As predicted by Josh and I in the past, the Emergent Church has now, most certainly, lost all relevancy in my opinion.
Although I haven’t been there in a while, I recently stopped by to check out the national website for the Emergent Church. I was preparing for another post I am writing in which I look at the current “heroes” of the Emerging Church-Types such as Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and our friend, Tony Jones. So I stopped in to see what was happening and if Tony had written anything of interest lately.
To my surprise I saw a post from Brian McLaren called “Supporting Emergent”. In this post, McLaren states that while Emergent is making great strides and growing in momentum, it needs financial support to continue its efforts. The goal this year was to fund the position of National Coordinator which Tony Jones now occupies. Here is what Brian wants all of the “friends of the Emergent” to consider:
I’m writing to ask you to make a generous financial contribution to Emergent so that we can free up Tony to serve full-time in this capacity as soon as possible. In our “Emergent rule,” part of our fourth commitment is to “bring whatever resources we can to enrich this shared faith and resolve.” Unless you are experiencing financial hardship, I hope you will give to Emergent in any or all of these three ways:
1) A large annual gift: It would be of great help to us to receive several large gifts – $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 or more. If you are capable of giving at these levels, please be assured that your gift now will add to our momentum in significant ways.
2) A regular monthly commitment: If you could consider giving monthly at $50, $100, $200, or $500 per month, you would be building needed strength and stability in our community.
3) Adding us to your church budget: If Emergent contributes significantly to the health and direction of your church, we hope that your church can reinvest in Emergent.
All contributions are tax-deductible, and you will receive a tax letter for any gifts given to Emergent. You can give online by clicking here. The online donation site will also allow you to choose to contribute to Emergent in regular intervals.
So what’s the point of your gifts beyond financing the position of the National Coordinator? Here’s what Brian says:
Please join me in making a generous contribution to Emergent. As we invest in supporting a National Coordinator, we’ll be able to help more and more people get involved in the Emergent conversation – which will bring benefit to the participants, their churches, and we trust, to the church at large. With God’s empowerment and our commitment, we just might have a movement on our hands.
So let me get this straight. I am supposed to send my money to Emergent to “help more and more people get involved in the Emergent conversation.” Can’t we do that for free already? Isn’t that what’s happening for those that already want to be a part of the Emergent conversation? I also find it interesting that they want people to “get involved in the Emergent conversation” yet don’t allow comments on their own site. Kind of stifles the dialogue ‘eh when you can’t provide feedback on anything they are saying on the national site.
And what is the point of the position of National Coordinator? What’s the guy coordinating? What will he do? I have nothing against Tony personally, but why the hell do we need financial support for an organization that neither organizes nor directs anything on a regular ongoing basis?
Now I have said it before and I will say it again… Josh and I (along with the Stupid Church People website) do not consider ourselves Emergent. Never have… never will. People have tried to peg us as such but we have fought that label. We have always seen them as progressively irrelevant to what is genuinely happening in our midst.
The Emergent has consistently and with increasing speed become more focused on “organizing” (i.e. 501c3 status, boards, etc) and “getting paid” (i.e. books, conventions, raising support, etc.) than they have in stimulating authentic change. They may have once had a voice and been a fresh part of the “conversation”, but in my opinion, with this latest shameless solicitation, they have become insignificant. We had hoped against hope that this wouldn’t come to pass, but even as we hoped we knew with certainty that this was the future of the Emergent Church.
Brian, your body of work is impressive and to be applauded, but to be involved in this manner by pleading for funds is disappointing. Tony, you took something with great promise and have proceeded to create the very thing you resisted with your initial passion and vision. You both epitomize the title and spirit of our site with your recent actions on behalf of the Emergent Church. We are honored to have you represent us.