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Are Emerging Church Blogs Getting Stale?

13 May, 2005 6:02 PM

Someone pointed me to a post written by Mark at the First Epistle of Mark titled Behold, I am making all things stale and boring - a critique/observation of the Emerging Church - or at least its blogs. You can probably tell that Mark is a little disalussioned by the EC blogging scene by his title - his post is worth a read. I both resonated with it and reacted against it a little. Here is the comment I left on his blog which has some of my initial thoughts:

Good post and a topic I've written on from time to time.

I personally read a lot less blogs on the topic of Emerging Church (and have written on the topic myself less) these days for a combination of reasons:

1. I have less time
2. a little frustration (similar to yours) of an insular group talking about the same stuff
3. perhaps less need to keep talking and a desire to start doing more
4. I've felt a nudging from God to get involved in the wider blogging community and be a little more outward focused in my blogging.

Having said this - I still value EC blogs (despite them sometimes going in circles a bit). The reason I value them is on a number of fronts:

1. They are often written by people early on in their EC journey and are a thinking out loud, learning experience - testing ideas, learning from each other, experimenting with theories and even testing them in practice. This is vital for their own personal walk and the communities that they are a part of.

2. They are part of an important dialogue in the wider church. Whilst you and I may have heard all the arguments, been convinced (or not convinced) and perhaps are thirsting for something new - so many others have not. I spent a day today with 100 or so church people, many of whom have not heard of the EC movement (is that what it is) and who were incredibly stimulated and moved by what they heard about some very very basic Emerging Church thought from one of the EC Bloggers that many look to as quite prominent. I didn't hear anything new (although it did remind me of a few things that I'd pushed aside) but the basics were rich for most in the room. I wonder if this is true for the EC blogging community also which I believe plays an important role in awakening a conversation that needs to happen in the wider church today.

I also have been challenged recently by the idea of 'new' and our need for it in society. You write no one writes anything 'new' - I wonder if anyone ever did. Most conversations in all areas of the church today are reshapings of previous conversations.

I can't remember where I heard this - but in a book I've read in the last year or two I was challenged to think about the growing need that western culture has for 'new things' or 'novelty'. In previous generations and centuries the main 'needs' were for food, shelter, relationship etc. Today we live in a world where we 'need' new things. The latest gadget, car, book, idea, theory, paradigm etc. Whilst I don't have anything against new things - I wonder how healthy this obsession is with new/novelty and whether the church buys into it.

I too thirst for a new conversation - but perhaps God's calling us into an ancient discussion. I don't know - maybe I'm wrong - but I'm going to sit with that for a while.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not having a go at you Mark - I resonate with your post - but I guess I'm also seeing the value in the EC blogging scene.

Lastly I'll point you to an interesting post by Anil Dash - one of the people behind the MovableType and Typepad blogging systems who wrote an interesting piece on the blogging cycle and some of the observations that he's made about a variety of blogging communities. Perhaps what you're describing is part of one of the steps that he writes about.




It struck me the other day how much like the established/institutionalised church the EC blogging culture can be. That is, one person up front directing the conversation with only a small space for dialogue (hidden in the comments section) and totally dependent on "attracting" people to make it worthwhile.

I wonder if a web forum would be better for true dialogue, but a quick Net search reveals how quickly this type of thing degenerates into mudslinging and personal attacks.

I can't remember who wrote this either, but somebody said that the EC/missional movements that are effective and surviving are the ones that don't promote themselves and go largely unnoticed - do you think these means blogless?!

I don't know really. Personally, I enjoy reading them, but after only six months of doing so, already I get a bit tired of the same topics coming and going, and the less than gracious attitudes toward the body of Christ that some display (aren't we all in this together?).

Anyway, I've probably said all of this becasue I'm too lazy to do a blog myself...

Matt Glover » 13 May, 2005 9:56 PM

Yeah, I think there's only so much new stuff that can be written. As you alluded to Darren, for every 'over-emerging church' person there are still heaps thats its all new to.
I wonder where the church shoppers will go once they're over the whole EC thing...

Digger » 13 May, 2005 10:52 PM

At last a blog somewhere in the blogasphere that is getting to the truth of the issue! I think I've read over 30 emergent church type books and countless blogs and they all seem to be just saying the same thing... How people who are disillusioned with modernist churches are forming their own communities which (if truth be known) are formed around just as elitist/exculsivist cultures as the 'evil institutional churches' from where they fled. But worse, these new liquid churches have no permanence in relationships, community, narrative or outward missional commitment. Just a therapeutic self-centred feeding of the personal needs for the "I'm too cool to hang out with older people" Christian. Thanks for the blog Darren. I think you are getting to the point. We are just going round in circles and need Christians older and different to us if we are to be truely formed as followers of Jesus.

Dan » 16 May, 2005 10:58 AM

Dan....You said:
"these new liquid churches have no permanence in relationships, community, narrative or outward missional commitment. Just a therapeutic self-centred feeding of the personal needs for the "I'm too cool to hang out with older people" Christian."
I love your rant! Reckon I might have ranted like this a bit myself sometimes but when push comes to shove I think this is a little harsh! My experience is that emerging church is no worse than inherited church. I can point to examples where EC stuff does take relationships, community, narrative and outward missional commitment very seriously and is passionate about practising these things in culturally releveant and new ways but I also think the undoing of many EC's is their failure to realise that we have alot to learn from inherited church models about the non-sexy hackwork it takes to hang together trully diverse, long term ,community based, publicly engaged alternatives to the dominant culture.

marx kernow » 27 May, 2005 1:56 AM


forced » 27 June, 2005 6:47 AM

You throw down the gauntlet for bloggers like me to produce something fresh, thoughtful, and worth repeated visits.

I wanna make the cut.

MuseHead » 9 May, 2006 1:49 PM

Thanks for this great article. I found it very interesting.

Aaron | http://www.newlifesf.com

Aaron » 9 June, 2006 1:34 PM

I agree that the conversation needs more fresh ideas on emergent church blogs. The problem may be a reaction to the criticism over the last year. Thanks for your post.

Emergent Church Blog » 26 February, 2007 9:41 AM

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