Mud Slinging Over. Time to Fly

Can I say it publicly? The season of emerging church mudslinging is over. Now its time to bless each other, rise up with wings like angels . . . and fly. The last month put a lot of good people on the defensive and many leaders had to pause for a moment and offer some explanation or apologies or a defense. The wheels stopped turning. But something has shifted, the public bashing of megachurch seekerchurch emergentchurch postmodernchurch housechurch is no longer cool, the hipness of judgmentalism is no longer hip despite us living in an age where everything is published and a misquote on a bad day is only a google away. Sorry Bob Hyatt, but you will have to find another addicition.


This new world of post-post-literacy and information glut can easily lead to trivia sites and the rise of professional critics whose google adds will put food on their table. I dont think this has happened yet, but it could. If we embrace a culture of mudslinging and searching through each other’s archives then we will lose our freedom to speak freely and openly and without fear of creating a database of potential deflamatories. And it will be hard to blog in a world like that. And yes – I know the word is defamatory and not deflamatory, but if i want to make up a word that captures the dark spirit of flaming each other in a defamatory way, then i will do it. It’s my blog. Its my language.

I am not saying the battle is over. There is still residue. The article Rick Warren Teams Up With New-Age Guru Ken Blanchard! is still online, along with Rick’s response. And Frederick Meekin’s “Jonestown or Waco, anyone?” article about Brian McLaren (“Emergent Error: Pastor Seeking ‘With It’ Reputation Ventures Close to Heresy”) is still making its rounds, even though it was taking down by many websites,

i also said some positive words in defense of my friend Erwin McManus who is also under criticism. I was with Erwin when he did his first youth service in East L.A. (1994?) under the supervision of Thom Wolf, which became Mosaic I am not saying I loved Erwin’s service – I didnt think it was very good (probably much better now – Erwin was up on stage singing solo with his guitar at the first one). And I didn’t really like Brian’s last books or Rick’s books (too packaged for my liking) but thats not the point. These are good men and they are serving Jesus alongside me. And so are a hundred other good men and women who are getting slammed . . and I really don’t have the time to go around sticking up for everyone. How much better for all of us if we recognize our true enemy is probably not sitting on a pew in a different church than us.

My job as a internet watchman was a temp. gig and now i have to get back to work. I have been present in many of these conversations but now I have to focus on the summer missions, pilgrimages, conferences and events that need my attention. You will have to excuse me if i don’t turn up as much in your blog post entries or chat rooms.

Those who want to find the latest tabloid science-fiction soap-opera gossip on who is being slammed and how to get some action will have to go somewhere else. In fact, you can start here. Apparently, John Bunyan is charged him with “preaching up an idol, and using conjuration and witchcraft.” Have fun! Don’t stay out too late!

Some of us are saying . . “what was that all about” . . and i am asking “what do the prophets say went wrong over the past few months”. But more importantly, something has shifted in the heavenlies and there is a renewed sense of unity, humility and desire to work together and get on with the job.

I guess fame always comes with a price. No wonder Jesus avoided it as much as He could, staying underground, shunning crowds and public displays with the explanation . . . “My time has not yet come”

And I am not saying that we should stop the discipline of examining ourselves daily or welcoming constructive criticism, but I am saying that I think a lot of us have done enough explaining and defending to feel like we are freed up again to get back to the mission of helping God reconcile all things to Himself, and not to feel dampened.

Or in other words, the harvest is ripe. The season is now. Jesus is with us. Its time for young people to rise up with wings likes angels, time to FLY (as my old pastor Chuck Swindoll said once) . . . and don’t let anyone clip your wings!

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Edward Pillar says:

    Sad, sad, sad, sad…
    Clearly the criticisers have not read their church history very well. The 21st Century is not the first time that elements of the church have sought to emerge from the calsifying culture in which they were born. Risks have to be taken, mistakes will be make, long treks set out on…without knowing the destination. Just knowing: there must be more than this, this just doesn’t ring true anymore, ‘I believe God has called me to move forward into uncharted territory’…etc etc
    As culture changes and the challenges of postmodernity become more apparent the sad thing is that some will rather become increasingly exclusive and eventually die out than leave base camp and strike out on a new adventure.
    The criticising websites make for sad reading.
    I grieve.

  • The angel on my shoulder wants to believe that a spirit of unity is responsible. The devil on my other shoulder maintains it’s just summer in the northern hemisphere, and people are pursuing more intriguing entertainment.
    My head in the middle thinks it’s probably a bit of both.
    I’m all for taking advantage of a season of reduced acrimony, but it’s probably just a season. Even the quote from Isaiah seems to recognize the cyclical nature of things: we FLY, (we get tired, so) we RUN, (but we’re still tired so) we walk …
    But I’m with you, Andrew. Let’s fly while we can!

  • TallSkinnyKiwi: Mud Slinging Over. Time to Fly

    TallSkinnyKiwi: Mud Slinging Over. Time to Fly: …I really don’t have the time to go around sticking up for everyone….

  • I didn’t know sound doctrine had seasons…

  • Oli Douglas-Pennant says:

    Andrew you are so right, but its so easy to criticise!

  • andrew jones says:

    do you really think i had a season away from sound doctrine? or are you just giving me a hard time?
    sound doctrine is always needed but there are seasons – seasons for trees to be productive and seasons in which we store for winter (prov 6) and seasons in which we need to be prepared (2 Tim 4) – and in regards to my usage of time as a missionary, its open season – early June and hundreds of young people are getting on planes and trains and some of them are arriving at my house and my events for training. And although i would love to chat about theology and defend our concepts of faith among my church folk, the majority of the world is waiting for us to come to them be the answer to their prayers. How will they hear unless some of us give up our vacations and go?
    So I have to help clean sheets, buy food, prepare training lessons, air out my tents and sleeping bags, promote events, and help pilgrims get to where they need to be going – especially those taking buses and ferries to my house.
    i am also saying that the flavor of my blog will reflect the changes in what is going on so there will be less doctinal stuff and more missional and pilgrimage stuff and travel stuff for this season.
    but if anyone wants to cover our backs while we are all traveling and on our mission trips, then i would gladly appreciate that. because i certainly wont have time to cover the slander and wrangling over words that will go on in my absense.
    i think we just need to trust the Holy Spirit to protect us, and get on with the job.

  • EC Mudslinging

    Intersting post from Andrew Jones (TallSkinnyKiwi)…Can I say it publicly? The season of emerging church mudslinging is over. Now its time to bless each other, rise up with wings like angels . . . and fly.[…]And I am not saying

  • A says:

    Andrew…may I just a huge
    AMEN! to your post. Once again your generous spirit and heart for the kingdom of God comes through.
    There was one word in your post which caught my attention…the word “underground.” Yeah. More and more I am convinced of the almost necessity of it.
    Peace to you pilgrim

  • Andrew,
    Herein you demonstrate what “deep ecclesiology” really is; that is, as Cunningham’s book about St Francis says, you are “performing” the gospel.

  • Thank you, Andrew! Here’s to moving on!

  • I’m not saying you’re taking a season off from sound doctrine, I’m referring to how you characterize the criticisms. It’s one thing to say you don’t have time to engage critics, but you said much more than that.
    Are all criticisms “hip judgments”? Is it all “mudslinging” “slander” and “wrangling over words”? Just like the “official response,” these characterizations make all criticisms sound petty, fruitless, and perhaps even sinful. If we’re just trying to be “hip” by criticizing things, then that’s obviously a problem. But I think you’ve missed the point of the criticisms. We’re saying that in some cases the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake and we’re contending earnestly for it. If we’re talking about the Gospel, we’re not “wrangling over words.” We want the Gospel to be preached, but we want it to be the right Gospel (sound doctrine). That doesn’t sound like petty mudslinging to me. I better stop there… I’m fed up.

  • Just Todd says:

    Good call from Andrew Jones … don’t forget to follow his links …

    Could we stand to learn from each other? Andrew thinks it a good idea. Conversations are better than castigations….

  • andrew says:

    Roger – dont be fed up and please come back
    Why are you putting yourself and the A-Team blog on the same level as the two examples I gave
    Meekins article was so bad that i refused to even mention it at first, let alone link to it. i do so now only because the storm is over.
    The article on Rick Warren has been proven incorrect and should only exist as a historical example of early internet church arguments and not as a credible critique of Rick Warren.
    The A-Team is an excellent blog and you guys put out reliable and fair critique. It also looks cool and sticks to a cool and attractive theme. Be encouraged and DO NOT lump yourself with what Marko called “hip judgmentalism”

  • Okay, I’ve calmed down. I had read your comments as referring to all criticisms, not just the ones you mentioned. I hadn’t even heard of the Meekins article. A lot of that frustration was built up from the “official response.” It’s a good thing I didn’t say everything I was thinking 🙂
    I appreciate your kind words about our blog. We like it too 🙂

  • I notice Bob Hyatt is calling you (the official responders to ec critics) the “Superfriends”! I reckon that’s perfect. Any chance of changing “Emergent-us” to “Superfriends”?

  • Dan-D from Canada says:

    That’s brilliant. I get to be the Green Lantern…
    Andrew, thanks for your time as “watchdog”. I’ve actually enjoyed some fruitful dialogue with critics of emergent, and I look forward to more conversations in kind. Good luck with your work!

  • mark says:

    I like the slant that the latest post of scott’s on emerge, I think that is a healthy question and view. Hats off to a fresh perspective.

  • Bits and Pieces

    A few things that might interest a few people: Is this why some evangelicals are threatened by the emerging church? A former churchgoer offers insight that could be useful if carefully read. Giving up the anti-emergent addiction and asking forgiveness

  • That’s brilliant. I get to be the Green Lantern…
    So who gets to be Gleek?

  • Dan-D from Canada says:

    Good lord, I nearly forgot about him…

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