I was interviewed by Publishers Weekly for an article, "Emergent and Beyond: Books for the broader conversation of faith," which has just been published in print and online. A few snippets:
Other forms of alternative Christianity are often mistaken for emerging/emergent, but are not. One cause for confusion, says Al Hsu, associate editor at InterVarsity Press, is that many books that are not theologically emergent still resonate with emergent readers, such as IVP's The Circle of Seasons (Nov.), a title about the liturgical year from Presbyterian writer Kimberlee Conway Ireton.Tony Jones blogged about the article here and responded to the article's claim that he/Emergent promote an "unorthodox" interpretation of Scripture. As the commenters point out (and article writer Marcia Ford admits), the article probably would have been more precise (and less theologically loaded) by using the word "unconventional." Brian McLaren also comments on the article here.
And then there's the mistaken assumption that to be young and edgy is to be emergent. “A traditionalist in a younger body is not emergent,” Hsu says, pointing to Shane Claiborne as an author who is frequently referred to as emergent but is not. Claiborne, who with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove coauthored Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers (IVP, Oct.), lives in an intentional community in inner-city Philadelphia.
What everyone seems to agree on is that no matter what you call it, the category is changing. “Emerging church books are evolving to be not just topic driven but perspective driven,” Hsu says. “Before, we saw a lot of books on the nature of church or theology in general. Now, we're seeing books on a particular topic from a certain perspective.” One example for IVP is Julie Clawson's Everyday Justice, which releases next year (see sidebar).
“Emergent is coming to a time when it is ripe for critique, and not just knee-jerk reactions” from both critics and defenders of the conversation, IVP's Hsu points out.