An Emerging Introspection Round-up

By Ryan Rodrick Beiler 04-20-2010

[Read more of this blog conversation in response to the Sojourners article "Is the 'Emerging Church' for Whites Only?"]

Emerging church leader and Sojourners blog partner Julie Clawson did an amazing job of organizing a synchroblog this week on the question: "What is emerging?" Here's part of her intro, which makes some important observations:

There has been a lot of chatter around the interwebs lately regarding how the church emerging in this 21st century is a mostly white male phenomenon. On one hand, there is good reason for this discussion. Many of the bestselling authors and rockstar speakers still happen to be middle-class white guys with Evangelical roots, and it is easy to assume that the most visible players define the whole. Nothing against privileged white guys with big platforms, but most of us know that they are not the sum of (or the core of) what is stirring in the church these days. In fact, their voices are in truth no longer the dominant voices as those of us who were previously marginalized in the Western church world (for one reason or another) are now defining the conversation regarding the church's future. ...

There are still serious discussions that need to be had regarding healing and reconciliation in the church. Previously marginalized voices still need to be humbly heard and fought for. This synchroblog in no way stands against that need. I just believe that sometimes it can be helpful to highlight the good things that are happening - reminding ourselves and the Christian community to have hope and to see the voices that are out there and are shaping the faith. I'm a both/and kind of person. I want to fight injustice and illuminate where good things are already happening.

We've already cross-posted Julie's own contribution, one by her husband Mike, and an entry by Sarah-Ji. I had planned to cross-post more, but there have been so many great synchroblog entries (check here or here for more complete lists) that I decided to do a compilation of passages more directly related to our May Sojourners magazine cover story on emergent and race.

From Susan Philips on knowing when to use a capital "E":

If Phyllis Tickle is right in The Great Emergence, then emergence is something that describes broad cultural changes that might be global in reach, but has many very particular expressions. Capital "E" "Emergent," as Shane Claiborne described last week in his Sojo post, is the Emergent brand, which may have little or nothing to do with the particular expressions of emergence around the world. ...

I also believe that we have deep ethical responsibility to redress our wrongs, clean up our messes, apologize for the hurts we've caused and make right our injustices. We are responsible for reconciling our relationships with one another and creation as far as we can, unless doing so would cause further harm. This means we must be open to hearing from others how we have injured them

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