I was pleasantly surprised to read today that Paul Teusner from Fishers, Surfers and Castors will be up in Sydney for the Coming Out Conference on 14-16 December to present work from his PhD on emerging church bloggers in Australia.

You see, earlier today I thought I’d scope out his site to see how his PhD was coming along (I have a personal interest in this being one of the Aussie bloggers interviewed for the project back in 2006) only to learn we may have a chance to catch up face to face. We’re not sure if we can synchronise our schedules yet but we’ll see.

Anyway, all that aside, here is what I actually went looking for, a synopsis of where his research is up to half way through. If you want to read it follow this link:

Emerging church bloggers in Australia: Prophets, priests and rulers in God’s virtual world

Now, I’ll say from the outset that I don’t find his preliminary conclusions about emerging church bloggers in Australia is entirely representative of me, I’m not the only blogger he interviewed after all, but it is interesting for me to see where I both do and don’t fit the average Australian emerging church blogger mold.

Here are a few observations:

  • Paul notes that the label “emerging” may be substituted with “postmodern” or “missional”. I agree that the terms are related, but baulk somewhat at the notion they may be substituted in a 1:1 fashion and am wary that Driscoll is the only source referenced on that score.
  • I agree that many of our blogs have a tangible Australian flavour and lean more towards missional theology than progressive theology. And agree this is more of a glocal thing (that involves global interaction) than a mere nationalistic thing.
  • I found his comments on the paradox inherent in our focus on incarnational theology in a disembodied context most intriguing. Given me something to ponder here.
  • Now that he mentions it, I do think of my blog as an “online memory” that in some ways functions as “a collective memory for a community of readers”. I started blogging, amongst other reasons, to help network local conversations and to process thoughts arising out of online community conversations.
  • I agree that I certainly seek to reduce “proper distance”. My jumping on the chance to speak to him face to face about this is a perfect example. And the boundaries between my online and offline life is blurry and mutually interactive.
  • I am not so reticent to define myself or the communities I am involved in however. Being hard core means having a hard core. I do not see it as a betrayal of the missional ethos, even if some would see it as a betrayal of the emerging ethos. But this just goes back to my first point.

2 thoughts on “Emerging church bloggers in Australia

  1. hey Matt,
    Thanks for the plug of my site and research. I really like your comments here. Definitely the use of “emerging”, “missional” etc are the hot topics of debate in our blogosphere. I’m still not (and maybe never will) clear on what the labels will mean for the movement/conversation/whatever but I think the debate is more the product than the process.
    It’d be great to see you offline soon.


  2. I agree with you the labels aren’t equivalent. In a way I think of Pentecostalism and Charismatic as a similar relationship. Pentecostal churches are separate entities, pursuing the fuller gifts of the Holy Spirit outside the context of the then established churches. Charismatic movements have much the same emphasis on the more dynamic gifts but can exist within established churches, even Roman Catholic, or in new settings.
    Emerging seems to be more of a new form of establishing different communities. Missional seems to be a strategy/approach that may find a place within present churches.
    Though, maybe I’m not quite arriving at the distinction yet.


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