I am posting a recent blog by Scott Daniels on the Death of the Emergent Church
Dr. Daniels starts the blog with the following
A little over a year ago a friend of mine and I were invited to lead a seminar at Nazarene General Assembly assessing the Emerging Church and its relationship to the denomination. I said then, I have written in several places, and I will repeat it here, I have never considered myself to be part of the EC. (It’s hard to truly be emerging when you pastor the second oldest church in the denomination. We still have a choir and orchestra for goodness sake J). I have, however, considered myself a somewhat sympathetic critic of the movement. I consider my own position to be a Wesleyan version of the Reformed position Jim Belcher takes in his book Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional.
Anyway, a year ago, the EC conversation was THE buzz. People loved it or hated it. They considered it the hope of the church or the seed of its destruction. When I wrote my five-part series on the EC a year ago my blog received hundreds of hits each day with people wanting to read all they could about this important movement.
A year later, I can’t find a whole lot of people who care. In particular I can’t find any scholarly folk who want to talk about it. One of my theological colleagues here at APU summed it up well in a conversation last week. “For all practical purposes the EC movement is dead. It is over and done. Does anybody care about it anymore?”
Oh sure, there are still plenty of people talking and blogging about the EC. There are a few seminars still going on with either pro-emerging or anti-emerging overtones to them. But it is my prediction that one year from now even those lingering conversations will largely have faded into the distance. I would agree with my colleague. The EC movement is essentially dead.
I know it is not fair to post this and run but I am up to my earlobes with other assignments right now; however I did want the group to hear of this now rather than wait till it goes viral :0-). Reverend Daniels also references the writing of Anthony Bradley whom I heard this summer at a different conference. [http://online.worldmag.com/2010/04/14/farewell-emerging-church-1989-2010/
Bradley writes for (what I think) is a fairly conservative e-zine known as World Magazine but Bradley represents himself (if I remember correctly) as formerly working with Rob Bell at Mars Hill. His presentation appeared to be pretty condescending at the conference, but I know personality often factors into these situations (can you say Tony Jones? :0-) Some of you probably know that there is also a new book/website that also seems to lampoon Emergent in a way that modulates between irony and sarcasm. http://www.hipsterchristianity.com/
Please note: Bradley and Hipster do not mirror Scott Daniels' writing at all (Scott is too charitable for that tone) and I am not trying to lump the three interpretations together. However, I am not always sure what motivates the need to see/accept a movement's "death." Just an FYI to the members of the blog, you might remember the same issue surfaced here in a different iteration in Jan 2009 thread titled Emerging Church Obituary
To be upfront, I have some personal misgivings with the "death" language (as you might have suspected by now). There is something to the pronouncement of an ontological dissolution of a set of passions/perspectives that united real people in real contexts that always makes me nervous. I am not surprised the language of Emergent might have to change (my first article offering to this group suggested something similar, which got me in trouble then :0-) but I always suspected this would be an gradual shift that occurred from churches sharing similar perspectives and not an outright pronouncement from sympathetic or otherwise onlookers. I could say more but right now I need some sleep.
Daniels presents some interesting, accurate, and charitable observations (his critiques match most of my earlier concerns). But dead? Not sure I would ever try to use this term myself (somewhere I feel Mark Twain in the room), particularly in light of Ezekiel 37. Nuff said (maybe too much). Got to go to bed, enjoy the reading.