Sunday, December 10, 2006

emerging church postcards 06

postcards06.jpg

Again, this Christmas I am compiling a series of emerging church postcards . I want to publish on-line a visual snapshot and digital diary of the emerging church in 2006. I welcome contributions from any emerging churches. Just send me at steve at emergentkiwi dot org dot nz;
a) 1 photo of your emerging community this (06) year;
plus a few sentences in response to these 4 questions;
b) what has been a helpful Scripture in the formation and life of your church community?;
c) what has your emerging community been learning about spiritual formation?;
d) what movie (or scene) might sum up your year?;
e) what has been your best mission moment in 06?.

During January I will be post your image and responses as a series of postcards06 on my blog. (Feel free to use the emerging church postcards 06 image above and to spread the word.)

Now last year I was very United States-allergic. I was tired of the way that the emerging church was so often reduced to emergentUS. I thus refused to accept any American postcards. It was a blog-stake in the ground, because I wanted to provide a visual reminder that the emerging church is global, not American.

This year I repent! I am accepting US postcards. However, I will only post them in proportion to their percentage of world population. That’s 5% (according to here). So, for every 20 postcards I get, I will post one from the United States (in the order they come from the US).

Why emerging church postcards 06?


Well, my 2005 book, the Out of Bounds Church?, was based on a series of 8 postcards, posted from emerging churches around the Western world. Each “postcard” is followed by a chapter exploring the challenges and opportunities faced by the emerging church. The 9th chapter invited readers to go and write their own postcard by planting their own emerging church!

A book is static. Once published, it cannot change. The web is not. So last year I invited postcards from the edge;
a) 1 photo of your emerging community in 05;
plus a paragraph answer to these 4 questions;
b) how were you as an emerging community birthed?;
c) what do you as an emerging community value?;
d) what music track sums up your year;
e) what was your best mission moment in 05?

postcardsglobalweb.jpg

The result was postcards 05, a visual glimpse of emerging churches in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malaysia, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The complete set is here.

At the end of another year, I want to provide a digital and visual reminder of the journey that is emerging church.

Posted by steve at 09:55 PM

13 Comments

  1. Do you want emerging churches that you posted last year as well… or just new ones?

    Comment by Pernell — December 12, 2006 @ 4:46 am

  2. This is really a great thing – thanks for doing this. I look forward to seeing this year’s collection.

    Comment by Adam — December 12, 2006 @ 4:57 am

  3. Pernell,

    I am very happy to receive postcards in 06 from communities that sent them in 05. The questions I ask are year specific. So send away from friend,

    steve

    Comment by steve — December 12, 2006 @ 7:24 am

  4. I love the idea and its execution, but as an American emergent myself, I’m a bit miffed at the 5% comment. There are roughly 4 million people in New Zealand, out of a good 6.5 billion worldwide — are we going to see NZ getting a sizeable .0006% of the cards? The emergent church is definitely global (thank God!), but fair representation is being included equally, no singularly excluded.

    Comment by David — December 12, 2006 @ 9:50 am

  5. David,

    I appreciate the forthrightness of your comment and so let me be forthright in return.

    I’m glad you’re miffed. Treasure that feeling, there are lots of people outside the US miffed at the way the emerging church is lost in emergentUS. And I guess you would have been even more miffed last year when I excluded all American postcards :).

    Here is my operating thesis: that lots of people mix up emergentUS with the global emerging church and consider them the same.

    If that is so, then we need some way to help people differentiate them. Hence my 5%.

    Dave, I’m not inflexible on this one. Expose my logical inconsistencies and I am up for change.

    In the meantime, get your postcard in ASAP AND encourage lots and lots of your friends outside the US in the global emerging blogs you inhabit, to send in theirs. The more you encourage your global networks, the more of your US mates can be included.

    peace
    steve

    Comment by steve — December 12, 2006 @ 10:05 am

  6. Steve,

    I appreciate the response. As someone who’s only known about “emergence” globally for a short while, I was initially among the guilty parties equating “emergent” with Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and the like. Over time, though, and through great sites like tallskinnykiwi and this one, I’ve learned the real scope of the dialog we’re all having.

    However, I still don’t see how *equal* representation will necessarily continue to spread the misnomer that is “emergentUS = the whole of the emergent church.” In a set of postcards, an equal spread between the UK, NZ, US, and the like says what? That emergent churches exist across Creation, and that no one area has the monopoly on them.

    I fear that, in an effort to drive-out a myth, you may end-up alienating a very frustrated group of emergent Americans who, while not ascribing to that myth, are being underrepresented in order to squelch it.

    My 2 cents. :) I appreciate the discussion!

    Comment by David — December 12, 2006 @ 10:34 am

  7. Good on ya Dave. I like a person who can “pushback” on a “pushback.”

    Now, what I hear you saying is this “Steve, there are some Americans who don’t feel part of emergentUS either. And you, Steve, have rolled all Americans into one emergentUS ball and so have generalised us (perhaps in exactly the same way as global emerging’s feel generalised).”

    Am I hearing that? If so, I repent of my generalisations! But how do I proceed? How do I honour your voice, will honouring my intention – to provide a GLOBAL visual image? Any ideas?

    I had thought of saying in my initial postcard that the 5% did not apply to postcards from any US based churches that were Latino or Asian etc in flavour. I would love to see those postcards in the mix. Now should I say that and widen the category to include non-emergent churches in US?

    And please be aware that in all this I am stirring. I am deliberately trying to generate discussion on why emerging is white/male/American etc. I am wanting to “miff” up what is a blindspot IMHO.

    good on ya Dave. keep pushing me,
    steve

    Comment by steve — December 12, 2006 @ 11:47 am

  8. I hear what you’re saying, Steve, and there’s certainly no clear-cut answer on both fighting a (rather destructive at times) myth and giving voice to every part in the discussion globally. I’m glad you’re open to considerations!

    I guess my main point of contention isn’t just with us non-emergentUS emergent Americans getting the short end of the stick here, though that is certainly an issue. For all its faults (just like our own), emergentUS is still a part of the picture, and I cannot deny my brethren part of the conversation. Frankly, so what if Church X is enamored with “A Generous Orthodoxy,” or another has to play a Nooma video before every service, or another is emergent simply because its the desire of the church in pursuing God, and neither McLaren nor Bell have ever been heard-of there?

    Why not just judge everyone on the same credentials? Inclusion is based upon some excellent, specific questions, the answers to which, I would assume, help decide who is included in the final postcards. Sure, make sure that a good selection of emergent churches is displayed! We are a global community, sharing in the same desire to learn from the same God who works in each of our lives in different ways. But when you reach the US quota, why worry about the source of the message, so long as it’s missional, biblical, and pursuing God as best as we sinful men and women can?

    I have the great blessing of being a part of a church that is emergent in its actions but refuses to be “emergentUS” in its sometimes small-minded worldview. If I was at Cedar Ridge, though, or Mars Hill, I would want my voice to be heard, too, and I’m willing to say that they deserve the same.

    As for Emergent Christianity seeming to be limited to white American males with goatees and PowerBook Mac computers…I’ll wait ’til I hear your thoughts on the above!

    ~ David

    Comment by David — December 12, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  9. I hear what you’re saying, Steve, and there’s certainly no clear-cut answer on both fighting a (rather destructive at times) myth and giving voice to every part in the discussion globally. I’m glad you’re open to considerations!

    I guess my main point of contention isn’t just with us non-emergentUS emergent Americans getting the short end of the stick here, though that is certainly an issue. For all its faults (just like our own), emergentUS is still a part of the picture, and I cannot deny my brethren part of the conversation. Frankly, so what if Church X is enamored with “A Generous Orthodoxy,” or another has to play a Nooma video before every service, or another is emergent simply because its the desire of the church in pursuing God, and neither McLaren nor Bell have ever been heard-of there?

    Why not just judge everyone on the same credentials? Inclusion is based upon some excellent, specific questions, the answers to which, I would assume, help decide who is included in the final postcards. Sure, make sure that a good selection of emergent churches is displayed! We are a global community, sharing in the same desire to learn from the same God who works in each of our lives in different ways. But when you reach the US quota, why worry about the source of the message, so long as it’s missional, biblical, and pursuing God as best as we sinful men and women can?

    I have the great blessing of being a part of a church that is emergent in its actions but refuses to be “emergentUS” in its sometimes small-minded worldview. If I was at Cedar Ridge, though, or Mars Hill, I would want my voice to be heard, too, and I’m willing to say that they deserve the same.

    As for Emergent Christianity seeming to be limited to white American males with goatees and PowerBook Mac computers…I’ll wait ’til I hear your thoughts on the above!

    ~ David

    Comment by David — December 12, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  10. Sorry for the double-post…I got a server error each time, though I guess it was a false alarm!

    Comment by David — December 12, 2006 @ 12:45 pm

  11. Steve,

    I would suggest collecting postcards from anyone and everyone, and deciding yourself which ones you will publish and which ones you will not.

    Last year I liked your blog stake in the ground. I, too, often get tired of being lumped in with “everything emergentUS” and the feeling that global often doesn’t have a voice in this thing because we don’t have the numbers. But David makes a really good point. Some of my American friends would want to be included and also often get “lumped in”.

    Frankly, I am often more excited about what I see in other parts of the world and in other cultures than I am in what I see in the US [although not always]. I am also excited about the “small unknown communities” that never get “air time”. The stories of communities that God is moving amongst, but we never hear. That’s why I like your postcards.

    This summer, a few of us Canadians are embarking on a country-wide trip to film a documentary about what is happening… telling the story of what God is doing in perhaps unknown emerging communities in Canada.

    Balance is good.

    Thanks for doing the postcards, Steve… and for your voice in the conversation.

    Comment by Pernell — December 13, 2006 @ 3:33 am

  12. David wrote “But when you reach the US quota, why worry about the source of the message, so long as it’s missional, biblical, and pursuing God as best as we sinful men and women can?”

    I worry because it is distorting the playing field. I love the emergentUS guys, but they have to bear some responsibility for collapsing the conversation. They can’t make noise out of one side of their mouth about wanting to be globally and ethnically inclusive, while maintianing a name/brand that is actually masking diversity.

    Each year my criteria have changed. The criteria are not set in stone and I would hope that the criteria keep changing as the conversation matures and the global nature becomes increasingly evident. But it isn’t there yet and so my 5% becomes one small way of naming the current distortion and immaturity.

    Isn’t to do nothing actually an acknowledgement that one is happy with the current status quo/distortion? Like that quote: all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

    steve

    Comment by steve — December 13, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

  13. Do you have a deadline? Are experiments with emerging church helpful? still not sure we “qualify” even a year on and second experiment six months in – I guess you can make those calls when I get a chance to send you something?? Not sure I want to get in just on the female ticket :)

    Comment by JoWall — December 17, 2006 @ 5:56 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.