the mainline . . .  lets keep being this amorphous thing that has been and will be a powerful presence in the world even if none of us can say exactly what it is.

And if you want a little more emergence talk, here is my friend Anthony Smith.

Videos via Sogo Media.

Grey Line for Reyes-Chow Blog
Originally posted over at www.reyes-chow.com.

Emerging in Memphis with Phyllis Tickle

Emergence Christianity 2013 Banner

For the next few days I will be hanging out with some folk who like to fancy ourselves thought leaders within the realm of the Christian faith. Oh who are we kidding . . . most of us are just huge fans of Phyllis Tickle and smart-assery. There will be skinny jeans, tattoos, ironic eye-wear, curious facial hair, beverage snobbery, other kinds of snobbery and hopefully plenty of genuine self-depreciation and humor. And all wrapped in a warm blanket of Jesus.

So fun.

Framed around Phyllis’ follow-up to Great Emergence, The: How Christianity Is Changing and Why, our conversations will center around her book, Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters. With hundreds of folks converging on St. Mary’s Cathedral in Memphis TN, we will gather to listen, talk and cavort all in the hopes that together we will find our way into what is next for the parts of the church we call home. The time will be spent listening to Phyllis, hearing from some panels, diving into Pecha Kucha presentations and just hanging out . . . and being community.

Yep, that vague. As usual.

Emergence Christianity CoverI know — f or some people, the whole “emergent” church thing is sooooo over and as a brand, sure. Not one to get too caught up in needed precise definitions *shocking*  the core values of this population — the ones that have drawn me into relationship with these folks are still there: a genuine passion for the Christian faith, a curiosity about what may be happening and a willingness to try some things . . . and best of all – huge, empathetic and frustrating intentions about life and the world. From the conservative Baptist to the way-too-liberal Presbyterian and everyone in-between, I have been inspired by the many conversations – glancing and deep – that I have had over the years and so I look forward to yet one more gathering that will feed my soul and spark my synapses.

If you want to keep up here are a few networks that you may want to track.

  • The main website with all of the info: here.
  • The instagram/twitter hashtag will be #EC13
  • The twitter stream via twubs: here.

Plus, I’ll be live tweeting big concepts via @breyeschow and doing a little play-by-play tweeting via @brc_live and pinning resources here as they are mentioned. There is also a Facebook Group and a Google+ Community where people can connect who are attending.

Grey Line for Reyes-Chow Blog

Originally posted on  www.reyes-chow.com.


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