I listened to this podcast by Diana Butler Bass yesterday, "Mainline Churches engage the Emerging Conversation", while trying to work, which means it'll need a relisten; however, what did filter through was very interesting. My only critique is that every once in awhile condescending language escapes from her.
Emerging church has been happening in the UK for over a decade, and if you live in SA area St. David's is beginning to experiment with the concept.
For myself, perhaps I'm a bit a of low church traditionalist (anglo-catholic) who believes in the precepts of emerging church as the way for mainline churches to engage the post-modern world. Emerging church is the radical hospitality way of meeting people where they are at. Even the emergent leaders themselves see emerging/emergent in slightly different lights, which I think is good. It's flexible.
One of my emergent thorns is this belief or statements that pastors over 40 don't get it. As a near 40 something I take offense. Youth doesn't automatically make you clever or somehow more "hip/cool/sick"...plus many of the "known" emergent leaders are no longer spring chickens themselves. So, yeah comments that smack of ageism irritate me.
I think as mainline churches continue to struggle with declining numbers it is my hope that new possibilities of being church emerge.