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How is the fact that Emergent is now 'the offense to the Gospel' any different that 5 years ago, where at all those early Emergent-like conferences essentially claimed that the 'modern' Ghetto program-driven Church was then the offense? There seemed to be quite a bit of vitriolic critique back then that seemed to be quite ok... cathartic.

I guess I'm asking, can't any group that receives critique stand up and essentially deflect that critique by claiming they are being martyred - just like Jesus was? How does that help the conversation?

doug pagitt

I am not sure who was suggesting that the modern program driven model was an offense to the Gospel. I was in many of those meetings but maybe I missed it.

I don't think the critique was ever that the MPD approach was not Christian or anti-gospel. The critique was, in my view, an attempt to explain why it didn't work for everyone not that it was an offense to the things of God.

I believe there to be quite a difference in discussing the merits or failures of a model and assuming it to be against the Gospel.

el mol

dear emergent

I think "curious" and some others have some legit questions . . albeit sometimes from a "negative" or "critical place" . . . just the same, as a former participant and current lurker, I would like to add that a shift has occurred or is occurring . . . five years or so ago "emergent" WAS on the outside looking in at the power structure of evangelicalism . . . and at the time challenging/critiquing that structure. . . NOW it is on the INSIDE looking . . . out? or where? emergent, while no rick warren in publishing power, is a compelling voice and now viewed as a legit voice in Christianity (proven by all the critiques!). . . so I think it is fair to question and listen to not only how emergent practices the "gospel" differently but also how it practices grace in the face of critique. simply saying we are "peter" or "jesus crucified" is a default defense that has been overused for generations . .

viva la paz

el mol

Chris Gonzalez

A movement or conversation is only as strong as the questions it can answer, tolerate, and grow from.

Critics give Emergent credibility. Certainly that credibility does not come from their endorsement, but formthe fact that they see something that is different and something that has some clout.

The spirit with which a person answers his or her critics reveals much about the person or movement being critiqued. Whiny and pissy, knee-jerk reactions will only support the critics assertions that emeregent is a threat.

All criticism is opportunity to change minds.

Walt Maxwell

I believe that what really makes a movement legit is the fruit that it bears. Healthy fruit comes not from reactive movement but from being proactive. I water, fertilize, prune and any other work necessary not when things get critical but before problems come. The movement of Emergence must be the same. Yes people are going to criticize...instead of getting defensive we need to see if there is any truth to their criticism and let the rest become compost. Emergence is effective not because it agrees with modernity but because it helps bring a context of who Jesus is to a culture who can't relate with the modern thought. If you look at history and scripture you will see Jesus was in the same boat dealing with the religious systems of the day. Jesus answered his critics not with discourse but with his actions. Our goal in the emergent church must focus not on telling the world why Jesus is Lord (Good News) but actually letting all people (including those who critique us the loudest and harshest) see that He is Lord through our actions.

doug pagitt

Hey Molster,

I think that is a hard question to answer because Emergent is not one thing, it is many communities and individuals in different places, so the idea that there is one voice, or practice will not be our future.
So I can point to certain people and places but in no way does that get all of it.
I guess we could start by hearing what you are doing.

el mol

dear doug

"I guess we could start by hearing what you are doing"

very nice . . .

come to dallas and I will start by showing you my middle finger and then if can suck it up, you can buy me the beer and join me and my jackass friends for a night of poker . . . which you would probably enjoy more than you would want to admit . . . then after we take all your damn money and have a few laughs, you might discover that there are those of us who practice the values of "emergent" (without the brand baggage) and at a level that might even make some of you envious

nice try . . . and bring tony jones with you

viva la vacation!

el mol

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