Friday, July 22, 2005

A Frustration with Emergent

Here's a comment I left on Kevin Cawley's blog. Kevin wondered:

Has anyone ever criticized (E)mergent (capital E) and been received? That is, has McLaren or Tony Jones or anyone else who officially speaks for (E)mergent (capital E) ever said--
"...You know, that's a good word-- something we need to work on. I think you missed it in a few places, but that is a place where we're flawed--Thanks"

I admit that I have not read much of any of these men's work. However, it just rings kind of strange to me that in the face of critique, your response is that you were caricatured, or misunderstood, or misinterpreted.

Here's my take on Emergent responses to criticism:


In my view it seems like there is almost a shell-game going on with some Emergent proponents, such that it's impossible to offer valid criticism. If you criticize Paggit on a theological issue, the response is that he's not a theologian but a practicioner. If you criticize McLaren for an off-the-wall comment, the response is that he's merely making you think. If you offer a generalized critique, you're told there's no movement. If you make a specific critique of an individual, you're told that he doesn't represent everyone. The flip side of it, though, is that evangelicalism is caricatured as walking lock-step, such that sweeping generalizations are made whereby all of its members appear isolated, anti-intellectual, fundamentalistic, etc.

Just a few thoughts for you.