So all over the arguments seem to be raging along: What should we do with the term “emerging”? Andrew Jones asked whether to Dump it or Use it a bit longer, and voters said Dump it. Dan Kimball is holding onto an interpretation from 5-7 years ago when he wrote The Emerging Church, and dislikes what has happened to it over the past few years. These two writers seem to opt for the use of the word “missional” rather. Similarly South African theologian, Nelus Niemandt, seems to be merging the words emerging and missional in two recent articles in Verbum et Ecclesia where he explains emerging churches. And more links will be found by the curious surfer.

But switching between emerging and missional might not be that easy. Leading missional thinking Graig can Gelder clearly destinguises between missional and emerging, and sorry Dan (if ever you should read this), but he is using your book as reference for what emerging is, and he doesn’t think that it’s the same as missional. Not that I deny any of you the right to switch terms, but remember that others are also using it.

My honest opinion is that the Emergent Village guys are largely responsible for this. They took the movement to what, in my opinion, was the logical conclusion, but this really upsets people. When the big debates about emerging/emergent started again a while ago, I started getting doubts about how long this can keep together. And you know the sad thing: It’s the same story over again! We might as well admit it, it’s about conservatives and liberals, about those orthodox and those who are heretics. You remember all those wars between evangelicals and ecumenicals (I’m reading the earlier work of Bosch currently, in which this is still running wild), well now some are saying that emerging is about evangelism, and others that they won’t use the word! I said it a few times over the last few weeks; I wondered how long emerging was going to be able to keep everyone part of the conversation… I so hoped that it will be for a long time.

When myself and Jacques was talking a while ago, we reflected on how many of us have moved through Emergent Africa, connected, but left Emergent Africa (which later – was it because of my recommendation Roger? – became Emerging Africa). Yeah, it’s like some kind of post-emergentafrica thing:-) But, when we started to get a few bloggers who “get it” (using Tony Jones’ term from The New Christians) a few weeks ago, emerging was the word which connected us. Everyone kind of knew what was meant when we said that emerging folks are getting together, although everyone also know how wide this is. Reading Tom Sine’s The New Conspirators I realised that we have people from everyone of the 4 streams among the 5-10 people who will be getting together in a few days time, but still emerging seems to be the word that bind us together.

If emerging continue, what will it be? According to Kimball it started out with being about evangelism, and the theological conversations was only there to serve this cause. When South Africa got onto the train, Roger called Emergent Africa “a safe place to talk about theology“. For us, the theological conversation was never something secondary. It never was about evangelism, important as that might be, and when it was, it was about rethinking evangelism. If emerging continue, this would be the place where we talk about the principals behind designing ships, not the place to fine-tune engines, or to rearrange the deck-chairs (you can work with the metaphors yourself). Does this make it a white-male-philosophical conversation? I guess I can only say that I truly hope not!

So, what’s next? Well, I guess a couple more heresy complaints (church history has had enough of those, and maybe one day we will learn that heretics sometimes have a way of standing the test of time, but I guess we can’t tell beforehand which will do that). I guess some will just quitely decide to continue the conversation, not because it’s popular (cause those with the heretic label around them usually ain’t popular, except when it come as prosperity gospel), not because the emerging people have cool hair, but because we help but rethink our theology, we cannot help but ask questions about theology.

I’m gonna finish now, and I feel a bit sad. For two years now emerging has given me a place to find others with whom I can identify, it would surely be a sad day when that ends, but I guess terminology is expendable. But tomorrow I’ll probably tag another post with emerging.


Year is coming to an end, so I thought I’d post something on blogs I’ve been following through the year. First, I have to admit, I don’t always get to reading blogs, so I like is if what I’ve read was really reallyworth it. Obviously, that doesn’t always happen, since it is blogging, and blogging is… well, blogging. And sometimes you just write, just to write, and others read it and think “what the hell was that about?”. And you just shrug and go on, and blog again, and think that “you know what, maybe nobody actually read this, but what the hell, I’m just writing anyway!“.

So, here is some of the blogs, the people who write them, and some of the posts I remember really having a profound influence. Now, this means that I’ve remembered that specific post since it was written.

I’ll start out with Glenn Hager. I don’t get round to Glenn’s blog that much anymore, but we started out blogging about the same time, more than a year ago, about the same stuff. I got onto his blog through wordpress tags, and we followed and commented on each others blogs for a while. He wrote this one post once, which I really struggled to find, on a woman named Kimberley which he met, just practical story on what we do with the Kimberleys in our society, with the poor, those with no hope.

Tony Jones was the direct influence that got me blogging, and although I knew about emerging church and stuff, he was the one that pushed me in a direction which I liked. His post on orthodoxy got me thinking, along with the article, which I found again (thank you google). He first blogged here, but recently moved to a new blog.

Then there is my good friend Tiaan. Constantly pointing out my English errors when  Maryke couldn’t get to the post first (that’s a full time job), and faithfully commenting just to comment. For the moment he is the only other student from the theological Faculty at TUKS actively blogging.

My dad‘s also a blogger, he is a missionary in Swaziland, and does a lot of work on AIDS. But one post that really stood out was this one. Telling the story of how the people from one of the little congregations in Swaziland was caring for a man, building him a home, although he was a drunkard, because they wanted to show him that God loves him. Wow!

I sometimes take part in the conversation going on at emergentafrica, although I’m a bit worried about the direction it is sometimes taking, I think Roger is doing some great stuff. Personally I think Cori wrote the best post which I found there this year, really challenging us to get away from the philosophical stuff for a while and go to what really matters. She also has her own blog, but only blogs sporadically.

There is a few people in this life who has really had some profound influences on my life. I’m not going to name them here, but many of the names you wouldn’t have ever heard, they are just people I’ve met somewhere, friends. One of them, Nadine, is also blogging. She is 18, and has been a great mentor to me on all things teenager.

There was a number of other blogs I’ve read through the year, but let’s stop here. This is the blogs, and especially the posts, which I immediately think of if I think of this year. Next year we will be starting a new blog, so if your an Afrikaans reader, look out for it. A couple of theological students from TUKS will be joining hands in a group blog teo@up, but currently you won’t find anything there.