first, i want to make clear that i have great respect for tony, brian, chris, doug and the rest over at "E"mergent - heck, i even joined back in the day, but some how fell off the email list :) it's all good, and i still count them as friends, and cohorts in ministry. but i am very leary about this idea of a "national director."
normally, this would not be no big deal, because "E"mergent can do as it likes and lead the people they desire - but in his post, tony has asked that we, "the emerging," unite with this [explained more later]. so, because tony asked that we not argue over "E" and "e" it becomes a discussion that goes deeper then just the "big E."
to me, it has the taste of the "modern church" - the "this is how it is done" mind set of the church so many of us strive to "change." i can't help but think we could have developed a better way of doing it; a better way of "pulling us together." i am not sure why, but we fell into the groove of what has always been done before and we are forming a "parachurch" ministry. we could have developed a new and different way of overseeing the "mechanics" of the beast, yet we fell to the lowest common denominator and simply created another 501(c)(3) where fund raising, marketing, tax breaks and "programs" will soon take hold - while i pray that will not happen, and i pray they seek voices that will stand against such a movement, i am not sure that will be the case, and in that i cry.
In the coming weeks, the Board will nominate a few new members, to be voted on at the annual meeting in February, 2006. Currently, the board consists of Brian McLaren, chair, Ivy Beckwith, Tim Keel, and Chris Seay.
with that i would ask that the board seek diversity in voices, and not fall into the trap of the past "parachurch" movement. select some that are loud, some that are soft and some on the edge. i would pray that they seek to truly represent the voices that claim to be emerging - because if not, they will not speak for even the smallest of us and "E"mergent would become simply a noice in the back of our heads. my prayer is that "the board" does not fall into the trap of the modern evagelical movement and select people who "give the most money" or "who look good."
tony adds this:
(This is why I, for one, reject the dichotomies of "big "E" vs. small "e"" or even ""Emergent" vs. "emerging church"" at this point, these are not helpful differentiations and already show the nascent signs of in-fighting. Let's table these debates for a couple years, OK?)
here is where tony has asked us to unite behind "E"mergent and while i will agree with this, to some degree, i would be remissed if i did not express the fact that the conversation is not as linier as some are seeming to express it - if the voices "selected" do not speak for "the emerging church" (small "e") then we can say that "E"mergent simply desires to speak for all and control the conversation - you need to remember you are calling us to "let it go for a couple of years" so, the ball is in your court. remember that there are many among us who are weary of such power statements because it is unnatural for people who think emerging/postmodern to trust "control." but also know that by your claiming that you expect those who do not see "E"mergent as a part of their voice to support it - no matter what - you are saying you reject those who feel different and at worse you are rejecting the thoughts of others - and that division is not a solid ground to build on.
so, the challanges for "E"mergent, as i see it, are - can you bring us together? are you willing to hear all our voices (even those who disagree with)? can you embrace and celebrate the diversity? are you willing to hear and accept those on voices are on the edge, and can be abrasive (no matter how edgy they may seem)? can you do all this while not creating a "doctrine" or "dogma" that one must sign and agree with?
[this post was edited on 06.21.05 from it's first posting - and it was done to give a better flow to the writing]