Thursday, December 28, 2006

the contexts for emerging church conversation

somewhere I had written:

"i think that one of the things that this kind of question brings out is the extent to which the ec really is a conversation that occurs to a large extent online. (i'm not depreciating the potential significance of online relationships)."

Bradley Grinnen

"i've been asking myself this same question for a little while now. [could] you take the lead and help us unpack this? could we start a new conversation about this? [i'm] not sure of the protocol, but i think this is a conversation that deserves length and many views."

There are four primary contexts for the emerging church conversation in North America (though some of below applies to the worldwide movement) and, generally, each context has its own unique flavor.

I'll suggest these broad observations with notable exceptions:


Anonymous said...

thanks for the summation stephen.

i'm also extremely interested to hear from those who are not from the united states in reference to this conversation. are there other contexts that we are unaware of? could someone outside of the united states speak personally of local church emergents?

i suppose in this context i'd like to hear from those within the united states as well. i can read about local emergent churches online, but i'm interested in hearing feedback directly from those belonging to such a community. i consider myself an emergent within an evangelical wesley/armenian community of believers and so i have no substantial reference as to my question.

Anonymous said...


i've been catching up on some of the conversation via this site in regards to transpropositionality. did i say that right? not a new concept to me, but a new term. i'm wondering what this brings to our conversation here. what is lost transpropositionally via online discussion instead of f2f? also, what is gained because of the seemingly 'less vulnerable' state of online dialogue?

instictively i'm leaning towards believing that something is lost transpropositionally when you are not in a f2f atmosphere. this is because of lack of visual and audible interaction and even physical contact. but is this concern even valid? it may seem like a stretch...but what if the f2f is with someone who is blind, or with someone who is deaf, or with someone who is mute? couldn't online conversation be seen as the same 'robber' of transpropositionality? (im seriously not even certain if im using that term correctly). i'm still working through this one. (i have more thoughts here, but i'll formulate them more and im sure they'll rise to the surface if conversation unsues).

as to online dialogue. it seems that it is easier to express what one holds dearly because of 1)convenience and immediacy 2) even if im upset, instead of walking away from the person, i can walk away from the conversation for a bit and engage a hobby or a walk in woods, until i'm in the proper state of mind to pursue the conversation further.

i realize these thoughts of mine aren't polished or may appear in crude form. that's because im not polished, admittedly. but overlook that please.

Stephen said...

hi brad,

here are some voices in which you might be interested, most of whom i link to in my blogroll on the right or you can easily find their sites by googling them.


jordon cooper
jamie arpin-ricci
kenny sheppard


jason clark
andrew jones (lives there but is from new zealand)


sivin kit

new zealand

steve taylor

almost all of them list contact information if you wish to reach out to them - or you can talk to them through the comments on their blog.

emergesque readers:

i'm certain i've left some important people (maybe even some friends I'm not thinking about right now) out so feel free to fill in the gaps in comments.

Stephen said...

Hi Brad,

regarding the relative lack of transpo that's achieved through new media, you address a critical question. new media (blogs, sites, email etc) give us the advantage of quick information and quick access to one another. most new media contexts also allow us to do a better job at reflecting on what the other person is saying and also on how we respond. in this way the lack of spontaneity serves us; it precipitates forced listening and that's a great thing. however, non-verbal communication is utterly missing; the quality of a conversation over a meal is far superior in many ways to the dialogue that occurs via email. your concerns is extremely valid and demonstrates why the idea of an exclusively online church should only be a last resort when f2f interaction is not avail.

I think your thinking here is right on.

Sivin Kit said...

Happy New Year Stephen.

Just a "minor" correction on me ... I'm from Malaysia (which is next to Indonesia) *smile*

Stephen said...


sorry sivin!!

and happy new year!

Anonymous said...

thanks stephen, i appreciate the direction. it will take me a bit to work through what i am now and these, but after some thought i may have more comments.

happy new year.

Stephen said...


pls don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance.

Anonymous said...


much appreciated. i have lots of questions. so many questions, i'm not sure even where to begin. so, i'm just kind of wading through the articles here, the links here, some books i've picked up, and pouring over the scriptures in a rather haphazzard but deliberate manor.

if you have the time, let me know if i should address my questions here, or if i should do so via email.

Stephen said...

hi brad,

email is good.

what's your goal?


Anonymous said...


thank you. i sent an email with a bit of an intro and an answer to your question, 'what is your goal'. my server has been acting up and sending my mail directly to spam boxes lately. so, if you could check your spam box for the email if you don't see it in your inbox...i'd appreciate it.

thanks again for your time.


Anonymous said...


replied to your email. sorry to ask you to check your spam box again. if you can set your spam to recognize my emails, thats awesome. if not, i can use a secondary email adress. thanks again.