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July 21, 2005


Steve McCoy

Oh, Cawley is entering the thicket. :)

McLaren does interact with some criticism. Like here.

I find it strange that people accuse Emergent (the org) of not listening to criticism while I hardly ever hear evangelical leaders even hint they could ever be wrong. It seems to only happen when one gets on TV and says that 9/11 was caused by abortionists.

Brian Brown

After looking at the link Steve provided, I am pretty sure that was the place I was talking about on the phone, Kevin.
I hear the force of what you're saying here, but isn't it the most frustrating thing in the world when you can't recognize your position at all in someone's description and critique? And regardless of how harsh the critique- isn't such a recognition and portrayal absolutely necessary for any helpful dialogue to take place?


Steve-- thanks for the link. Brian, thanks for the consolation.

bob Hyatt

If you read the emergent US blog, they talk a bit about getting some flak for being so white and male and actually trying to do something about it...

I think too that they greatly re-engineered the conferences due to suggestions/criticisms. The 3rd one was so amazingly different from the first... I think because people spoke up and where heard.

Pagitt is my hero. I know from reading his blog that he listens. I'm not too sure about Tony- I think he's a little less "irenic." :)

Justin Taylor


In my view it seems like there is almost a shell-game going on with some Emergent proponents, such that it's impossible to offer valid criticism. If you criticize Paggit on a theological issue, the response is that he's not a theologian but a practicioner. If you criticize McLaren for an off-the-wall comment, the response is that he's merely making you think. If you offer a generalized critique, you're told there's no movement. If you make a specific critique of an individual, you're told that he doesn't represent everyone. The flip side of it, though, is that evangelicalism is caricatured as walking lock-step, such that sweeping generalizations are made whereby all of its members appear isolated, anti-intellectual, fundamentalistic, etc.

Just a few thoughts for you.


bob Hyatt

yes... there's some truth to what you are saying, JT...

Brother Maynard

Bob, I vote for "irenic" as the official word of the day... that's twice you've gotten it in, and Darryl Dash slipped it into the famous discussion as well.

My impression so far is that they're genuinely responsive to criticism.... this was fairly easy to see pre-Carson, but Carson is criticizing something that isn't actually what McLaren and the rest of the EC is. In a sense that makes it irrelevant, but Carson leaves such a wide wake that people will shy away from EC to avoid what isn't even there. Sad.

scott michael ringo

It is what makes it difficult when you have a few that are saying they are speaking for the whole, which in my opinion is very selfish statements. To say your speaking for the emerging church only seeks to promote a person's agenda and elevates them, it has been causing problems for many who ARE part of the movement but hold to different theo than those getting press. I believe to be a true voice within the movement you need to commit to having an open blog or place that you can have comments given and responses seen. We are in great danger of losing the ability to have the emerging church be a force of influence and instead be a term that continues to be confusing and in disarray. If you are going to speak for a group then you MUST have all the groups input. To write "what the emerging church is..." is wrong, you could write what a person thinks the emerging church is.

I do not not believe it is possible to have a spokesperson for a movement like this it is to vasty deep.

We are on the verge of something great, if we can keep it in the creative and not have to set it down. As Roger von Oech "A Whack on the Side of the Head" says, "Each of you has an 'artist' an a 'judge' within you. The open-minded attitude of the artist typifies the kind of thinking you use in the imaginative phase where you're generating ideas. The evaluative outlook of the judge represents the kind of thinking you use in the practical phase when you're preparing ideas for execution. I recommend you avoid bringing in your judge before your artist had a chance to do her job. PREMATURE EVALUATION CAN PREVENT CONCEPTION."

What we have been seeing is those who are executing speaking out on what they feel they want to create within the concept of the emerging church. However, they are beginning to prevent others from allowing their artist to work but controlling others to move along what they have created. Instead they should be very open to allowing everyone's artist create and keep creating.

Good question Kevin.

Coffee For One



I like the image of the artist. Also your call to keep this very deep and organic. Part of the "success" of the emerging church movement (if I may call it that) has been in part due to the blogosphere. I have found the blogosphere something historically analogous to the printing press during the Protestant Reformation. Once the presses started to turn Europe lit up. The same thing can be said with the emerging church movement. The revolution started with the first blog...and I am not sure it can be stopped. Some will start formal hierarchies or some form of de-centered organization but the fire has been lit. The match has already been lit. People are circling their wagons. And when the wagons get circled it just peeks more interest. And I think that's good. Let the artists of this movement break forth!


I meant to say, "I am sure it can't be stopped at this point." For good or ill.



I understand you were trying to respond to Scott's comments-- but now that you're here, do you have any thoughts on the nature of critique and how it is handled within the emergent church?

And, are you also equating criticism with 'circling the wagons'? I guess all that is to say that I'm not really certain how your coments apply to my question.

scott Michael ringo

I believe Anthony was saying that now that things some things are being organized and yet some others are not, the concept "emergent" is already happening and though some things are not organic, others are.
"People circling their wagons" could refer to people evaluating what they want this to be for them and getting their army to "circle the wagons" around that idea to protect it.
I have written Brian's office on several occasions just to ask why He doesn't have an "open space" where people can ask questions and conversation can happen. Pretty tough to have a conversation and collaboration with one person behind a glass wall. I received no response.

It is tough to want to be a part of all the conversations but yet be shut out. I hear you it is frustrating. My whole life has been strategic planning for companies and ministries, writing to hundreds of thousands of younger generations around the world for almost 6 years, been around the world a couple times the last years, yet very little input into something I have been praying to see happen for my lifetime.

Scott Michael Ringo

I have been thinking about this conversation for several weeks. It is bugging me. I wrote some on it at the link below. Tell me what you think and wondered if we could get some more people inputing.
What the Emerging Church is to Me

Coffee For One

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