Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Can the Emerging Conversation Become a Movement?

After blogging off and on for a few years, I’ve just about come to the conclusion that blogging is little more than another form of individualism. Think about it. One person post thoughts and links that is important to them. At best a conversation begins among the readers in the form of “comments.” (Admittedly, there is the occasional team blog—but they are far fewer in number than the solo blog). Now, I’m all for conversation, but will the conversation every trickle down to the majority? Let me restate that—will the conversation every trickle down to those who can turn the online emergent conversation into a movement? If so how will that happen? I don’t want to be overly negative but from my experience it appears the ones who need to (and would) sign on to the conversation must first be online reading the conversation. Is that the possible link that is missing in transforming our conversation into a swelling and unstoppable movement?

Fred Peatross asks an important question.

6 comments:

Brother Maynard said...

This is more of a manually-entered TrackBack but I did want to make the comments... which are online here in their full form.

In reality, Emergent may be facing a difficult year of grappling with becoming a movement, what that means, and how to respond to critics - all at once and under a microscope.

Excerpts from my post:

In responding (or not) to criticism, Emergent can continue calling itself a Conversation, but it'll be hard to make that stick for very long if the critics keep calling it a movement. As soon as they feel they can identify a cohesive group moving in a common direction, they'll call it a movement and start reacting. Now, since one can already pre-order, I think we may be there already.

The truth about Emergent as a movement is that it may already be one, in grassroots form — but if this is true, don't tell anyone, since it's best to hold off on the label as long as possible. In reality, that time will probably come later this year, when the phrase, "Rubber, meet Road" will ring out and Emergent will be forced to corporately pilot a destructured movement. In a fishbowl.

Emergent won't have a real choice about being dubbed a movement, one way or the other. When it comes though, it'll feel like Saul's armour, and we'll wish we could take it off again.

(more here)

Gratia Vobis et Pax.

Anonymous said...

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The Krow said...

Stephen,

Interesting insight about blogging still just a form of individualism. I think the need to develop conversation and go beyond individual thought is to develop webforms where enough people join to talk, or there are emergent conferences put on by Emergent Village, so there is some corporate talks but not much. The thing I feel lacking because of this all being a conversation through blogs mostly is formalized thought and mass direction in accepting it. A real definition of what Emergent is. I would enjoy seeing Emergent as a movement.

passthebread said...

For the movement to grow beyond discussion, an evangelical theology must emerge. I have posted on this over the last week and I am getting strong by in from neo-calvinists and others who are both evangelical and interested in re-inventing church. I think we must approach this with more respect for evangelical historical development.
brad

Stephen said...

Hi The Krow,

Yes, there are two paths to movement status and they can overlap. One is relational and the other is via mass media. We see the latter occurring but I think that sustainability and reaching a tipping point will only occur with the former.

Stephen said...

Hi Brad,

I personally agree with you but many emergers would be chary of limiting themselves to "an evangelical theology". My perception is that many of the thoughtleaders are more ecumenical. That being said, my concern is too much of the baby of nearly 2000 of Christian reflection is being thrown out with the bathwater of mere traditionalism.