Emerging Church is NOT white middle-class males!

I have heard this sharp, cutting criticism before and i REFUSE to accept it. Its just nonsense! The emerging church is NOT . . . I repeat NOT . . . full of white middle class males.


In fact, Jonny Baker and I were discussing this yesterday over a cup of tea. . . and we both believe the rumors are not true. We would have consulted the ladies on this matter but none were available.

Jonny had just defeated the other gentlemen in a MERCILESS game of croquet at Shallowford House, an Anglican retreat center north of London. I refused to play croquet because i did not have my appropriate white attire.

But I did play a few games of lawn bowls with the men . . .

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Jonny thought he would also win the bowls . ..

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but he was wrong . . . VERY wrong!

. . . now what was i talking about again?????? ah yes . .

Jonny and Jen have actually addressed the issue of gender inequality in the emerging church and I blogged something on the subject as part of an apology for using the word “girl” out of context in a previous post.

But the issue is still on the table and the question [i am being serious for those of you born without a sense of humor] of gender, class, education, ethnicity are still being sorted out.

btw – our speaker for the retreat was an African missiologist named Joe who outlined the impact of women in the bible history and also their current plight in todays world dominated by white western males.

also on the radar is the upcoming global emerging church roundtable called Die Gefaehten, which now has a blog. The participants in this event are a good mix of gender and there is a special focus on hard-core underground sub-cultures – which is where the emerging church movement often starts.

Thanks Mark Berry for posting these photos on flickr.


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.


  • Marc says:

    I love your self-irony. So funny.

  • Aj says:

    It sure would be nice to see what’s emerging be a more holistic response to the Spirit, but it seems to be our nature to go off into our own corners generally designated by gender, race, experience, etc. One corner becomes too dominant (usually white middle class males – shocking though that may be), and then everyone spends time trying to become dominant rather than equalize and work in harmony.
    Do movements like this always need “special interest groups” for a variety of voices to be equally heard? What have you noticed in your years of observation?

  • i dont think this always comes around . .. but if the enlightenment privileged certain powerful people and shoved others to the margins, then a reshuffling is needed and is going on.
    what is really interesting for me to read right now are the thoughts on post-colonialism, hybridity and writings from the third world.

  • Nadia says:

    I initiated a post on http://www.emergingleadersnetwork.org about the derth of female voices in the emerging conversation … there were some interesting responses.
    Here’s a female voice for ya’

  • Andrew, the emerging church IS a pure expression of white middle class male angst. Sure there are a few women who participate, but this is the exception that proves the rule. More to the point, the emerging church is the stupidest parts of white culture all distilled, remanufactured, repackaged, and pushed on those of us trying to do real ministry work as a new “missiological paradigm” when it is little more than re-marketed junk. Authenticity comes from Living the Truth, not from shiny packaging.
    {tsk – michael – this is MUCH better. i love it when you direct the criticisms towards the emerging churches and not towards my children, as you did on your blog.
    yes – there is still a lot of that angst – i have seen it more than you have – in many countries – and among white and black and asian and latin.
    so tell us, how do you live the truth AND transform the surrounding emerging culture better than what you have witnessed? send us the link to your church so we can see how its done]

  • Alan Cross says:

    That was so funny, I literally laughed out loud until tears came to my eyes. Great sense of humor, Andrew. I seriously have no idea what the rest of your post was about. I was going to read it, but I had to tell some ladies chatting nearby to keep quiet so I could engage with the emerging church through your blog. Oh yes, gender equality . . . as you were saying?

  • White says:


    He talks about the structural forces that perpetuate racial Sean Hahn, VPDavid Hilfiker , a affluent white doctor who has been living in an…

  • If any of you could come around to Asia you would see what the Spirit of God is doing through people and you would not waste time arguing over stupid things but would get on and love people into the kingdom. The reason you don’t see the women is because they are busy at work for their King!
    Jonny you are getting a nice beer belly!

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