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« Thank God | Main | Is The Emerging Church Hopelessly Utopian? [2] »

July 05, 2007



How do you differentiate between emerging church and Emergent Church (TM)? Look forward to your response in the next post.


Depends on how you understand utopia. For instance, Foucault's unfinished idea of 'Heterotopia' is fantastic.

That's why the notion of 'critical utopia' is so important. Check out post 44 here.

Vaux was a critical utopia Greenbelt is a TAZ.


I just love the TAZ idea.

As you say, wish we'd come across that earlier...

I'll try to differentiate between the two next post Becky ;-)


What attracted me to this movement was a genuine attempt to explore what it means to be the "the church." What concerns myself (and many others) is what we see evolving is yet another white male, PdD dominated stucture repleate with a marketing machine. (I even had one person with national ties to emergent tell me that only church plants are emergent, thus discounting the signs of emerging church present in existing churches.) Yes, books and the like are necessary but I'm referencing attempts to brand an organic movement and in this branding process, I'm seeing too many people get burned. In fact, right now, I just tell pepole I'm trying to follow Jesus and leave it at that -- and that's a common refrain I hear from many people these days.

However, has the church ever had a period of utopia? A skim of the New Testament shows just how flawed the disciples and the subsequent early churches really were. I take comfort in that becuase it tells me how despite my flaws, God will work through me. For me the true miracle of the Holy Spirit is that the Christian church is still striving, whereas the Roman and Greek gods tended to fade into history once their earthly empires fell.


Not sure that it's so easy to say that the utopian American communities of the C19 were about getting rid of dirt. Communities like the Shakers were given a lot of their numerical increases by the people made homeless or destitute by the economic circumstances of the 1820s and 30s and you don't get much more dirty than dealing with those circumstances.

The more interesting point seems to me to be that the flux in American society allowed far more latitude to people to get practically involved in utopian communities themselves, some of which produced extraordinary results. As US society settled down towards the end of the century, the utopian urge shifted away from practice and into literature. With a few exceptions, the utopias of the c20th were of an all-encompassing top-down nature, rather than the organic communities of the c19.

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