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December 09, 2005



well put.

Beth Wacome Keck

beautifully written ... have had the same experience (especially seeing missionaries hold back from letting 'the powers that be' know what they've REALLY seen and heard...) Baffling, really ...

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

I think this is an excellent point. I was taught a lot of the emerging ideas in missions training, though no one ever used the words emerging or postmodern.

This is where, I believe, Newbigin impacted me so much. Great thoughts!



This is, I think, one of the strongest indications the Emerging Church isn't a passing fancy. It's not about teams of Leadership consultants trying to find the next new thing, or a single community doing something amazing which others want to emulate.

Rather, it's a diffuse movement of people in all sorts of different contexts coming to much the same conclusions about the Church. That so many are intuitively finding agreement in practice and thought seems there's something going on.

In my estimation when folks around the globe start having the same intuitions and completely resonate with what is going on elsewhere (even if terminology is different), it's a fair sign the Holy Spirit is going about some sort of work.

This is a grand time to be part of the Church.


that's a great post. thanks for sharing that.


Good thoughts Ryan.
This is my experience as a western missionary among refugees. Could it be that as Doug Pagitt would put it (and I would agree with him) - that the "Augustinian backwater" that so much of conventional missions has been tagged with, could now be a leading resource in helping the church become more missional.
In my experience pragmatism alone is driving some missions who in some sense have far less to lose than mainstream church planters, to engage deeply with their communities.
More and more of us are coming out of the closet with some theory and praxis that could be viewed as radical or even heretical among the more conservative of our supporters. Yet on the intuitive level, and with the help of emerging theory, on a theological level - we have held these things to be self evident and true.


Really interesting post. I agreed with it thoroughly and finished with a smile on my face. As missionaries in Europe, we've come to realize that not everyone will understand that contextualization plays a huge part in how we go about ministry. They might understand this intellectually but then balk a bit when they hear how it plays out specifically in your particular country. It's because of this that we have found safe people that we feel free to confide everything in and we pour our hearts out to them when we get the chance.

Also, the first time I heard anything about the emerging church was in the spring of this year and I immediately felt like I'd found other people that were asking the exact same questions that we had been pondering here in Europe. I'm enjoying the rethinking and reshaping of how I see church, life, ministry, etc. Thanks for the great thoughts.

Jerry from PA

I believe as well this is the strongest indication that the emerging movement is a cutting wave as opposed to passing fancy.

The the gap shown in the dicotomy of minsitry on the "field" and ministry at home must be closed. The defensive shown but US based leaders to the appliacation of the Gospel on the "field" only shows an interest on their part to protect how things have been done and not on living the Gospel in the best possible way.


Absolutely. I am always telling my friends that the people who really 'get' what we are doing are the other (overseas) missionaries. Where you stand determines what you see.

I resonate with the stuff you are writing Ryan!


It's been nearly 2 decades since I was a missionary in central Asia, and a few years since working with international students. I never made the connection before between those experiences and my affinity for the emerging way. I'll need to reflect, but my initial reaction is "Ah, now that's making sense..."


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  • Hi, welcome to my former blog! My name is Ryan Bolger, and this is where I posted my thoughts on Jesus, culture, new forms of community, among other things. Come visit me at my new blog: http://www.ryanbolger.com. I still teach at Fuller Seminary in Southern California where I'm doing some writing as well. Feel free to bounce around the new or old website -- I hope it might stir your imagination -- feel free to stir mine as well by leaving some comments, preferably at the new site... Peace...


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