Whites Only 4: Emerging Obituary

is the emering church for whites only

Taken from “Is the ‘Emerging Church’ for Whites Only?”

“Further complicating the confusion is the recent notion among some in the West that the emerging church as a whole has died. For example, in January 2010, one blogger wrote an obituary for the emerging church. The obituary characterized the emerging church as having made “many advances in the Christian church, including facial hair, tattoos, fair trade coffee, candles, couches in sanctuaries, distortion pedals, Rated R movie discussions, clove cigarettes and cigars, beer, and use of Macs”—a satirical characterization that nonetheless seems to hold a grain of truth.

Even in declaring the death of the emerging church, the focus is on its Western expression. The face and heart of the movement that was being lamented was defined by white Americans, furthering the perception that the emerging church is an exclusively Western, white expression. Even when the blogger notes the emerging church’s contributions to “women’s issues, conversations about sexuality, environmentalism, anti-foundationalism, [and] social justice,” they are put in the context of Western society.” “Is the ‘Emerging Church’ for Whites Only?”
This obituary thing was the post by Rick Bennett and it was hilarious. He was making fun of the conversation that pointed back to a post I had made on how, after watching the emerging church movement in almost 50 countries, and pondering on the state of about 50 EC movements, made a conclusion that 2009 was the year of maturation when it was no longer a radical and controversial movement. I did not declare it to be dead.
The article is right to say that it was the white Americans that responded most, esp. those related to Emergent Village, but I feel a reason for this was that the other countries agreed with my assessment. They had seen the same thing as me. Many of their groups had either closed down or merged with traditional groups, or had achieved a level of acceptance in the wider church world in 2009 so there wasn’t much to argue about.


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.

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