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Pam Smith

This is all such good stuff, you've inspired me to go back and re-read (or re-re-read) Clay Shirky.

'the network of Christ' works so well and is very affirming, will print it out and stick it on the wall so I can read it next time I wonder 'what exactly am I doing and what is the point?'


i was thinking the same thing. i read it and saw myself and the ministries we are supporting in so many of the different streams that my reaction was "wow, look at how ecumencical we all are - different and yet we get along' what a great picture of UNITY is there, rather than disunity.

Bob Carlton

i share your pov on this, jonny

the idea that the emerging phenomenon would somehow be a monolithic experience seems counter to the very notion of expressions rising from contexts

in modernity, faith communities seem to bend to far towards institutions — nameless, faceless brands. in networks, people are empowered. Individuals matter more — but they matter most when connected as a network. Networks of individuals transcended divisions.

thanks for the voice-over on this, jonny

Daniel Robles

haha awesome job at re-framing mate. I was in some what of a stir myself after reading his post. I didnt even react to it too well on my blog but you did a great job at addressing the concerns i had. Well put =D

with love n hope

Daniel (Legoman)


i've been thinking about this all day! [dammit, it's saturday]... i think for a network to work, you have to trust the others who are part of it, you have to want the best for the other, and you have to value the fact that they offer something very different to you... i guess that would be the criteria for me in thinking about whether the emerging church is a network, or if it's fractured.

i don't have an answer - i'm never really sure that i'm part of the emerging church, and i don't recognise myself in any of Mark's categories, so i don't feel confident to comment. i've experienced great grace from many who are in the emerging church, and also some pretty crappy moments... One question I have, from Mark's analysis is whether the fact that so many expressions of emerging church began as a negation of what they had left, mean that they / we are susceptible to responding to conflict and diversity with yet more division... i'd like to think each generation can break the patterns of the past, but i think it takes conscious and deliberate action to do so.


i'm not sure if i fit any of the categories eith cheryl! i didn't even digest that part of mark's post. it wasn't an important question for me. i was more concerned that there wasn't a narrative of schism and fracture - i don't feel part of a fractured community but a connected one however lightly or loosely. but yes generosity and trust are key and difficult postures i think.
mark buzzed me an e-mail to say that he wasn't describing it negatively - more of an observation.


This is an importannt discussion. When yeast multiplies is it fracturing? Is it schismatic? Or is that what we would/should expect in any viral movement? The difference between network and schism may be recongnizing and stewarding our common connection to Jesus and pursuit of the Mission of God. Hopefully that's part of the shared DNA that unites us across the breadth of expressions and contexts.

Stephen Rymer

"Fractured or Networked" - a thought from the world of quarrying and mining. There would be very few building or roads today if monolithic blocks of pure stone were the only material available.
Fractured stone offers so many more possibilities. Hidden gems (Diamond, gold,fossils)are released in the fracturing. Fractured rock can be networked together by cement (rigid, inflexible), lime (less rigid), tar (flexible)into many shaped, communities. And alien, discarded materials (Slag and Fly Ash) become a valuable resource, freed to achieve a new potential.
The awkward, irregular bit of grit that is me, needs a network to find purpose and meaning.

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