[UPDATE Dec 6, 2005: Welcome to my controversial post - maybe the only blog post in the world with its own reunion party. Just want you to know before you read it that the context of our conversation (that i neglected to link to) was TEENAGERS of the FEMALE variety in China who were starting churches. I was arguing that they were young, and not yet women and that we should applaud them in their youth rather than speak of them as women in their 30's and 40's)]
So many questions from emails and comments. Thanks for your interest in the emerging church and your honesty in asking some of these things. I will jot down some more thoughts in relation to what has been asked in the last week.
1. Urban poor. As Justin B has said in the comments, they are the poor people in the great cities of our world. Viv Grigg changed my thinking on this topic at Fuller School of World Mission. He believes 1/4 of the world are "urban poor" and the amount of foreign workers that ever make it out to incarnational lifestyle among them is pathetically small. And yet movements of God traditionally start among the poor, often involving the elite at the same time, since both groups deal with justice - one needs it and one group has justice to give. People who start movements among the poor end up working also with the elite (Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa). A really interesting thing is how the middle class is either bypassed during the intial stages of a God-movement, or brought in much later when the action is all over or settling down.
Viv wrote the excellent book "Cry of the Urban Poor" and has been helping to start monastic movements among the poor for many years.
[back-blog. feb 25.2004 - i am adding this addition because of the missunderstanding generated by the following statement. please read the original blog entry a few days earlier to which i am responding, called Questions and The Mullet of Jesus, and the comment by Lilly, to understand my response below]
[backblog Feb 2005 - ONE YEAR LATER - this blog post is now famous . . or at least infamous. I wish it wasnt since it reflects badly on me. But if you are reading this for the first time, please read it in the context of the whole story by reading the post entitled The Girls Post: A Definitive History. Thanks. TSK]
2. Girls, girls, girls. I will call them girls and not women. No apologies. The movement in China would not be the same without teenage girls. A friend from China told me recently that a teenager started a church in China that has since become hundreds of churches involving tens of thousands of people. I will not call her a woman, since that would let a lot of western Christians with the excuse "God cant use me until i am older or more mature".
Dang, God has been using girls from the beginning. Mary was young. Esther was young. It should not surprise us.
There is a massive Sunday School movement in China that Wolfgang Simson just informed us about in last weeks Friday Fax. Massive, I tell you. Thanks to the GIRLS behind it. And the older women, of course.