Saturday, February 28, 2009

A snippet of a Barth Quote with a thought....

"Our challenge, as preachers, is not to master God’s word but rather to develop the skills to listen to God without despising God for speaking to us." ~ Conversations with Barth on Preaching by William H. Willimon p. 165

Interesting thought as so many see that they can "conquer" and "master" God's word. It then seems to reduce God's word into a tool and make it subject to our human will than to allow it to change us by the prompting and moving of the Holy Spirit. I sometimes am amazed when I find my theology hold me back from growing. Some seem to think this is the same thing, that knowledge = growth, yet sometimes it is the things we "think" we know that keep us from learning what we need to know to grow...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life Guards and Pastors...

I was just thinking about some of the Online Discernment Minstries out there today... and wonder if they realize they are like this Life Guard to the church.

Any other thoughts?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Luther on Baptism without water...

“... Besides, the Word is the principal part of baptism. If in an emergency there’s no water at hand, it doesn’t matter whether water or beer is used.” ~ Martin Luther

Oh, and if it isn't Guinness it is not an authentic baptism.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

The emerging church is dead, long live the emerging church!

The emerging church is dead, long live the emerging church!

I keep coming across articles like this one that seem to state that the emerging church is a dying movement. To me, if it is a movement or was ever a movement then great… let it die. Yet, for many of us we never saw it as a movement in the sense “movement” is often used… It is in a sense like a Tsunami as is alluded to by authors like Lenard Sweet, yet is the emerging church a wave to ride until the next one comes? In our faith are we nothing but surfers that ride the waves that come? To me that sound too much like what is warned about in Ephesians 4: 14:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

To me it has never been a movement, as a movement does imply a passing fad or thing that comes and goes. That is why I prefer the emerging conversation as it has its roots in Genesis and runs through until Revelations. It is the conversation that starts when we come to life in Christ and guides and leads us as we learn and grow. It lifts us when we fall and scolds us when we need discipline. Mostly it loves us unconditionally with only the agenda to make us into the image of Jesus Christ. It is the loving words of the Living God that now indwells the believer.

In a sense maybe there are two things going on. If there is the “conversation” and the “church” and the church is the movement, again let it die. Yet to me I do not see how the eternal conversation started in God between the Father and Son can ever end.

One thing I notice is that there seems to be yet another branch in development. Scot McKnight has plans to start something called the Origins Project. This seems to be more of a traditional stream that is developing in the “conversation”. This is not meaning there is a spit in the overall “emerging” rather, that some are not as comfortable with some other streams, or maybe not yet ready to tread in certain areas yet. Don’t get me wrong I am all for discussion on things such as homosexuality and other controversial topics, yet to me it seems there is a difference between my view of one’s identity in Christ versus acceptance of lifestyles. (Sometime I will unpack this thought more).

Yet to me to say that the emerging church is dying or dead misses that in some places I believe it is just now taking off and though morphing a bit, it is not dying yet… let alone dead.

People will talk of scandals that happen or as usually cast false accusations against us, but in the end it is not against us it is against the idea of the exchange of ideas without attacking and demeaning the other. At the core this is the issue with those who are against the emerging ideals and if that is the best that they can do, we will be doing well for a long time.

Presence of the Lord

Saturday, February 07, 2009

More thoughts on the emerging church.

I just read an article which the Emergent Village Twitter feed via Global Voices. Emergent Village raised the idea that there is an Emergent Islam. Now, before someone jumps to conclusions (and you know who you are LOL!) this does not mean the Tony Jones has set up a new camp in Morocco and changed to the Islamic faith. No, the idea that many miss is that other faiths are emerging as the Christian faith is. Now this is a side of emerging that is probably the most controversial and may be considered by some the most dangerous. It is the idea of questioning or "deconstructing" one's faith. Yet, many miss this is not just a "emerging Christian" phenomenon. In fact it is happening in many other faiths such as Judaism and Islam.

These religions are also looking at their belief systems and some in them are even challenging the systems and sometimes even the authorities. I point of interest to me is that all of these religions are based in the Biblical Patriarchs. In one way I see this as just a sign of the times. We are on a major time of "shaking" which I see is the prophetic "shaking" spoken in Luke 21:25-27

25. "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Now don't get me wrong I do not mean this like the Left Behind series... though I believe in the Resurrection with the bodily return of Jesus to bring the regeneration of all things, I do not believe in the Rapture theory that we will be whisked away and not face tribulation. I also am a partial preterist though I see some of the prophecies as "near/far" meaning that though they have been fulfilled in one sense the often are fulfilled in a fuller sense later. (Some other time I will go into that deeper). Yet saying all that I point to this verse in that we now live in a time were people are living in fear and signs are all over that great changes are about to happen. I think that even that we in the USA have just voted a new president over his promise or "Change" should be an indication... though I do not see that this "Change" is coming as expected.

Yet, I do see that there is a shaking that has come where people of Islam, Judaism and Christianity are looking for something greater. I point of interest is that there is a rise in Messianic Muslims who are looking for the return of Jesus to set things right. Now debate whether this is the True Messiah could be very interesting, the point is that Jesus seems to be more and more a focal point in this time. The "heavenly bodies" to me could be the powers that run this worlds system being of a spiritual nature. These powers are being shaken in their authority and challenged on many levels. Not all call Christian is of true faith. There is much that is man-made that needs to be shaken as that is not of Christ will fall away.

It is an interesting and yet terrifying time. For some it is exciting as we see this unfolding of God's hand doing His works, yet it is also a time that could be terrifying for some that do not have the security of knowing the True God. The end times will come with judgment. For the faithful this judgment will be a time of the Blessed Hope yet for those without Jesus this will be a time of fear and condemnation. We need to be missional minded to reach those we consider as "others" for Jesus. This means to look for what God is doing in people which often we might not expect God is doing anything in. Also, this is a time where prayer is of the most importance, and that we seek God for direction and a heart to see His work in all around us so we can bring reconciliation to them.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The emerging church

I have tried to write about what the emerging church is for about 5 years now. In the past I have done a few different posts on this:

Of course there is many more than these but these are the most recent attempts to explain what the emerging church is to me.

Now when you ask someone who is in the emerging church (EC) (Though I prefer emerging conversation I will be using the more common term) one will get a variety of different answers. Some see it as exploring the Body of Christ as a community. Critics of course see this as being too ecumenical as the EC is more open to different traditions in the Christian faith than they are. Yet, this is not the same as watering down the theology of the Christian faith to “get along”, rather in my experience it seems most of those involved have a deep grasp of their theology and still are open to discuss with open hands the differences and commonality that bonds us as believers.

Recently I attended Trail Blazers Ministries in Bozeman MT and there you will find that we all have different backgrounds. Some are from the Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, AoG, Church of Christ and myself being from the Vineyard. I am sure there are others so if I left you out I apologize. In this divers background we discuss openly our differences which is at times a challenge…

One challenge is when we do not agree. It is easy to just pull up our own theological security blanket and hide under it and not listen and try to understand where the other is coming from. I may not agree Baptism is necessary for salvation or with the Preterits view in some of its conclusions, yet to listen I can gain insight to their view and better understand why or how someone come to their conclusions.

The other challenge it that sometimes the other’s view has strong points that I have not fully considered. In that I often must return to the drawing board of my own theology and take another look at my own view to see if they hold up as strong as I believe they do. Sometimes I am amazed that I need to change a view and sometimes I am amazed I find my view as stronger.

Disagreement is not a sin. Hating someone you disagree with is a sin. (1 John 4:20-21) Yet also a discussion is needed so that the Truth will come out. (You can’t read Acts without noticing this.) The challenge also in to love the other we disagree with. I see this in practice at Trail Blazers Ministries.

EC is not about a single person’s view on homosexuality or whether the bible is inerrant versus authoritative. It is the community of believers exchanging ideas, thoughts, their weaknesses, their strengths, and mostly their love for one another despite all of these things.

We must remember no one but Jesus has sole and complete knowledge of all Truth is. As a believer we have an advantage that we know The Truth personified in Jesus.

Now for some the EC is about being missional, which in itself has many different definitions. For example there are a few different definitions as this article states: If in the general sense meaning that we see that we are part of the bigger view of God as opposed to a “self centered” identity as far as a church I would say yes we are missional. Of course I think it almost impossible for any church not to have some self centeredness. This attempt at not allowing the mission of the Church as a whole to be about us is one of the core things I see the EC as doing.

The other definitions I would say that do not fit is that we are trying to be a seeker friendly or purpose driven model redressed as missional. It is not that those models are wrong it is just that the EC have chosen to grow the church the hard way; one person at a time without gimmicks. I don’t think we are just out to grow our church and have done outreaches were we did not even mention our church as to make it seem we had an agenda other than love or serving someone else.

Another point that wraps much of this up is the idea of approaching others without an agenda. This is admittedly tough yet how many times have we approached someone or engaged in a conversation with a whole other conversation in our own minds. We begin to “prospect” the other as someone we might invite to church or if they are “saved” or not… yet with all this dialog in our own minds we often miss that we are to love the other person whether they are saved or not. If one can forget the other voices which for the most part are not “God’s Voice” I believe one can start to hear what God might desire for that person. In that the conversation can center on Love for the other as God has more love for others than we could ever muster.

So once again, I write in a feeble attempt to explain the EC yet feel that much is left out. The only way to truly understand it is to become part of it and engage in the teaching of Jesus as he stated, “"`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt 22:37-40)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Someone hacked one of Ingrid's sites....

Apparently someone has hacked Ingrid’s site. Though we may have fun and push the limits at times with that fun on the Online Discernmentalist Mafia we do not believe in hacking in other’s sites. I am asking that whoever may have done so to never do so again and to return her site to how it was, if possible.

Again, this is serious and I am truly saddened that anyone would do this let alone place my name as if I was part of it. Hacking is wrong, illegal and unethical.

We are not amused and see this a truly crossing the line.

Unfortunately, if this behavior continues, I will close the Online Discernmentalist Mafia site down.

I have already been falsely accused about hacking someone else's site so really this does more harm to me than helps.

iggy aka I. Todyaso

How critics view the emerging church vs. reality

(Here's the reply the teacher received the following day)

Dear Mrs. Jones,I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room,and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole.
It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Mrs. Smith

Two thoughts...

1. Check your kids homework.
2. Often the critics of the emerging church see things how they view their world and has nothing to do with reality.