Thursday, January 12, 2006

Emerging Question #6

Q6 - Can the EM point to any churches that ARE missional (in the best sense of the word), yet are clearly NOT part of the EM?

What's driving this question is just a simple observation - as I've read a lot of EM blogs, I've noticed a huge emphasis on mission. That's good. At the same time, I sometimes find myself wondering whether or not emergents allow for the possibility that someone might be very missional, and yet still not be emergent.

To put it more simply - emergents sometimes sound as if they are the only ones interested in mission, and if you are too, well then you must be emergent as well ("Wow, look at how many emergent churches there are out there!") This seems just a tad myopic (and dare I say it: 'typically evangelical') to me, and reminds me of the comment someone made (Carson, perhaps?), that the emergent movement is "fixated on itself."

Now in fairness, I doubt the EM actually thinks this way. But they certainly sound like it at times. So this question is really aimed at getting them to clearly articulate how they see themselves, the movement, and others - particularly in relation to mission.


At 12:35 PM, Blogger Dan Passerelli said...

I would say that there are many churches that are "missional" that are not part of the "Emergent US" web. After all, Emergent is a specifically American organization (except that I do think they've got affiliates in a couple other Western countries...maybe?).
And are there churches that are "missional" that would not fall under the "emerging church" label in the more global sense of the term? Probably...especially when those missional churches find themselves smack in the middle of modern culture. Though it gets lots of press, the "global emerging culture" is not the dominant culture (at least not in the West). I've seen estimates that maybe only 1/3 of Europe would fall under the category of "Emerging Culture" and that figure is probably less in the United States. So churches that are missional w/in a decidedly modern segment of society are probably not going to be identified with that "emerging" label, because their incarnation of Jesus w/in the culture is going to look different than it would within an "emerging culture" context.
The reality is that some of our siblings in the emerging church movement are "fixated on themselves" just as many of our siblings in our own denomination are. That's not an emerging church problem, that's a "God's family is dysfunctional and he loves us anyway" problem. The best examples of emerging bloggers (tall skinny kiwi being one that you have mentioned reading) are very open about not having a corner on the missional market, as far as I can tell.


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