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Tension Points in the Emerging Church?

7 July, 2005 12:04 AM

Andrew Jones writes a thoughtful piece on 12 Tension Points in the Emerging Church. He writes:

'I have noticed there is still a lot of tension in the relationship between emerging church and the traditional church. Not as much as you think, but there is certainly a lot of heated discussion, mud-slinging and tabloid criticism. There is even the threat of physical abuse and organizations withdrawing favor, or young people leaving their denominations and starting fresh expressions of church without the blessing of their elders. Not good! The emerging church is called to be a reconciling community and part of that reconciliation must happen in the realm of communication.

Here are 12 tension points. I am sure there are many more, but these came to mind yesterday on a London train....'

Read more at TallSkinnyKiwi

I find Andrew's list quite helpful in describing many of the discussions on EC on blogs around the world. As I read it I found myself resonating - yet at a second and third read I began to ask myself if we at LivingRoom are experiencing any or all of these tensions.

I ended up having to answer the question 'no'.

Whilst at times there has been a little tension - it's actually been rare. Most of the critique that we've had as a group has either come via this blog from overseas (no offense to my OS readers - they've also been among our strongest encouragers) or as third hand criticism via word of mouth from largely nameless faces.

I'm not sure what this says. There could be a number of possibilities:

- Perhaps the Australian context is more accepting of new forms of church and mission?
- It could be that the EC has been pretty under the radar here?
- Maybe LivingRoom isn't an EC?
- Could it be that I'm blind, deaf and/or just plain ignoring the criticism?
- Maybe we're the perfect EC that's found all the answers?
- Perhaps we're so far off base that no one is bothering to critique us?
- Maybe we're reasonably good at explaining what and why we do what we do?
- Or perhaps we're just a wishy washy blend of EC and established church?

I'm not sure what it is (although am leaning towards it being an Aussie thing) - but I'm not too disturbed as I think that Emerging and Established churches have a lot to offer each other and many things to learn together



I think it is partly an Aussie thing and partly because EC is under the radar. Most of my Christian friends in country Victoria wouldn't know what the Emerging church was. Perhaps that is an age thing.

Susan » 7 July, 2005 12:27 PM

Good reflection Darren, I reckon last weekends Dangerous Stories Summit with 600 people attending goes part way to answering it. In part I reckon Aussies are fairly good at accepting new stuff. Last weekend was a good mix of traditional and non traditional, not bad for a summitt aimed squarely at the "emerging" end. My theory is we set ourselves up when we are black and white about "us" and "them", "emegent" and "non emergent". Titles are helpful but also destructive. I personally like the mix of new and older learning from each other. I can understand and appreciate what Andrew is saying, but it hasn't been my experience in Oz, maybe flying under the radar is a good thing in that regards, yet we both belong to denominations who celebrate who we are and want to see our flavour in the life of the mainstream. Just some rambling thoughts, welcome back.

Barro » 8 July, 2005 1:29 PM

I agree. Something has to be done about the tension. I like what Emerge has been writing about and the Charge of Unity that we need to have. I believe it is important that we all get behind writings like this. This article should be the most linked and commented post on the net.
The Charge of Unity
The Charge of Unity

tomjones » 14 July, 2005 7:23 AM

Flying under the radar is certainly a major factor. I know a number of churches who have experimented with 'cafe services' and 'labyrinth services' and have never heard of emerging church. Remember too, Aussies don't self promote half as much as Americans so is it any wonder it's a little quieter down here? (Not meaning to offend any Americans reading this - its just a cultural thing)

Matt Stone » 15 July, 2005 1:14 AM

Yeah I reckon, most people are right in what they have said there are plenty of people out there who have no idea who or what emerging or missional churches are. At the same time, people i have talked to, alot don't mind this expression of the church, which probably comes from a more post-modern view as well.

�johnman� » 15 July, 2005 9:29 PM

I hope I'm not bursting a popularity bubble here, but I'd guess that most established churches in Melbourne would have no idea that the Living Room exists. Whether that is a good or bad thing I don't know, but I can't see how people from established churches would even find out about the Living Room. So I pick option 2.

Tim » 1 August, 2005 4:26 PM

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