A New Chapter in the Emergent Conversation


As of this week, the Emergent Village network, which has been a life-giving part of my spiritual journey for 10+ years, has a new website! The previous website was launched in 2006, and it really hadn’t changed very much (in terms of design) in the past five years.

I was heavily involved in maintaining the EV site for a few years (2007-2009), and I’ll be eternally grateful for the friendships and connections I’ve made with people all over the country (and around the world) through my work with EV during that time. I wouldn’t be doing the work I am doing today if it hadn’t been for the time I invested and the relationships I developed during those years.

In addition to the new emergentvillage.com, there is a new Emergent Village Voice channel over at Patheos, where most of the blog posts fostering theological conversation will be found. I had the pleasure of curating that online space for EV for a few years, but I’m really excited to see the circle widened and the true diversity of voices and perspectives being shared in this new space.

As Doug Pagitt shared in his conversation with Deborah Arca, managing editor of the Progressive Christian portal on Patheos, the Emergent Village Voice channel will be actually be interfaith and interspiritual, with Jewish contributors as well as Christian (and, I would add, hopefully emergent voices from other religions/faiths in the future). Jana Reiss, an emergent Mormon, published her first post there today. [And I can still remember when Tony Jones was asked whether Mormons would be included in emergent conversation, and he said something to the effect of, “I’m not sure why they would want to be, but sure.”]

Doug made another interesting comment about the emergent conversation during his radio show: “Emerging conversation wants to say, ‘What is it that’s being born in a cross-axis of that [conservative-to-liberal] continuum?’ … And that’s another continuum: of those who want to see things stay as they are in whatever our issue is, or those who want to see something new emerge, something new come from it.”

Doug’s assertion is that the emergent conversation should not be viewed so much through the lens of a conservative vs. liberal dichotomy, but rather a past vs. future one. He says we need ask a different question: “Are you more satisfied with the way that things are now? Or do you want to see that change in the situation, in this case spirituality and religion?”

I agree it’s an intriguing question to ponder and play with, but my initial pushback to Doug would be that past/future is yet another dichotomy, which keeps us locked into a dualistic way of thinking about the world (i.e., past = bad, future = good). I still very much appreciate the “ancient-future” nature of the emergent conversation, which (as Brian McLaren has said many times) goes back to the altar of the past and takes the good things (the things that have been refined by fire and stood the test of time) and bring those things forward into the present and into the future. Or, as Len Sweet has so preciously said, we need to lean forward while kicking back (as we would swinging on a swingset).

However you wish to view it, history is continuing to be written, and another page has been turned in the ongoing story of Emergent Village, the generative friendship that continues to stir the pot and foster theological conversation online and on the ground in cohorts and conversations in churches and faith collectives all over the place. I’m grateful to God for this group of friends and mentors, and I’m honored to be one of the voices on the new Emergent Village Voice blog at Patheos. I hope you’ll join me over there for more thoughts and conversation on emerging missional church.

ACT LOCALLY: The Charlotte Emergent cohort is excited about Shane Claiborne coming to town this weekend. There’ll be two opportunities to hear from Shane, but I especially want to invite anyone in the area who can make it to come to our “meet and greet” with Shane (and his new wife Katie Jo, who grew up here in Cornelius, NC) on Saturday afternoon.



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Posted on 12-08-2011


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