emergent in publisher’s weekly

Most of us who are most involved in “the emergent conversation” – from my perspective, at least – don’t talk about “the emergent conversation” much any more. Instead of “talking about the conversation,” we’re busy having conversations … about God, about Scripture, about life, about justice, about politics, about peace, about art, about poverty, about the environment, about movies, about spiritual formation of adults and children, about all sorts of things.
That might explain why a recent Publisher’s Weekly article suggested that I have “moved beyond” emergent. (The author, Marcia Ford, is a tremendous writer and does an admirable job in tackling a notoriously squirmy subject.)
I think it would be more accurate to say (as the article does in fact say, later on) that the emergent conversation itself continues to develop and move forward (or “move beyond”), which explains why I feel like I’m as much a part of things as ever and I can’t imagine why anyone would think otherwise.
I remember some relationships in college where my significant other and I were always talking about “the relationship,” defining “the relationship,” etc., etc. … All that relational self-consciousness turned out not to be a very good sign about the future of the relationship! So I take it as a good sign when the emergent conversation is less and less about itself … “moving beyond” to other things.
Some important and fascinating thinking has been going on about all this among the emergent village board, drawing from an absolutely fascinating survey that was posted this summer. We should be coming out with some news on the survey, future direction, etc., in a month or two.
In the meantime, there are a lot of good things happening at emergentvillage.com, and all the other nodes of this “something” that is happening among followers of Christ. For what it’s worth, I have no interest in arguing who is and who isn’t emergent, emerging church, missional church, postmodern, new monastic, etc., etc., etc. It’s just not the way I think, and in fact, drawing branding lines to define an in-group or out-group makes me itchy. Besides, for some people, having emergent sympathies might be like working for the CIA – the people who are deepest in could be the last to admit it for lots of good reasons.
Anyway, I’m interested in finding common ground with everybody I can … as the subtitle of “A Generous Orthodoxy” suggested. I tend to think that this is what the emergent conversation has actually been about all along …

By the way, the discussion about why there aren’t more women publishing “emergent books” hit a few sour notes, in my opinion. But I thought Julie Clawson and Margaret Feinberg’s comments were accurate and helpul. It’s a complicated issue, and there’s a lot of work to do.