Saturday, November 24, 2007
Emerging Stereotypes
The recent USA Today article about the emerging church also contained this quotation from Scot McKnight:

Writer Scot McKnight, a supporter of the movement, says emergents are seen as “a latte-drinking, backpack-lugging, Birkenstock-wearing group of 21st-century, left-wing, hippie wannabes. Put directly, they are Democrats.”

Tony Jones, the National Coordinator of Emergent Village, has responded over at his blog, pointing out that none of Scot's stereotype actually fit him, and took great offense at the accusation of being a latte drinker since he is adamant about taking his coffee black.

I'd like to likewise respond to this stereotype. While it might fit my wife more closely, only about half of it is true of me.

  • I do like backpacks, as they are extremely functional, far more so than more "professional" briefcases.
  • I only wear Birkenstocks occasionally - I'm generally not too fond of sandals.
  • You could call me left-wing, but it would depend on your definition of "left-wing". And I tend to take my political cues more from scripture than from any contemporary political ideology.
  • "Hippie-wannabe"? I've had buzzed hair since my freshman year in college, and I've never worn tie-dyed or done drugs. I guess that one isn't me.
  • Not really a Democrat either. Frankly Democrats aren't radical enough for me. I don't see them as much better than the Republicans in the end. I only vote for them as the "lesser of two evils" when I have no other choice. Whenever I have the option I greatly prefer to vote independent or third-party.
  • As for lattes... I don't know, does a mint mocha count as a latte? ;)

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posted by Mike Clawson at 9:56 PM | Permalink |


At 11/25/2007 07:47:00 AM, Anonymous MarkB

Hmmm he missed "Soul Patch" sporting! ;) Funny thing is I posted a similar rant at the stereotypes without seeing Scott's post on my blog yesterday... On why anti-emerging fundies insist on talking about "The Emergent Church"...

"if you see the words "Emergent church" as opposed to "emerging church" or "Emergent village" in a blog post then the chances are it is being posted by the likes of EmergentNo, Slice of Laodicea, Christian Research(sic) Network, etc. so unless you want to re-read the same old... the "Emergent" Church is a bunch of Liberal, Bible abandoning, Yoga meditating, Hell denying, McLaren following, Communist, anti-American, Birkenstock wearing, Soul-patch sporting heretics... you can safely ignore it... I can categorically refute this caricature as I for one have never worn Birkenstocks or had a Soul-patch ;)"


At 11/25/2007 02:29:00 PM, Blogger Julie

So even if the stereotype isn't universal... is there anything really wrong with any of those things? Does it matter that I have ethical and theological reasons for only ever wearing birkenstocks?


At 11/25/2007 02:35:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I've noticed that same thing too Mark. People friendly to the emerging church will take the time to learn the distinction between "emerging" and "Emergent". Critics just lump it all together and get the terminology wrong. You're right, it's a dead giveaway.


At 11/25/2007 04:09:00 PM, Anonymous Geoff

To what degree do Scot's comments reflect some of the non-theological reasons that the emerging church/conversation brings about. Because the people involved don't fit into their stereotypes of "good Christian people like us". So mixed in with what might be disagreement with the ideas being discussed is the confrontation of people whose lifestyle looks different from theirs and wondering "can you still be a christian if you're also a.... (insert stereotype component here).


At 11/25/2007 10:16:00 PM, Blogger Scot McKnight

You do know that I got that stereotype thing from Tony himself -- he's the one who first said that stuff to me. Then I quoted him in the 5 streams stuff and then the newspaper quotes me for it ... what a hoot!


At 11/26/2007 12:48:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

And then he gives you grief about it. That is funny! :)


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