Capturing the Conversation

Like many young children, we used to occasionally catch wild baby rabbits.

Like many mothers, my mom always said, “If you keep it, it will die.”

As children, it was difficult to understand how providing food and comfortable shelter to these wild ones would actually harm them.

Those of you who have been around for awhile know that my first blog was named Emerging Grace.  I became known as emerginggrace until I switched blogs and named the new blog kingdom grace.  At that point, I went through an awkward phase of being referred to as “the blogger formerly known as emerging grace.”  Now I think most people just refer to me as grace, which is fine by me.

When I named the original blog, I was fairly clueless about the emerging conversation.  However, the name of my blog positioned me in that conversation.  It really was a very helpful place for me to be at that stage of my journey.  However, after a period of time, the name of the blog implied an authority about the emerging church that I didn’t feel was justified.

The emerging conversation was important to me in my process of detox and sorting through doctrine and beliefs.  Personally, I feel that “emerging” should remain a process and not become a form of church.  I continue to be interested in the church that is becoming, but not so much The Emerging Church, if that makes sense.

There is quite a bit of discussion at the moment about the relevance of both Emergent and emerging.  Conversations of interest here:

Also it appears that Dan Kimball and Scot McKnight are in the process of developing a network.  I hope this isn’t the beginning of a process to organize and define the missional conversation.

It seems the oft-repeated scenario is that early adapters are involved in organizing and defining, and because of that emerge as the spokespersons for a movement.

In the charismatic arena, it has been spoken for years that there would be a nameless generation of ordinary believers, sometimes called the saints movement, who would make a great impact for the kingdom.

Many of the same men who make up the International Coalition of Apostles are the ones who have been prophesying from their platforms about this movement of ordinary people.  As a wise friend of mine recently said, they have not yet realized that they won’t be in control of that movement.

Anyway, these are just some random thoughts and uneasy feelings I have about the attempts to capture and tame an organic grassroots movement.

I believe with all my heart there is a church that is emerging, but it is not necessarily The Emerging Church, and the church will be a missional expression of the heart of God, but it is not necessarily The Missional Movement.


  1. Grace, I resonate with quite a bit of what you have said here. Great thoughts, and well said.

  2. If we cannot define it, organize it, and systematize it, how can we possibly control it? Why, it would be equivalent to, say, tossing some yeast into a batch of dough. Pretty soon the whole loaf would be permeated with the stuff! And … there wouldn’t be any ‘elite’ portions needed to leaven a next batch. I mean, you could use any ‘ordinary’ portion of the current batch to procreate the next.

    Sorry. That’s a pretty far-fetched idea if you ask me.

  3. Thanks jeff. It seems there are quite a few similarities in our experiences thus far.

    Like yeast? Like mustard seed?
    Who would have thought! ;)

  4. I believe with all my heart there is a church that is emerging, but it is not necessarily The Emerging Church, and the church will be a missional expression of the heart of God, but it is not necessarily The Missional Movement.

    Like many mothers, my mom always said, “If you keep it, it will die.”

    As a wise friend of mine recently said, they have not yet realized that they won’t be in control of that movement.

    Good observations grace.

    Why is it when God gives us something we tend to make it “ours.”

    I always remember hearing something about how when God places something in your hands, don’t hold on too tight.

    Somehow when God starts something, he’s just unable to see it through to the completion we’ve always dreamed about. (place tongue in cheek)

  5. Amen and amen! Can I say it again!? (Just felt like rhyming…) :)

  6. Wise words … emerging it will never fully emerge, it’s vitality is found in it’s ability to emerge in new contexts continually , mission it’s theme …

  7. *sigh* this is all exhausting – another network? seriously? whatever.

  8. David Olson · · Reply

    Grace, I 100% agree. You can’t capture a movement and hope for it to survive. Like a wild animal it will lose its fur, develop neurosis, bite the hand that feeds it and suffer an undignified death.

  9. Some organisation is fine and necessary, but, if organizing becomes the focus then motives are likely to be questionable…even if those motives are smothered in Jesus syrup.


  10. I hate it when our dogs catch the baby rabbits hiding in the tall grass…

  11. brian,
    I am trying to not make my own uneasiness about networks into a blanket statement against networks in general. I am sure there are situations where structure and organization can be beneficial and enhance relationship. I just think there is often a fine line where what is intended to nurture has the opposite effect.

    Yes you can, amen! ;)

    I like the description that its vitality is in its emergence. There will always be a measure of life that crops up outside the boundaries of what is established and defined.

    I probably should have clarified that I respect the integrity of Dan and Scott. I am sure they have the best of motives and intentions.

    And, I’m trying not to be hypocritical about this. If there were, for example, a post-charismatic network to develop, maybe I would want to be involved.

    I’ve been thinking about the pro’s and con’s. One of the pro’s would be the opportunity to further connect with other like-minded people, although we already have those connections relationally without a network. One of the con’s would be the friends who feel they aren’t included in the parameters of whatever network was developed.

    Whether talking about a network or a local fellowship, the organizers tend to carry a certain level of “inner circle” influence along with their responsibility to facilitate and establish the ethos of the group. This is almost unavoidable and not necessarily bad.

    Anyway, for now my reaction is to “just say no” to networking and to enjoy the connections I have in relationship.

    BTW, I would classify or label Dan and Scot as “emerging evangelicals.” Perhaps that will be the emphasis of their network.

    (I have no idea why you got the long response. I guess I just felt like explaining myself. ;))

    Having watched an unhealthy network develop from the “groundfloor”, your description is apt. It hasn’t yet suffered an undignified death. It’s just sick and mangy.

    As you can probably tell, my feelings are conflicted about what degree of organization facilitates and what hinders.

    I am glad that our dog is now too old to not chase (and kill) the baby rabbits in our yard.

  12. […] brings me to a post by Grace, formerly known as “Emerging Grace,” where she suggests she’s more interested in […]

  13. […] control or organize the term. Working to help keep an appropriate focus is good, but any, as Grace puts it, attempt to capture and tame an organic grassroots movement brings uneasy […]

  14. Doh! I completely missed this being busy away from the blogosphere for a while. Makes me wonder why I wrote my most recent post…You summed it up eloquently. Again, Doh!, I feel like an idiot.Peace…Ron.
    PS…I just discovered the link over at Rick Meigs site.

  15. Ron,
    I enjoyed your post. This is still a very pertinent topic, and it is great to hear different perspectives.

  16. […] any rate, if this is at all interesting to you, click through to Brother Maynard or Grace and see what they have to say about the terms in […]

  17. […] have said before that  I feel that the term emerging should describe a process and not name a form of church.  I […]

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