Why I Am Emergent, Part 1: Conversation

As we start the new Emergent Village Voice blog, I want to launch into a several week series on how I came to associate with Emergent Village and the movement at large.  The emphasis will be on the “why,” but it will include the “how” along the way.

One of the first things that attracted me to all things Emergent was the conversational aspect.  This was a network of people who were talking, writing, communicating, thinking, publishing, podcasting, blogging etc.  It was even often referred to as the “Emergent Conversation” because of its propensity for dialogue (which remains my favorite descriptor of what this is).  Once I came across an author that associated with this movement, I was quickly plugged into all of these other channels in which conversation was happening.

What was even greater for me is that there was a local group, called a cohort, that met monthly to talk about issues from an Emergent perspective.  What a great idea!  I quickly became a part of this conversation in the Twin Cities area.  All of a sudden I had a voice in a dialogue and people who were asking the same questions I was asking, but from a myriad of backgrounds.

I once heard a megachurch pastor say that his church would teach their way out of any congregational problem.  Well, I almost think we could say that us Emergent types will talk/dialogue/discuss/ponder/quib our way out of (and perhaps into) any problem or issue.  It is part of who we are.

I see conversation as central to what it means to be Emergent (if we can even brand people with the term—more on that in the coming weeks).  We need to be heard and we need to listen.  We need to be challenged and we need to challenge.  We need to have opportunities to be offended in a safe place and we need to react.  So much of this process is healthy, human interaction and frankly, so unlike the institutional church as I have interacted with it.

Do we ever go to far with conversation?  Perhaps.  I heard a saying once that an Emergent would rather talk about an orgasm than experience one (does anyone know the source of this quote?).  Thus, if we allow conversation to keep us from acting in the ways God is calling us, then it becomes unbalanced and unhealthy.  Paralysis by conversation is a step in the wrong direction.  However, what I have experienced in the Emergent movement has been extremely positive.

My encouragement to you, blog readers, is to continue to participate in conversation.  Write.  Talk.  Record.  Publish.  Read.  Meet for coffee. Dialogue.  Ask.  That is one of the reasons why this blog is so great: it remains a central location for interaction and conversation.

Has this been true for you?  How have you been able to participate in this conversation?  Do you value the opportunity to have your voice heard?


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