Presbymergent has continued to gain steam, and more and more people have begun to connect with it (we’re over 200 on our Facebook group and we have 199 contributors on the website). I’ve found it’s a very odd phenomenon to watch something that I helped to start grow bigger than I had initially expected. I imagine this is something that many people deal with who help create groups or organizations, and probably what some of the Emergent Village leadership still feels as more and more people align themselves with Emergent. Overall, I’m excited to hear about people wanting to be a part of the presbymergent conversation (yes, I think we’re a conversation too). At Pittsburgh, it was really wonderful to meet people who were passionate about the church, about bringing about God’s Kingdom and about how presbymergent might contribute to those things. But every now and then, I run into someone who wants to self-identify as “presbymergent” or who finds energy in the conversation, and I catch myself thinking — “really?” People who I may not agree with theologically, people who may have very different ideas about presbymergent than I do. But – like Emergent – it’s not my job to start drawing lines in the sand about who can or can’t be a part of presbymergent – that would totally go against our ethos.
But I do want to say one thing – and this is not an “official” statement about presbymergent, just my own thoughts about its purpose (I think Troy Bronsink shared some similar thoughts in his post, “Better Late Than…“). Presbymergent is not about saving the Presbyterian Church (USA). If you come to the conversation asking “What is presbymergent going to go do save the PC(USA)?” – I’ll say that it’s simply the wrong question. There are plenty of other “renewal” organizations who are speaking of the death of the PC(USA) and how we are going to only aid in the process if we continue to seek liberal theologies and agendas.
I am not interested in “saving” the Presbyterian Church (USA). What I am interested in is the kingdom of God – I am interested in helping others find ways in which they can live out their faith, and find the ways in which they can participate in the hopes and dreams of God. I think both Emergent and the Presbyterian Church can contribute to those goals. But am I concerned about the dying PC(USA)? Do I think that presbymergent will be the change agent necessary to save the denomination? No. Is it possible that presbymergence could bring some life into the Presbyterian Church? Certainly – and I am not against that. But my goal in working with people through presbymergent is not renewal. We are not the next PFR (Presbyterians For Renewal).
As presbymergent continues to grow, I’m sure there will be more and more people who have their own interests in it and ideas about how it can work with and for the Presbyterian Church (USA). I just want to say that for me, on this day, presbymergent is not about saving the denomination.