Emergent in Singapore?!

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technically this was not a “Emergent Conference” , it was promoted as “Postmodern Youth Ministry Conference” organized by the Board of Youth Ministry, Chinese Annual Conference. We met gathered at the Bukit Panjang Methodist Church which had an interesting neighbor the Salvation Army .. cool building next door that looks like a ship!

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It was not a “big” conference … a substantial group turned up. I was delightfully surprised to see a small group of us Malaysians that were present. I overheard quite a variety of churches represented. And it was good to connect with some people whom I’ve heard from a distance … strange place to meet but I’m grateful we did connect.

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Rev. Poh is the risk taker, forward looking, humble man who initiated this event and made it possible … I REALLY appreciate his efforts that many of us could be blessed by a “space” and “time” and “environement” where we could wrestle with questions perhaps sparked by our involvement with youth and young adults but actually has wider concerns of theology, philosophy and culture that needs the hard work of asking “questions” (something we here in Malaysia or perhaps even Singapore are less prone to do because of busyness or bombardment by quick-fix-knee-jerk-reactionary answers)

From a Youth Ministry Conference point of view this is one of the best (and definately meaty and sensitive) ones I’ve ever been to … Thanks for the good work “the Rev.” (we affectionaly call him*grin*!)

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This is the first time I’m meeting Marko and he’s also very instrumental in bringing the next two guys whom I’m surprised that we could meet so soon. he’s indeed as how the Sharps (whom visited Malaysia recently) described him to me – a very engaging person. I loved the question game he played after lunch which was not only fun but also helped us to know him and the speakers better.

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So, perhaps it wasn’t an “Emergent Conference” technically, but for me it was relationally 🙂 because finally I could meet my conversation partner who’s the named recently as the EmergentUSA coordinator Tony Jones (sitting on the left) whom I read his blog and I think some articles before I read any books written by him (Fresh with an interview with Next Wave Ezine).

This is the more than 5th time I’m meeting someone I’ve just known from a distance from blogs and some emails. And it’s again amazing how we just “connected” immediately and just engaged in conversation so easily. He’s indeed smart and intelligient as many have said he is. There’s loads of energy and deeply thought through insights flowing out from him. One very memorable impression I found was his closing “benediction”-filled prayer at the end of today’s session demonstrated a very pastoral side of him not so frequently mentioned so far. Tony, if you managed to read this before you leave Singapore. You are right I managed to “blog” about today tonight!

The other person commonly associated with the conversation Dan Kimball (standing on the right) one whom I read his book before I read his blog – who’s really got not just stylish hair but what really matters is he’s got this gentleness about him that invites the people to “journey” and “process” his thoughts and reflections with him.

Both of them are so different … but it was nice to see how individually and together they created a “space” for us to “think through” our own context and have a fresh appreciation of the Gospel. I really appreciated the genuine desire for dialogue, conversations, mutual learning demonstrated in the main sessions and personal interactions. For people like me who’ve eavesdropped for all these years and also participated in some way in the “emergent” & “emerging church” conversation. It was great to do this “Live” with the guys!

As for Marko and Poh – I feel we need to appreciate people like them who often work behind the scenes to make the connections and make events like these possible. If this is how partnership can look like … there’s great hope for the future .. together …

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