Just been reading some of the Emergent chatter about “The Great Disappointment” on The Hopeful Skeptic, One Hand Clapping, Jonny Baker and elsewhere. I wonder if there’s a book in it? No, that’s probably being a bit too cynical. Look, this is the nature of tsunamis, they loose their energy as they spread out … but … they leave the world different. As Jonny said, the real work has only just begun.

9 thoughts on “The Emergent Fizzle: Disappointment Goes Viral

  1. Some of these posts remind me of conversations I’ve had with older Pagan friends, the ones who actually lived through the sixties and seventies. They talk ruefully of how they were all convinced they were helping to usher in the Age of Aquarius back then and how the entire nature of the world would be radically transformed in a matter of years. They always finish with a smile and comment on how naive they were at the time.
    Oh they still believe in all (or at least most) of the same stuff today that they did back then. But they have become more realistic in their expectations of how they’ll change the world around them, in terms of time and how far their own personal reach really is.
    It sounds to me that many within the emergent movement may just now be starting to face a similar realization concerning their naivety. I hope they manage to work through it and continue to do the good things they’ve been doing. I hope that in another twenty years, they’ll still be plugging away and, like my Pagan friends, be able to chuckle at how naive their original vision might ave been.


  2. Having been through it all before with the New Age movement I have been expecting this for some time, occasionally voicing some reality checks, occasionally being told not to be so negative, but mostly just focussing on clarifying what I’m on about here, with a view to the post-fad long haul. I liked Jonny Baker’s response the best, you’ve gotta ask what the illusions were. Here’s to realism. You must get a laugh out of this.


  3. A laugh? Not really. My mindset is more one of bemused sympathy. You know, the kind that one who has only been in a similar situation himself and remembers all too well what it feels like can really experience.


  4. Bemused but sympathic, yes that’s a better way of putting it. I remember when people were using “next reformation” language a few years ago and I was like, oh dear, that’s getting carried aware a bit. How you can say that without taking Southern Christianity into account? The talk was too western centric and colonial. I remember pushing for a more globally informed perspective, saying “the next chapter in the world mission movement” was a bit more realistic, but being largely ignored. Yet, I also remember getting carried away with New Age prophecies myself back in the early 90s so I know all too well how enthusiasm can get the better of me too. I still think it is a new chapter in world mission, that Christians need to recognize Christendom is dead. The loss of confidence in Emergent cirlces doesn’t change that. We can’t go back to the past.


  5. I empathize with Andrew’s taking a break from blogging. It can be an addictive habit and it doesn’t always bring out the best in people. 🙂


  6. I find it helpful to have blog sabbaths / electronic fasts from time to time, which help me to keep perspective and avoid burnout. Fortunately typepad allows me to pre-program post launchings so I can spread out my launchings and dissappear for a week or more without breaking the content flow. Because of this I don’t feel so pressured to deliver on demand.


  7. I’m considering renewing Ephemeral Thoughts before it expires. I don’t know if that is the right thing to do though. I honestly don’t know if I have anything to say that I can’t say via Twitter or in the comments of my favorite blogs. 🙂


  8. I suppose it depends on what you are after. If it is just networking and sharing information then facebook and twitter are probably enough these days. I like blogging though as it allows space for more in depth reflection and identity crafting. I am interested in the public face of Christianity and like to show people that there are alternative ways of being Christian. Blogging seems to be the best platform for that.


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