Friday, June 17, 2005

Comment and Response

I thought the following comment to my last post deserved a post of its own - because several good points are made. My being "depressed" over Emergent heading in a more institutionalized direction isn't leading me to slit my wrists or anything - or abandon conversation and affinity with others of the emerging church.

Hey Friend,The fact that emergent village has a national director won't mean that we have less of a conversation. I'm here in blog world even with a natinoal director. In fairness, the leadership team of emergent, along with much help from Laci Scott, has done much of what a national director will be doing. Neither you nor I can run conferences, help direct conversations, nor keep in contact with supporters when time is limited. A full-time director will be able to give his/her full attention to the emergent conversation. I would strongly encourage you not to be too depressed about this decision. While it may not be what you nor I might want, it doesn't mean that either the theology or conversations will change significantly.Send me an e-mail if you are still depressed about this one... we need you in this conversation too.

You made some good points and I do realize that whether the whole thing becomes more institutionalized/organized that does not really affect my opportunity to share in and enjoy the conversation on this journey. My journey started in Africa and quite independent of “Emergent” – and it will continue because I can do no other.

My disappointment is that I can see a shift – in language and practice. Servants are always needed, and service is vital to the discussion and to invite others into the openness of it. But, I like the fact that no one has been able to “speak for the movement” but only for themselves. The request “take me to your leader” should be met with apology for our inability to point to human beings. I’ve succeeded in getting some of my brothers and sisters to stop introducing me to their friends as their preacher or minister – but just as a friend.

At least in the eyes of the rest of the world, this move turns the conversation into an organization replete with the necessary levels of leadership. Tony becomes the spokesman in the eyes of the world, whether he likes that or not. Even if Emergent continues to act in counter-cultural ways, something important has been lost in the means that have been chosen to get to a desired end.

I would rather remain, and do within the community I worship and share life with, downright stubborn in my refusal to be more than a servant despite some suggestions that being a “leader” would give us a more efficient organization. I think we have to resist mightily that direction because it is seductive.

I’m not going anywhere conversationally. Part of the dialogue is saying “I don’t agree”. To me, what is being set up is a para-conversation organization. Why? Because we need to grow the conversation.


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