Seriously, a hornets nest was stirred by Nick and Josh and me during the past week. However, in the midst of it I have had numerous people contact me with similar frustrations that Nick and Josh confronted, along with some that came to me, looking for a place to vent or healing. I may be a pastor, but I do not want to start an AA group for unaffiliated Emergents. I have no interest in any new or old camps (I am actually more of a hotel guy) and I don't want to be part of the fracturing and possible friendly fire that is hurting friends and foes alike. I have no horse in a race that needs to win (the last horse I followed was Barbaro, and look where that ended).
That said, something is going on and it needs to be dealt with. I am hoping that those that are deeply involved in Emergent, especially those that were in DC or were connected to DC, address it and deal with the fracturing before it is too late (in the internet age, this stuff happens quickly and needs to be dealt with quickly).
I am not a prophet and have no ideas (okay I have plenty of ideas), but I am praying that the vested EVers listen to the many disparate voices, the diaspora, the entrenched and the middlers, the critics and the defenders, allowing for each voice to be at the table... or they should just close shop on the official thingy and let people create new stuff along the way, letting natural friendships, alignments and affiliations take their own path (neither option is bad, in my opinion). But, sitting back should not be a long term strategy for the leaders of this thing.
Now I can tell you I new this was coming. I talked about the fractures as a normal movement phenomena (and was beaten up for it) on an Emergent forum a few months ago and had waited for such days since I first saw these fissures around 99 or 2000. At the time I thought it was like the Reformation where Luther, Calvin and Zwingli started fighting over minutia (which is happening on blogs all the time right now. seriously people, don't look for minor areas of disagreement to fight over. look at the heart of a writer or speaker and find places of agreement first). However, I realized along the way that the emerging church conversation was not a new Reformation (seriously, talk about trying to make something into something it is not).
Based upon the history of social movements, they always fracture, splinter and snipe (or worse). History is riddled with everything from the Reformation to the early US settlers, to hippy movements, to early Pentecostalism, to the Jesus Movement, to rap feuds, to EV vs. the New Reformed, all of which show us that people join together so they can break apart.
I guess Emergent is in good company and another in the long list of social experiments that confirm the cycles of human history. Oh well.
update: in case anyone misread my intentions. I am not offering a stern warning by someone wanting to air dirty laundery or hoping for EV to "fail." I am offering a warning based upon seeing what happens with movements and social experiments. If we look at the past and then take into consideration the new technologies of the internet, etc. that were not a part of past such movements, we need to understand that people must respond quicker to criticism, fracturing and other issues than they have had to in the past. Everything is so quick right now that a week on the web is a few months in print.