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The Emerging Church as a Matrix of Networks.

Some of you may find this Fuller Theology Journal article interesting .

It is a mistake to think of “the emerging church” as a cohesive movement with authorized spokespersons. It is more of a matrix of networks attracting a range of like-minded travelers. It has been described as a conversation in which countless numbers participate via websites and weblogs (blogs). Critics and observers who focus on major gatherings and high-profile authors miss the core nature of diversity of opinions and ongoing dialogue. The church emerging is not a centrally organized, hierarchical organization, but more a spontaneous grass-roots phenomenon.

Many of us have been saying the same thing for many years.  I am glad that someone out there sees (and articulates) what we are seeing.

7 Comments

  1. Matt Stone says:

    Yes, sounds like a reasonable summary, but do you think the critics will listen?

  2. Matt, absolutely not but it does provide a nice bit of “blogging points” to explain what is happening. If enough people articulate this rather than, “This is what Brian McLaren says…”, it may change the dynamics a bit.

  3. Kevin S says:

    “It has been described as a conversation in which countless numbers participate via websites and weblogs”

    Why not engage in face to face conversation in person with people ? It worked for Jesus.

    The Conversation Cafe I have recently re-started (now outside of an institutional church venue-The Bay)is trying to promote interactive conversation with people in person.

    “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
    2 John 1:12

  4. steve lewis says:

    Thanks for posting this Jordon. I’ll go check out the article. Just last night I finished another book that claims to speak for/about me, and was left just shaking my head. It seems that the critics and supposed “leaders” of this thing are prone to the same mistake of “miss[ing] the core nature of diversity of opinions and ongoing dialogue.”

    Having been at this thing from early on in the U.S. version of this thing (which isn’t really that early on at all), it definitely is good to see things acknowledged for what they actually are.

    “We” can huff and puff and decide whether we want to be called the “Emerging Church” any more or not, but the continuation of this grass-roots phenomenon will be what it has been from the get-go.

    Jordon, your consistent presence in this has been valuable. I’ve been visiting this blog since 2000 or 2001, and you’ve always been a strong voice for the grass-roots. Thanks.

  5. [...] Bolger in Fuller Theological Seminary’s journal, “Theology News & Notes” (HT: Jordon Cooper).  So much better.  No brainer – Gibss and Bolger’s book Emerging Churches is one [...]

  6. andrew jones says:

    sounds right to me, at least from experience with these networks.

  7. I guess I’m too late on this. I missed out on the first 10 years of the emerging church, and now it’s not the ‘in’ label to use. But from what I’ve read it is close to the journey I’m on. Not that I need another label to replace the many other labels I’m trying to shed.

    Glad to find your blog Jordan,
    God bless!