Thursday, May 04, 2006

Open Letter to Emerging Church Critics

Dear emerging church critics,
After reading your stuff, I'd like to make a few recommendations:

1. Emerging is not a denomination. Attempts to categorically define and label the people, theology, churches, and books that are associated with emerging as a systemized organization are pointless. I know that this is frustrating to you, but until you accept this fact, all of the arguments you set forth will be circular.

2. If you want to be taken seriously, I recommend that you take a specific instance or quote and explain your reasons for disagreement. Refrain from applying that specific incident to everyone associated with emerging church.

3. You cannot fairly critique something that you are already biased against. I understand that you believe you are wise and impartial, however, your bias and lack of understanding of this subject are obvious.

4. When you conclude that we have no regard for the Bible, we will no longer listen to you.

5. When you assume that our theology is suspect and all of your comments come from that standpoint, we will not listen to you.

6. We don't care what you think about Brian McClaren. Really.

7. When you are ready to consider us as your brothers and sisters in Christ, who have a deep love of God and appreciation for His Word, then we have a basis for conversation.

That's all for now.


Steve Sensenig said...

Very well said! I still can't figure out if I'm actually "emergent" or not, but that in itself probably means that I am. :) I have noticed the types of things you mention here, and I think your response here is very appropriate and echoes my thoughts about this, too.

steve :)

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

Well said. I just posted last night on the need for affirm critics from within. I am trying to resist my impulse in reading some of the more hateful critics, but they draw me like flies to... Anyway, greta post!


Cindy said...

woohoo!! Fan wave for Grace! You said it! hooray!

ps- I liked what you said here. :-)

David Cho said...

Well, from what I have seen, the more they speak (and write), the more they confirm what Emergent people are saying about the traditional church mindset. They continue to be a living testimony to why the Emergent movement has emerged.

So I see that as a good thing for the Emergent side.

Dave said...

What was wrong with my comment?

Aj said...

I try to think of critics in terms of how Graham Cooke describes them: grace growers. And man: does emerging get blessed in that area!

Randy McRoberts said...

Well done. I'm cut-and-pasting. Hope you don't mind.

Cindy said...

Grace, this post has gotten a lot of attention in the blogosphere, in case you don't know. Good work and good words.

grace said...

I'm not sure that I'm emergent either, but I know for sure that I'm not anti-emergent.

It's both frustrating and fascinating, isn't it?

Thanks, it's great having you back in the blogosphere.

Very true, it's too bad that they aren't able to see that.

I'm not sure I understand. I haven't changed the comments. Did you have trouble with word verification?

When Graham talked about that, I had some other individuals come to mind, but you're right, it applies here also.

Thanks, paste away!

I'm know that it won't likely be read by those I would like to hear it, but I felt better after writing it anyway.

David Cho said...

I think I know what this "Dave" guy did.

Sometimes, I click the Preview button, and forget to click Submit.

Cindy said...

word verification is also acting very squirrely on blogger this week. on my site there is almost never an image the first time. i have to type something and wait for it to bounce back and there's usually a word to copy the 2nd time.

iggy said...

Great thoughts!
I would add that, "I am not Biran McLaren" also. It seems that many critics seem to think we all think and believe as he does. They miss the whole point that we can dialog with respect on the important issues and give grace on the ones we disagree with.

Recently I had the honor of having someone slander me and also attack John O'Keefe on this persons blog. It is a rather sad blog and hillarious on the other hand.

You can read all about it on my blog with links even to his. I just reccomend not indulging him in any comments.

In that I have written how to answer your critics from what the Bible says.


Jeff said...

Hi Grace. Great list. I would've added something about how petty it is when critics resort to making comments about goatees and labyrinths as if these are the chief marks of emerging. I am continually fascinated by how much time some critics spend commenting on facial hair, as if no one's ever grown it before.

grace said...

Yes, whether it's facial hair or contemplative prayer, they seem to major in the minors while completely overlooking the real issues that are at the heart of many who identify with emerging. It would help immensely if they would simply be willing to believe the best first, instead of hoping to find dirt.