What Is Emerging?

19 04 2010

Thanks, Julie Clawson for asking folks to synchroblog on the question: “What is emering?”  Here are a few of my thoughts.

If Phyllis Tickle is right in The Great Emergence, then emergence is something that describes broad cultural changes that might be global in reach, but has many very particular expressions. Capital “E” “Emergent,” as Shane Claiborne described last week in his Sojo post, is the Emergent brand, which may have little or nothing to do with the particular expressions of emergence around the world.

When I created my godpots.com website, I was hoping to create a space for particular expressions to be voiced. I described my hopeful vision this way:
“Godpots is intended to be a place of hospitality, a place of open conversation, a place to consider new ideas and reflect on actions that may reveal a more whole and holy way to live with one another and with the world. The name reflects creation as vessels for the Creator’s spirit – our usefulness, our fragility, our center being filled by the divine being. It is a place to reveal the heart, the struggle, the hope we have. I believe the world as humanity has shaped it is not how G-d intended it to be. I believe we have and are broken vessels, but G-d, as a potter, never let’s resources go to waste. Every scrap of clay can be reclaimed. Every drop of water can slag down the mistakes. Every shard can be ground and reused as grit that will strengthen the next batch of clay. I believe G-d can redeem even our most shattered realities.
“Therefore, I also believe that we have deep ethical responsibility to redress our wrongs, clean up our messes, apologize for the hurts we’ve caused and make right our injustices. We are responsible for reconciling our relationships with one another and creation as far as we can, unless doing so would cause further harm. This means we must be open to hearing from others how we have injured them – even if we didn’t intend to do so. It means acknowledging someone else’s experience – even if we don’t share it. It means we must bear another’s burdens and tend their wounds – even when doing so might seem more than we can. To say it is too hard to hear someone else’s terrifying story is to admit cowardice to imagine what another, a sister or brother, has already lived through, or did not survive. It is our ethical responsibility to listen. It is our responsibility to accompany. It is our responsibility to reconcile. Through care-filled attention to our relationships – we begin to experience the redemption that is a holy gift. Welcome! Share your questions, thoughts, experiences – your journey. Peace.”

The reality of maintaining an active site/blog has given way to the easy connections of Facebook and Twitter, but the vision still gives me hope. I see amazingly faithful particular expressions everywhere, as well as resistance and rejection of some of those expressions by faithful people. It is my hope that we can listen to one another well enough and long enough that we begin to love one another more than we love our own ideas, theologies, denominations, traditions, politics and cultures.

I believe emergence is happening in churches, temples, mosques. I believe emergence is happening in faith, in medicine, in education, in industry, in politics and in art. I believe emergence is happening in our personal lives, in families, in countries and cultures. I believe emergence describes how so many aspects of our lives are shifting as a result of changes in information flow, how we gather and filter information, how we attribute authority to the sources of such information and how we are shaped in our relationships as a result.