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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Rising from the Ashes - Week 4
We continue this week in our discussion of Becky Garrison's Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church. I've appreciated reading this book for a number of reason, but especially for how it reveals the diversity of ways people are rethinking how we do church. The interviews included in the book represent voices from different countries and church backgrounds. The issue that appear important and how the church responds differ from context to context. I was especially interested in seeing how the emerging/missional streams are expressed in different countries.

In my American context I see people in this conversation beginning to realize that not all expressions of the emerging conversation are the same, but we often fail to realize how different the conversation is in places like England or Australia (just to limit it to places that share a common language at least!). While such differences are not the main theme of this book, it serves as a good resource to highlight them nonetheless.

In his interview, Jonny Baker mentions the differences between the UK Alternative Worship movement and the emerging conversation. He mentions too that "one of the huge differences between the uk and the us is that in the uk a lot of the emerging stuff has happened in and around the edges of the main denominations - particularly the [church of england]." (p.18). And Steve Croft of England speaks of differing terminology - "the phrase 'Fresh Expression of Church' was a neutral term. We wanted to find a new useful phrase to describe a collective range of phenomenon such as emerging church, alternative worship, and new ways of being the church." (p21).

And when asked why the emerging church conversation has been going on longer in the UK than in the US, Ian Mobsby replied - "because there is more of a crisis of faith in the church in the UK than there is in the US - we are slightly ahead of you in the postmodern context - and this is why Australia and New Zealand are ahead of us both - as they have an increasingly post Christian postmodern culture." (p. 28)

So I ask the questions to us here -

How do you respond to these differences?
Have you noticed how the conversation varies from country to country?
What are the major differences that you see at play?

And it would be great to hear from our members from around the world on this.

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posted by Julie at 12:59 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/23/2008 03:40:00 PM, Blogger Chris

    Everyone at the Emerging Women blog --
    I gave you all a "You Make My Day" award on my blog today: http://crafty-angels.blogspot.com/2008/01/thank-you-angels.html

    Thank you for inspiring, and enlightening, me!
    Rev. Chris Pokorny

  • At 1/24/2008 06:25:00 AM, Anonymous andrew (tallskinnykiwi)

    i agree with jonny - less of a border line in the uk - much more integrated

    enjoying becky's book, btw

    chow ladies . . .

  • At 1/24/2008 06:27:00 AM, Anonymous tallskinnykiwi

    (that's "Ciao" in uneducated new zealand english)

  • At 1/24/2008 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Andrew thanks for stopping by. It would be fascinating to experience such an integrated approach in my opinion. These days I see more and more distinct divisions between the different streams of the emerging church in the US - especially between the relevant worship crowd and the theology crowd.

  • At 1/24/2008 01:43:00 PM, Blogger lisa

    One thing I see is that EVERYWHERE I go there is a longing for something other than what people are experiencing in their "normal" church. And, surprisingly, though there is much diversity in the rethinking, there is also much similarity. In 2005 we traveled out to an area that is about 5 hours off the paved roads in a remote area among the Maasai where we used to live. We were surprised to hear people talking about wanting to be the church and stop doing church, wanting to impact the whole of their community and be involved in Creation Care not only traditional evangelism etc etc. That's when it really hit us that the Spirit is doing this--it's not just catching on as a fad.

    On the other hand, having read and discussed and read and discussed and explored and adventured and read and discussed some more on this topic, I have to admit I'm getting tired of the conversation. I know that sounds bad and I DO appreciate open, safe venues where people can dream out loud, but I just want to live it now and stop talking about it.

    But that's just a reflection of my own state of mind. LIke I said, I know how helpful it is to have friends to talk it through with.

    This blog is a good place for that.

  • At 1/25/2008 03:50:00 AM, Anonymous andrew (tallskinnykiwi)

    julie, yes - the trenches are dug deeper by people laboring under the fear of man. all quite silly, really.

    but i also see a lot of integration and overlap. not so much with Acts 29 and EV (burger king and macdonalds) but with the various movements and streams in and out of the denominations and mission agencies and the grassroots stuff on the fringe. probably not as divided as some people make it out to be.

  • At 1/26/2008 10:30:00 PM, Anonymous Becky Garrison

    Leave it to Andrew to bring us the gem of the week. Thank you everyone for contributing to a very frutiful discussion this month. For those who are interested, like Julie (and many of you here), I'm on Facebook and would love to chat with anyone there. My website www.beckygarrison.com has the latest news regarding my books. And I'm on MySpace.

    The dialogue is just beginning.


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