Matt Glock brings up the issue of anti-intellectualism in the emergent conversation from last week’s Divergent gathering. Matt, who deserves applause for carrying my bags through Geneva, needs your prayers today for his first shot of chemotherapy. He had his thyroid taken out a few weeks ago and is grateful for prayers in the virtual room at my party.
But to deal with the anti-intellectual thing. Jamie Smith brought this up on the Generous Orthodoxy blog and there is some serious discussion going on about the ” surprising elements of anti-intellectualism in the conversation.”
As for my and my house, I dont think its a simple matter of being too intellectual or anti-intellectual. We need deep and wide thinking that deals honestly with the issues, a thinking that relates directly to practice. I DO think much of our thinking is too western and eurocentric to be of universal good to the majority of believers who live in non-western countries and have much to teach us. I also think our gatherings are very male in both gender and subject matter, as well as favouring the middle class. Which is why Peter Rollins, who lives in a lower class apartment block in Belfast, was such a WONDERFUL addition to the conversation.
Emergent gatherings are probably more cognitive than what they used to be in the 90’s when arts and worship were a significant part of the program. But Emergent is not a denomination or a festival. Its a conversation and a safe space to tackle issues related to church. At least it is supposed to be.
But sometimes, and Jamie may have sensed this, there are pastors and Christian leaders who are not prepared to jump into a hard-core intellectual conversation that threatens their existing paradigm, or do not know how to do so. This makes it different than debates and intellectual exercises found at universities. Emergent must therefore find a middle ground. How do you experience Emergent?
The panel on ethics: Paul Holley. James Smith, Brian McLaren, Jason Clark and myself (standing) as moderator. I didn’t really do well in this session. Brian and Jason did much better at moderating their sessions than I did. On my panel, Brian was the most gracious and Jason was bold and wise. Jamie also did very well. The podcast will be out this month.