17 June 2009

A Nuanced Conversation -or- The Emerging Church, AD 2009

This is what I think we are often trying to say to each other:

"I believe in doing things in the following way.

- But - what I really mean is: doing things in this way is working well for me in my context.

(- Or - possibly I'm just speculating, aka talking out my ass. But that's another matter.)

- Further - I recognize that what works well for me in my context might not work well for you in yours.

- And - I further recognize that the things I'm even trying in my context are largely conditioned by my preferences, convictions, and assumptions.

- That said - I really think that some of these things may actually be better in general - i.e., even in your context - than what you're currently doing. (I could be wrong.)

- What I'm saying is - I recognize that my claims are deeply conditioned my my context, as well as my preferences, convictions, and assumptions. But so are yours. And that's why each of our insights might have value to the other - beyond the subjective, beyond the particularly contextual. (Although they will certainly be useless to you unless they are adapted and embraced by the people and the context that you call home)."

This is what I think we too often hear:

"You're wrong."

I don't lay the blame for that at the feet of the listener, either. Too often, what we're saying boils down to: "you're wrong". Because it's almost like shorthand...you know what I mean? Because all that nuance is hard, and it's exhausting.

The one thing the Emerging Church is going to need more than anything else in the next few years, IMHO? Huge, heaping piles of grace. Big, steaming servings of John 13:34-35. Lush buffet-style banquets of love for one another.

Loving God, open our hearts.

(P.S., Nadia, if you're reading this, this is not meant to be a reflection of our conversation, but rather the result of further reflection on some of the things we talked about.)

Photo of Juan Muñoz's sculpture "Last Conversation Piece" by kimberlyfaye (rights)

1 comment:

Cori said...

I really liked this. It really is hard to be gracious when you're very fired up and excited about new ways of doing and seeing things and it can very easily sound like you're critical or undermining of anyone doing anything that's not new or the way you'd do it! Communicating the nuances seems endlessly exhausting, but as you say, we need to be doing it, and with grace.