This past Sunday we gathered at the home of Kristine Socall in Winfield for a special late-night discussion with Tony Jones, the National Coordinator for Emergent. The forty or so of us that were there had a good time connecting with each other, sharing food, and hearing Tony share with us about the past and future of Emergent.
Tony began by telling us the story of how Emergent originated as a dozen or so friends committed to exploring the intersection of theology and church ministry. Several books, conferences, and a whole movement later, Emergent has evolved as one of the major "servers" (to use Tony's Internet analogy) of this thing called the emerging church. Tony described his vision for Emergent to become a way of connecting and resourcing people who share similar visions for the future of the church. He also talked about his desire for Emergent to become a place where people with good ideas and something to share with the larger church could possibly get their books and materials published and publicized.
Questions from the group for Tony ranged from "What's the difference between the emerging church and anabaptists?" to "What's wrong with Stanley Hauweras?" to "Does a focus on social justice obscure the gospel of Heaven?" to "How does holistic medicine intersect with the emerging church?" to "Is Emergent becoming too institutionalized?"
We are grateful to Tony for taking the time out of his schedule to visit with us. We are looking forward to possibly getting together for a similar time with Dave Tomlinson, author of The Post-Evangelical, who will be at North Park University for a conference in a few weeks. We'll let you know when we find out more about that.
We'll also be having another up/rooted.west gathering sometime in February. I'll let you know as soon as we pick a date. Keep your eyes peeled for that as well.