The question on my mind is this:
Is failure - i.e., critical crisis; death with optional resurrection - a necessary and unavoidable step in authentic emergence - at least in the realm of human social institutions like the Church?
I'm not talking about setbacks - I'm talking about major, life-torpedoing failure that makes it blatantly obvious that if life can go on at all, it will go on in a radically different fashion than before. I wonder about this in the journey of the individual, but even more right now I wonder about it in the shared journey of a community.
My wondering has been shaped by a number of high-quality nodes, including some recent good stuff from Grace, but much more from conversations with genius friends like Dee, P3T3, and Amy, and reflection on the journey-stories of various people and communities I know (including my own). For some theoretical/practical reasons why I fear this might be the case when it comes to communities, see here: The Practices Must Support Each Other.
If this is true (and I have no way of knowing whether it is or not - but I have to tell ya, I have a strong intuition that it's at least mostly true) - if this is true, then several other questions follow, it seems to me:
- Are "emergent" books, conferences, etc. leading folks to believe that they can shortcut this process - this death and resurrection? That it's possible to read some books and say "Yeah, baby! That's where it's at!" and then just go thou and to likewise?
- If so, is that necessarily a bad thing? Or is that setting folks up for the failure which is, perhaps, a necessary stage in the journey?
- This, to me, is the biggie. Unlike the others, it's not the least bit rhetorical. To the contrary, it's extremely concrete and personal, and it's one that I sort of feel like every person who feels called to "emergence" needs to seriously wrestle with (like, don't walk away without a dislocated hip and a blessing):