Last summer, the Emergent Village board put out a survey to see what Emergent felt itself becoming. The overwhelming result of that survey was that people wanted this network of generative friendships to continue. This continuation (and even broadening) of the friendship is taking multiple forms: fresh, new networks are forming; project specific listserves are shaping up; hyphenated groups have emerged within their respective traditions; cohorts have begun to gather regionally; and at least two new intriguing periodicals will be released this year…
At the same time, the board had begun their own conversations about how to ask for help. This convergence (and subsequent conversations) indicated that the Spirit led these two paths toward one another. And so, at the request of the board, these five offered to convene a small intentional gathering to discern what Emergent Village is becoming…
On April 24-26, a group of twenty people are gathering in Washington, D.C., to work together in re-imagining the future of Emergent Village. Participants cover a wide spectrum of long-time practitioners as well as new innovators from networks only recently jumping into leadership in the emergent conversation.
I will be flying next week to DC to join other 19 sisters and brothers to be part of the discernment meeting for the future of Emergent Village. Like many I have had a love and hate relationship with the “group”, “clan”, “organization”, “friends” – call it what you want. I’ve benefit from relationships created from the Emergent vibes. I’ve benefit from the books. I’ve enjoyed and been blessed at some of the events. I’ve complained about becoming centralized, about been white middle class (if you can point 1 or 2 “others” in a sea of whiteness and maleness, accepted it is a white and male thing). I’ve been inspired by their creativity. I’ve collaborated, supported and conspired with it as well.
When I received the invitation, I was skeptic at first. I’ve been to plenty of meetings in which people get together to dream new expressions and collective, but they never see the light of day or get manipulated by people more interested in politics and social power than in seeing something new emerge. So I asked some close friends, whom became my little discernment group to help me decide if I should go. Mind you, the people going to DC are covering their own expenses; I just had my third child and my work with MSA is by raising support, so this is even a bigger commitment from the pocket perspective. Some friends have offered to help with the cost, if you wanna help contribute something toward my travel expense, contact me, I’ll appreciate it. Back to where I was, my friends encourage me to go and share my voice and their voices as well. They asked me be hopeful but not naive. So I am going.
Here are some of the main reasons I am excited to be involved in this:
- I’m an idealist. I believe it is possible to dream and to curate spaces and vibes of horizontal Spirit lead relationships that are truly transformational and would work toward God’s Shalom in our communities.
- I’m a junkie for community process and discernment methods.
- This is one of the few times I do not feel like the token person of color in this kind of event. I’ve had the opportunity to participate of other gatherings and meetings of this kind, in which I am the only person of color and it is obvious that I was invited to fulfill a social expectation. When I looked at the list of people invited to this gathering I was glad to see brothers and sisters whom share with me the color of the earth. Now, this is a big plus.
- No “big guru names”. In my experience, no matter how flat and open the organizers want to conversation to be, once you add one or two “big people” it becomes a teach in and consultation. The attention changes completely not allowing space for true new voices and expressions.