To continue my lessons in the humility of leadership, I learned at this gathering the lesson we learn every four years at the political conventions: people that are drawn to leadership roles often hold more extreme interests than regular people.
In this case, I wanted to talk about diversity in the emerging movement and why some people flaunt the label, while others eschew it or cannot obtain it.
I brought a CD of Dr. John Kinney from the SCUPE conference (available here). Pastor Kinney is an phenomenally articulate African-American man who says the exact same things that many of the phenomenally articulate and visible people labeled Emergent say. Yet to most of the world, he is simply another black preacher.
So, I played the portion of the sermon that was painfully obviously advocating emergent theology about our non-hierarchical relationship with God and how this should manifest itself in non-hierarchical relationships with each other. This was an attempt to back up my argument that folks from marginalized groups don't get a lot of attention from this movement of ours.
With that proof of my premise resounding, I tried to start a conversation about why some people get to be Emergin and other people don't with the group.
But they were having none of it.
They kept talking about the actual theological idea presented and not the process issue that I wanted to talk about.
Oh, I tried to pull them back "on topic" but they kept talking about how best to serve the people that showed up at their churches.
And that's when I admitted to myself that non-hierarchical leadership is valuable for precisely this reason. Folks get to use the group time for discussion that's actually valuable to them.
So, this month, we're meeting on Wednesday night at 7:30 at Wicker Park Grace (1741 N. Western). We'll have a discussion based around the idea of emergence 101 and see where that goes.
For preparation, feel free to check out this blog post by Mike Clawson, Wikipedia, or my excerpts from the Emerging Manifesto of Hope but your individual experiences and studies in this movement (even if you're just a beginner) will be just as valuable.
I look forward to seeing both familiar and new faces on Wednesday night.