Thoughts from C. Wess Daniels on The Schism Debate.

I have recently made the digital acquaintance of C. Wess Daniels and love what I read. He only lives over the river from me so I hope I get a chance to meet in real life soon. Check out his blog and writing at Gathering in Light. It is very good.

He left a comment on my post about the Schism but it is not easily seen by others so I wanted to share it (and not just because he agrees with me, I am sure I will share my debate/twitter argument with others soon).

He writes:

“This is why I tend to not read folks like Jones, too inflammatory. It’s all shock and awe as far as I am concerned. Wasn’t he one of the pioneers of the emerging church movement which espoused egalitarianism but remains to this day (whatever is left of it) white, straight, male centered?

And you’re right, schisming over women doesn’t take it far enough in my view. We should go all the way and return to Jesus’ table practices of welcoming everyone, and amplifying everyone’s voices.

I also appreciate the other point you’re making, there are plenty of churches that are already doing this. Jones’ call comes from, this is my assumption anyways, a dislocated position. Is he apart of any particular church or tradition? Is this a dissatisfaction with his own community or the church at large. What happens if everyone in my church is pro-women, except for one person? Or what if they’re fine with a female pastor, but there are some residual patriachical issues that arise within their family life? Should we kick them out? Should we all go somewhere else? An angry axeman can never do what a skilled, discerning surgeon is capable of.

Here’s what I think: Join a tradition, be a part of a historically extended community that is already working for justice in these issues. Be a part of the change that IS HAPPENING. Don’t be so bombastic to believe you’re the only one with the answers. Be a part of that conversation, learn from those who have been in the struggle. Realize it is far more complex and challenging when real people and communities are involved. Don’t just keep trying to start something new. Join something. Show up. Be changed in the process. And yes, fight for the equality of all people with everything we’ve got.”

While I disagree with C. Wess on his assesment of Tony and the emergent movement, I believe there is quite a bit of substance to be found and quite a bit of inclusion, I understand his sentiment. I really respond to his questions, “What happens if everyone in my church is pro-women, except for one person? Or what if they’re fine with a female pastor, but there are some residual patriachical issues that arise within their family life? Should we kick them out? Should we all go somewhere else?”

How do we discern between who stays and who goes?

Just more thoughts as I am still struggling with how to change a flawed system that I also love.

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3 Comments

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  1. Jake – thanks for building on this more.

    Did you feel I misrepresented Jones and that group? I’m happy to hear your perspective. I don’t want to be giving to building a straw man and I certainly don’t intend on bashing anybody. Though I do feel frustration around some of these as you could probably tell.

    Thanks again.

    Wess

    • Wess,
      I did not feel you misrepresented the group intentionally. I do think that there are some great women doing great things in the emergent movement but I can understand the impulse. I did not take your comment as bashing. Your frustration is valid. I am not a full blown emergent, though I do value and respond to many of the ideas.

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