I would like to point you to my friend Cindy's post, Place and Time, where she brilliantly voices some thoughts about the emerging conversation and about the awkwardness toward church that it creates.
It seems that if we embark on the journey of discovery about emerging church and challenge the traditions we have known, we find ourselves stuck in an inbetween place - no longer in synch with the old, but often not part of something new.
Perhaps there should be a warning on emerging/missional blogs - "Beware! Reading this blog will seriously hinder your ability to fit in traditional church settings!"
I really resonated (smile) with Cindy's post because I feel like the poster child for misfits.
When I sit in church, all of the underlying issues, the beliefs that don't fit in at normal church, sit beside me like an unruly child that occasionally needs shushing.
As Cindy said, "I don’t fit at church (any that I know of) anymore. Neither do I fit out of church."
Those who don't fit the church still carry a deep passion for the church. Heidi Daniels describes it like this in her post "The Girl Formerly Known as a Normal Christian":
"I am the girl who slowly but surely moved away from being an attendee at a church and being to realize that the passion God had given me for his church wasn't about buildings, or programs, or budgets, or attendance."
I think that many, after a time of reactionary thinking, learn to harness thoughts and energies, to contain them with socially-acceptable restraint. We learn to be more comfortable with the tension of being a misfit, no longer biting on the bridle that holds our tongue from accidentally spilling these thoughts.
We can learn to behave, right Randy?
"But I’m not a prophet. I shouldn’t have to be without friends. I guess I should just dumb myself down, overlook the stuff I see, stop worrying about it, be another evangelical robo-Christian, get some bumper stickers, put a fish on my car, and get with the program. I can be a fun guy."
Fr'nklin, who eventually succeeded (kind of) in adapting, describes it like this, "I was still going in the opposite direction, but I was a pleasant rebel...a likable revolutionary."
And what about the conversation?
Occasionally I read concerns about the diversity of the conversation, questioning whether it is strictly for educated, white males. I have often felt that it is mostly a conversation among theologians, pastors, and professionals.
In spite of my blog name, I don't have much invested in the emerging part of the conversation. The only aspect of emerging that is significant to me is the willingness to consider changes to the structures and models of church we have known. In that regard, I am not interested in stylistic changes, but rather in changes that affect the fruitfulness and redemptive ministry of the church in the world.
If this is truly a grass-roots movement of the Spirit, there has to be a place in the conversation for the Average Jane and Joe. For many of us, simply stepping out of the church bubble and shifting the focus of our relationships to people in our community is a radical change in our Christian walk. It doesn't have the glamor of overseas or urban ministry. The missional things that we accomplish have an air of ordinariness about them.
I plan to keep blogging as an Average Jane in the conversation. For now, blogging is my remedy for the dilemma of not fitting in.
Do you remember in Forrest Gump when he started running and had this need to keep running for "three years, two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours", and then suddenly one day, he was done? That's how I see blogging. I started, and for now, I just keep blogging and blogging, but I think that some day, I'll just be done.
"That's all I have to say about that."