The Future of the People of God conference was promoted as a conversation between Tom Wright and the ‘emerging church’. It was clear enough who Tom Wright was, with his silver episcopal cross swinging around his neck. But the identity of his interlocutor - this amorphous phenomenon which has been labelled ‘emerging church’ - was not so obvious, which made it, in some respects, a rather difficult and puzzling conversation.
Different people at the conference were clearly ‘emerging’ from different things, and something needs to be done to understand much better where we are coming from, how these journeys interrelate, and where they might be leading us. Whether or not we are entering a post-denominational world, the question of how we express unity in diversity is as pressing as it ever was. Emerging church ought to have the resources to address the challenge more effectively than the ‘modern’ church has done, but the need to secure our own position rather than serve others may yet defeat our best intentions.
All I want to do here is give an indication of the different captivities that we are emerging from and suggest that we should plan on spending a long time on the journey together and not worry too much yet about what the promised land might look like when we get there.