As I share in a comment to the original post I was un prepared for the the nerve that this post has struck in the emerging church blogosphere. I think it is important to share the wealth of thought that is being generated on the subject. Not everyone sees it the way I do (that’s a good thing) but there’s a great deal of thoughtful conversation and for that I am grateful. So here’s some clips from around the blogosphere and responses to them.
In his post Is Post-emergent Emerging? Michael Hamblin writes
Although I have differing concerns about N.T. Wright than Andre, I do feel that there are too many people riding on the “N.T. Wright is cool” bandwagon. Too often it seems that before you can be part of the emerging conversation, you must be fluent in whatever Theological tongue or personality happens to be the fad of the moment, or you can add nothing of value to the conversation (which is to say, you are marginalized and excluded for not being into the hip new Theology). Lastly, reconciliation as a lifestyle is something under emphasized by both Evangelicals and emergents alike – but more on this another time.
He also offers a critique which has popped up in other places of my use of the word post-emergent to describe my current connection with the emergent conversation. I’m a bit ambivalent about the word post and underestimated the range of meaning that is has for folks. I use to to mean beyond as in I am being drawn beyond the limitation of the current conversation.
rhett at the The Colour & the Shape asks
I’d like to know more about the ‘European theological framework’ though. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I understand what is meant by this. Either way, it’s sad that you feel that you can’t be included in the Emergent Conversation on your own merits. I can only put that down to your context. I know many people who would do their best to welcome you, or anyone else
some of his commenters write: Give us some books by other ethnicities we can read then. If you’re African American involved in the conversation, write book.
Another writes: Attacking or putting down one conversation does not promote another. For me I do not want to be apart of one group that is just tearing down another.
The European theological framework is the I reference is the approach that normalizes theological conversation about a white European/white American world view. This has the effect of excluding the voice of non euro theologians etc.
Tim Samoff writes
I guess I’m not ready to give up just yet (big—and true—change doesn’t happen quickly).
I haven’t given up I’m drawn to something more.
This(my post) has been a discouraging post for me because I fear he is correct…
one Jordan’s commenters writes: Surely the influence of Martin Luther King on the aspirations and ideals of the emerging church has been momentous? He was immensely inspired by Karl Barth, who I’m sure owed a debt of gratitude to that North African theologian of note, St Augustine.
To this I ask where is the influence of MLK evident? If there was real influence then the conversation like MLK would be multilingual in its language of theology MLK was intentional about reading European theologians ( maybe he had to in order to included have the conversation) shouldn’t those in the emergent conversation have that kind of intentionality as well?
It’s much like so many other Christian movements and institutions, it is very anglocentric. One of the things that drew me in early on was how this may finally be the thing that brings folks from different ethnic groups together. That is something important for my family. I want my kids, who already claim to be ‘both’ when faced with the "are you black or are you white" question, to see and practice a faith where both are present and celebrated in Christ.
subversive influence prognosticates
2006 will, I think, be a year where the emerging conversation starts to crystallize some of its theological common ground, but a lot of the emerging voices who have been at this a while are going to become less and less concerned with doxis and more and more concerned with praxis. That is to say, emerging churches that have been doing are going to start talking even less and doing even more. Some of this is characterized as weariness, but at a deeper level, I believe it’s the stirring of the Holy Spirit in these leaders.
I hope is is right and if he is I will be a part of that.
Finally Anthony Smith (a friend and who I might add is a brilliant guy) adds a historical perspective to what I am expressing
In his recounting of Guder’s thoughts he mentioned that there is a danger in the emerging church in not thoroughly discerning its sharing in the American experience. This has been one of the valid criticisms, I believe, of the emerging church conversation. That somehow we have moved on from modernity and have found (and still finding) a faithful way to follow Jesus in postmodernity. I believe this to be a dangerous temptation. The temptation being that we have faithfully (possibly completely) named our capitulation to the bad habits of modernity. The emerging church, in many ways, has the resources to ‘name’ these bad habits. But one bad habit has gone typically unscathed in the broader conversation: the racial Constantinianism of North American Christianity.
That is my round up for now I am floored and humbled by the response to this and only pray that in some useful way I have helped move the conversation in a positive direction.