Emergence: Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle, and Peter Walker

Fr. Rohr has been talking this week about Emergence and Emergence Christianity

He says one day: … I predict, with some historical certainty, this judgmental  thinking will continue to happen in every group, in every denomination if we  see everything with a dualistic mind.   No new emerging church will emerge very far. The judgmental mind is not  looking for truth; it is looking for control and righteousness.  For some reason  when we split and refuse to receive the moment as it is, we end creating and  even reveling in those splits as our very identities.  These are the culture wars and the identity politics we suffer  from today.  They will not get us very  far spiritually, because they are largely ego-based

And the next: Whatever “Emerging Christianity” is going to be, it will have to  be much more practice-based than doctrine-based…

Pete Walker was talking about it here:  http://www.emergingchristian.com/2010/09/fr-rohr-on-emerging-christianity.html

SO I just wanted to point out  that Emergence is not just a shadow side to a dualism pairing – it is a different way of thinking about the world. It is saying that the world works a little different than we were told that it does.

Some people find “Process” thought a helpful way out of the old cosmology and meta-physics arguments that go round and round without leading anywhere.
It resonates with both ‘relational’ truths and ‘evolutionary’ thought.

For some, that comes together in Emergence thought. Here is the thing: we have to remember that it does not originate in nor is it most suited to Theological frameworks. That is where folks like you and me have to do some translating.

Phyllis Tickle talks about it here and it’s implication for the future of denominations. http://www.faithandleadership.com/multimedia/phyllis-tickle-anthill

She says Emergence Christianity is going to organize a little like an anthill.

Steven Johnson wrote a marvelous book called “Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software,” which everybody should read who’s talking about this.

“Emergence” is an unfortunate term. It came out of emergence theory in the biology lab. For centuries we had thought that a beehive and an anthill were the same thing. Both had a queen, and it worked top down. In the middle of the 19th century, scientists discovered, “Wrong; au contraire.”

Plus you just have to watch the video : she is soooo articulate and makes an amazing point about history and the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. leadfromthefringe
    Sep 04, 2010 @ 23:12:12

    My friend Pete and I have been trading notes:

    Bo! I totally agree with you that Emergence is an alternative way of viewing the world. Yes, the world works differently. However, dualism is our modus operandi, and few of us have managed to shake it yet. That’s a longer culture-shift than 1996-to-now.

    Agreed – lots of translation work to do. But what makes it so difficult is we’re learning how to ride this bike WHILE we’re supposed to be teaching how. It inevitably leads to confusion, mistakes, retractions and frustration. But we need to keep at it.

    Cool dude, good to chat with you!

    Pete – you make a really good point. We are learning while we are doing 🙂 all of us who are at it! (oh how nice it would be to think that the answer was to keep doing what we HAVE been doing – only harder, better, and more sincerely).

    Here is the ONE thing that I am going to push for: that we need to repent of the way things HAVE been. The old dualism are actually hurting us. It’s not just that they are ‘old wine skins’ or value neutral or ‘fine if not a bit antiquated’. No. They ARE the problem.

    These are not just empty thought constructs – they are SYSTEMS that come heavily impregnated with values and behaviors – both permissions and superstitions. This is why a book like The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words by Deborah Tannen is so useful for getting away from the us-them, either-or, in-out, left-right, creation-evolution, liberal-conservative (etc) splits. I would go so far as to say even the natural-supernatural, spiritual-secular, and clergy-laity splits as well.

    These are OLD ways of thinking and are not based on Emergence. That is why I am so enthused about what is coming and what is possible. But first we have to repent of the ways that we use to think 😉

    whatcha think?


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