wondering out loud

i have been wondering of late where the emerging is going. it seems that many of the people who i have seen as "positive voices" are, well.... (for a lack of a better term) "selling out." does that sound to harsh?

what i mean is, voices that seemed to be centered on doing ministry, and reaching others for christ in their communities, are now spending more time traveling and speaking for the bucks, writing books and just being a empty voice, and not being a "exampler." now i am sure they think they are doing "a great work for God" but that is not how i see it. what i am seeing are people striving to "be the voice" of the emerging church, and that is just not cool - no one speaks for the emerging church, no one.

i feel torn about this. on the one hand i want to celebrate their voices, collective and individual because i have known them for a while and respect them greatly and yet on the other hand i question what they are doing - because they seem to be doing what we have been speaking against for year - they are becoming the "established" church and are striving hard to get "others to fit" into their defined boxes - now, i am not going to "name names" because they know who they are, and so do you - as you were reading this you developed a picture in your head of who they are (and i might even be talking about me) - well, so this is not seen as a total bitch session, let me share with you one person i think is still a voice to be heard -

spencer burke at the ooze. after soularize in 2005 (in venice beach) i developed a new and lasting respect for spencer. now, i have been "connected" to the ooze from back in the days when david was around and i thought it was cool then, but spencer has shown me a great new way of doing things - and it is actually called "doing things." this past soularize was small, and very cool - while i got to "voice a lab" what was more important was i got to meet friends; more then just people who read my stuff and know me, they were people who wanted to truly do ministry and become friends - it was small enough to actually get connected, and it was not a "book store on steroids" (as all ec events and ys events are - it seems that when ever i go to them, it is less about ministry and more about whose crap you will buy). what i loved about this soularize was that no one was trying to sell their crap, and no one was "more important" then the other - it was people, connecting, learning and growing - and the best part of it all was that spencer was not hawking his wears, site, book, philosophy, thought pattern, agenda, or anything - while the event happened a month back, it took this long to register and process - i have been quite as this develops in my heart. as for me, i am seeking to minister to the people God sends to be in my path, and if i ever write a book or "get better known" and i become a butt head, let me know - because i just want to be a follower of christ, and not the center of my own testosterone.


andrew jones said...

good post

i think we have to be careful in our attempts to stay connected with the established church that the unity we seek does not become an idol and something that stops us moving forward - i like the approach of IKON - announcing they are heretics and then getting on with the job.

I think that Vineyard spent most of its years proving how "traditional" they were and never really became the radical movement they could have been. I hope we dont go that way. If God is doing something, we should go along for the ride. No matter who is throwing the tomatoes.

Jeffrey said...

"'Pay close attention to yourself' as a man of God, pay close attention to your relationship with Christ Jesus. In other words, make sure you stay close to Him, keep your eyes on Him, grow closer to Him, and grow more like Him. Watch to make sure you do not let ANYTHING--including the ministry--keep you from Jesus."

This is a quote in an article called The Almost Inevitable Ruin of Every Minister...and How to Avoid It by Don Whitley: Associate Prof of Spiritual Formation at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Funny how that is SUCH a struggle. Especially for us guys, sooner or later the longing to "conquer" and "change the world" seems to overpower our privelage and responsibility to tend the flock God has entrusted to our care--and i've found this true even in my own life. Now I do feel that some people are called to this broader role, but it seems unlikely to be called to that as well as a local shepherd/pastor.

I wonder what would happen if we applied that zeal to our own congregations? Sorry for the length of this comment...

Jesse J. Anderson said...

The emerging/postmodern/relevant/whatever church is great. It's effective and it seems to be reaching people that just don't fit in a 'traditional church' environment.

But it is not the only way. And it shouldn't be.

We are the body of Christ collectively. The emergent church is a very energetic and unique part of the body, to be sure. But it is still just a part to the larger body of Christ. Condemning traditional churches is not the way to do it. Some practices in some traditional churches may not be the right way to do things but that is not to say the entire church is bad.

And before I get some very defensive replies... this isn't directed squarely at this article or you, it just brought up some things that I see as wrong with the emergent church (gasp!).

We should be accepting of each other, acknowledging the ways different churches do things and know that one way is not the right way or only way.

And the emergent church becoming organized is not a bad thing. The emergent church has proven itself to be an effective ministry/church/whatever but, in my experience, it is not yet widely adopted. I do live in the "unchurched state" (Washington/Seattle) so that may be why, but I could name off hundreds of traditional churches in the area but I could probably count the emergent-style churches that I know of with my fingers. And this is Seattle, a city basically built for the emergent church.

My point being that with the idea of this kind of church becoming organized and becoming more wide spread opens up the idea for more people to adopt and start.

Anyways that's my rant, built up over a lot of reading and thinking and again, not directed squarely at this article... you just opened up the chance for me to speak. =)