The Great Mergence (updated with more)















Update: Apologies to Quakermergent for missing you.

And Nazmergent

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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.


  • marcussplitt says:

    That shows to me, that the whole “e” thing is over. But nevertheless thanx for your blog. I did not comment over the last months or even years (?), but i was on track. I really appriciate your honesty and sincerity. You seem always so full of hope. I have to be honest that i sometimes really lose hope in us as his people. Where does that end? Always trying to renew something that seems to be dead? Well, ok i am really pessimistic right now…

  • andrew jones says:

    shoot, marcus . . . somebody please pour some petrol on me and strike a match . .
    actually, maybe the ‘e’ thing is over for americans.

  • Most of these groups are a good thing. I think that Emergent claiming them is a bit misleading (yes, I know that they borrow the “gent” ending).
    Only some of these groups have any real connection with Emergent. Most are trying to recognize the beauty of a tradition with a new found freedom to re-imagine.

  • John says:

    this is great. I’d like to hear some ideas on how the “e” word is defined, and who gets to determine its’ application.
    I would agree with you, if by saying the “e” thing is over for Americans you are implying that it has become calcified into a structure with gatekeepers to protect brand identity. What drew me to emergent in the first place is precisely the idea that this is an open source conversation. While I think I have a hunch about the source of your angst it’s probably more closely aligned with overextending and diluting the idea than with determining who’s “in” and “out”

  • andrew jones says:

    Steve – i didnt see your post until you just mentioned it but now i will add the other two that i missed but are on your post. thanks!!!
    weird how we both posted something similar today.

  • andrew jones says:

    and mark – yes – Emergent is too new to claim these groups . .
    karen ward (Anglimergent) and i go back before emergent started . .
    but it is interesting to see the name “emergent” get morphed.

  • David says:

    the pervasiveness is so stunning. it goes beyond traditional christianity as well. Judaimergent, Quantamergent, Obamamergent…
    i believe.

  • If emergent in the US is it because its become more of a badge than a simple description of what happens as we pursue mission?

  • andrew jones says:

    we have this conversation a lot. the silly thing is that the word “emergent” has been used for years and years – regarding the early church in Acts, by the Catholics during the 20th century for new church plants on the mission field and in the past 30 years for the new churches in every culture.
    seems pathetic that a few people not getting it in USA should threaten an international historical word.
    but in the usa, i dont always use the word. i was in usa last week in a few different states and i dont think any of the ministries there – cool as they are – are connected with emergent village – cool as that is.
    its just a really big world . . bigger than we all think.

  • Chris says:

    btw… that reformergent one is sweet… yeah… i am a bit partial, but oh well! 🙂

  • Steve K. says:

    I’m trying not to get my undies in a bunch here too much, but I guess Mark Van S. comment tweaked me a little bit. When he says, “I think that Emergent claiming them is a bit misleading,” I guess I can see what he’s trying to say, but even the Lutheran group which started before or around the same time as Emergent Village as “Emerging Leaders Network” now has a website at — so the Emergent hybrid name thing is a real phenomenon. And I don’t think anyone is trying to take “credit” for that or “claim” that, as if we have any ideas or aspirations of control over any of it.
    The goal was really just to do what Andrew did, which was just to point out this list of all these different groups from all these different streams and promote them and encourage others to get connected with them and share their information if they know of other groups that are “emerging” out there in other denominations and streams. I think this is a place where Emergent Village can serve by helping connect people — not that anyone needs Emergent Village per se to do that, but it makes sense for EV to be a conduit for that kind of information, is all 😉 But, hey, I get the whole hermeneutic of suspicion thing, so anything that’s “branded” “Emergent” is suspect. I get that …
    Andrew, I guess I’m wondering if you can clarify your comment: “seems pathetic that a few people not getting it in USA should threaten an international historical word.” Who, in your opinion, is “not getting it”? Are you talking about me and Tony? Or somebody else? ’cause I guess at this point I’m assuming you mean us, but again I could be totally misreading you. Or maybe it’s obvious, and I’m just dense, which is highly possible as well 😉
    Steve K.

  • andrew jones says:

    no steve, not you guys at all. sorry bout that. You know i like EV, although I dont seem to work much with it as i used to in the past.
    I meant that there are a host of critics, all for some weird reason live in the USA, who:
    1. have no knowledge whatsoever of the use of “emergent” in common vernacular and its expression in business, biology, computers and of its usage in missions and church history over the years.
    2. have a poorly informed opinion of Emergent Village that is inaccurate at best and malicious at worst.
    a few people in the usa write some books saying that “emergent” is about style and rebellion and heresy and the entire emerging church movement globally (usa is a small slice and also newer to the table than many countries) groans under the weight.
    and then we go looking for another word and the whole process starts over again.

  • Steve K. says:

    Thanks for clarifying that, Andrew. What I think is interesting (and part of what I’m personally hopeful about) is how these “mergent” groups are shaping and defining the ongoing discussion/conversation. And I’ve heard you post your frustrations/concerns about this before — how the U.S. backlash (in some quarters) against Emergent (capital E) has had negative consequences for the global emerging church movement. I share your concern about that, for sure.

  • watchman says:

    An emergent obsessed with words?

  • Mike Clawson says:

    Man, some of you guys sure are cynical aren’t you?
    Can’t we see this as a good thing? As an expansion of the network of friendships? As a convergence of many different traditions into new mosaic of diversity? As some cool additions to the ongoing learning party?
    I get the whole “we don’t like labels” thing, but frankly that’s a shallow critique and keeps one from celebrating the substance of what is actually doing on.

  • jeremy says:

    wouldn’t “Reformergent” be Mark Driscoll’s The Resurgence. It’s basically emerging Reformed. Regardless, i think people are using emerging/gent as a catch all hypster phrase within Christian circles to appear young, intelligent, and culturally aware. The “Emergent” title is starting to become another “purpose driven!” I pray thats not what the conversation becomes.

  • My earlier point was simply an attempt at clarification. Lots of folks think that Emergent is the name of a big group and that this list is a number of sub-groups. The truth is that these networks have a life of their own. Most or all of them have benefited from the good work that EV has done. But that isn’t to say that they are simply a hybrid of Emergent and Lutheranism or Emergent and Anabaptism. EV is one among a number of groups fostering conversations. I am a friend of many folks with strong connections to EV. I myself have some strong ties. But I don’t like the way in which these groups are depicted as “children of Emergent.”
    Doug and Tony and others tend to tell teh story of the emerging church in a way that centers around the activities of EV. I can be their friends, support their work, and even facilitate the Twin Cities Emergent Cohort that both Doug and Tony attend, without affirming the way in which EV tends to co-opt labels and exert brand-identity.

  • jeremy says:

    By the way Andrew, I posted a response to this at my blog, I’d encourage you to read it and bring forth possible critique.

  • becky says:

    I just clicked on the link that Steve suggested – I have a Q re: this line – “people from many different streams of Christianity started finding some inspiration, hope, and community through Emergent Village—and then they started to find each other.”
    Steve while you noted that no one needs EV to make connections, I hope you can see how people might read a statement like this and then assume that Emergent Village must be home base for all things emergent.
    I am aware of a host of people who are part of this dialogue who found their inspiration, hope and community without any connection to EV. In fact, many of these people wouldn’t self-identify as emerging/emergent but they are clearly reaching those for whom church is not in their vocabulary.

  • andrew jones says:

    jeremy. i share your concern about colonialism, but if your critique of emerging church is . .
    “If coffee and candles are what makes us different then we’ve done nothing to make a real difference except change our appearance.”
    then i dont think you have examined this 20 year old global movement [not a 6 year old american movement] deep enough for a worthy conversation.
    maybe another time.

  • brad says:

    Shifting from Emergent back to the history of “emerging” for a moment, thought you might be interested in this description from a book in Mowbray’s Emerging Church Series:
    “[Michael Hare Duke] explores the need of the Church to re-examine the basis of its Communication so it can speak to the present and future generations in terms which are both convincing and intelligible. He calls for a flexibility and openness to test all new challenges against the three touchstones of revealed scripture, traditional understanding, and spiritual vision. He says the Church must re-mint its symbols to capture contemporary feeling, provides signs and stories which catch current imagination, and in an age gripped by the power of the visual image, it must enable sacrament to speak for itself.”
    From back cover of *Stories, Signs and Sacraments in the Emerging Church,* 1982.
    Yes, 1982. For those interested in historical research, this series issued at least two other books around the same time. Still searching for more details.

  • James says:

    macmergent (the computers)
    mcmergent (the fast food)
    evangimergent (evangelicals)
    ohhh – and this is a real one:
    emergent voyageurs (canadians!!)

  • Steve K. says:

    I really appreciate what Mark Van S. said above, “I can be their friends, support their work, and even facilitate the Twin Cities Emergent Cohort that both Doug and Tony attend, without affirming the way in which EV tends to co-opt labels and exert brand-identity.”
    I really respect Mark for holding this position. I think it’s a good critique and helpful counter-balance.
    And to Becky’s point about that statement in the Emergent/C, she’s absolutely right about that, as well. The implication that Emergent Village has brought these groups together is incorrect. Of course there are groups that have organized (and are organizing) apart from EV that have little or no real connection to EV. Which just goes to show that we all have our blind spots and biases, eh? Thanks for graciously pointing that out, Becky!

  • becky says:

    As Andrew keeps reminding us all, the church has been “emerging” since the time of Acts. Phyllis Tickle’s work has been very helpful to me in putting our 21st century experiences into the proper historical perspectives. I got a small taste of what will be in her book “The Great Emergence” (Baker Books, October 2008) when I interviewed her for “Rising from the Ashes” and “The Wittenburg Door.”
    I tell people is that we’re at a point in history where there is a global spirit that’s infusing religion, politics, and culture and no one entity albeit an organization or individual (even if he is a presidential candidate) can full encapsulate what’s happening. I find following this spirit more exciting than deciding what’s emergent/emerging. As a satirist, I’m inclined to deconstruct labels anyway.

  • jeremy says:

    so, andrew, are you saying that fair trade coffee drinking and candles are really what makes something “emerging?” Please clarify?
    And, I was not trying to critique the emerging movement, but critique the 20th century fundamentalist movement ill use of “emerging/gent” as a hipster phrase.
    when in reality emergent isn’t about an appearance, it’s a conversation about God, faith, life, social justice, etc.

  • Lynnea says:

    Don’t forget Nazmergent….

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