I’ve seen the light go out in people’s eyes when they decide it’s safer to embrace a doctrine or a policy that their gut tells them is wrong than it is to challenge those who say it’s right. I’ve watched open minds close and tender hearts harden. I’ve seen people pretend to believe things they don’t actually believe and do things they don’t actually want … Continue reading Conformity….
But there is also something else happening. A growing number of Americans (nearly a third, according to one Gallop poll) describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” Books with titles like “Christianity After Religion,” “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time,” and “The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus” are gathering a growing audience. And the Emerging Church movement, seeking to live, as … Continue reading An Emergent Witness for Friends?
1. As we often proclaim, Friends are, for the most part, non-creedal and non-hierarchical. When we are at our best we’ve avoided creeds, and when we are at our worst we’ve just been bad at them. One of the apparent features of the emerging church movement seems to be a general disinterest in formal creedal statements of belief that everyone is expected to conform to … Continue reading An Emergent Witness for Friends…..
I like to think of the Great Emergence as reported in the book by Phyllis Tickle as “Post-Religion”. It moves beyond what we call currently call religion into the next phase of focusing on the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. It moves beyond building cathedrals to building relationships and love between all of God’s people not just those in our particular version of Christian … Continue reading It Moves Beyond….
This “new” Christianity is sick of culture wars, political agendas, hypocrisy and legalistic doctrines. They prefer inclusion over restriction, dialogue over debate, practice over preaching, and love over judgment. Authentic communities are preferred over institutionalized organizations, and grassroots groups gain wisdom and knowledge from relational interaction, social media, the web, and an array of other sources—there is no monopoly controlling leadership or sources of information… … Continue reading The Times, They Are A-Changin….
Emergent congregations are especially well equipped to live creatively in the newly post-Western Christianity. They are careful not to confuse the life and message of Jesus with the “Western” elements in which it has been packaged. They try to assign equal weight to both the message and the context so that a new version of the old story can take shape. They strongly underline “living … Continue reading Living The Message….
What matters to those who look to history for important lessons is that something was lost in the fourth century that permanently changed the nature of Christianity. If we do not recover that spirit of loyalty to the ethic of the Sermon on the Mount as opposed to saluting the Nicene Creed, the decline of the church will continue. If we persist in arguing across … Continue reading The History of the Church….
Let me start this post by bringing back some words from a recent post about emergents. The emergent movement is not a new denomination threatening to take over but instead a new way to thinking. Here is how Wikipedia describes that concept: Emergents can be described as Protestant, post-Protestant, Catholic, evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal, post-liberal, conservative, post conservative, anabaptist, adventist, reformed, charismatic, neocharismatic, and post-charismatic…. Some … Continue reading Changing From Within….
I want to close out this series of posts with some unfounded complaints about the emergent movement. This list is mine and therefore might not align with the leaders of this movement. Emergents don’t have a foundation, they allow their members to believe anything — While it is true that emergents don’t, as most common denominations do, try to prove anyone wrong about their current beliefs … Continue reading Common Complaints About Emergents…..
This post will be about the commitments of the emergent church as outlined in the book The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier by Tony Jones. Appendix A: in the book carries the title above. This list seems in a nutshell to fairly characterize the emergent movement as it now stands in the U.S. Here is a list of commitments from that text: 1. … Continue reading Emergent Village Values & Practices….
Lets continue on with some more quotes from the book by Tony Jones entitled The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier “I’m humble,” an emergent might tell you, “because I don’t know what I’m wrong about today. I’ll speak with confidence, and I’ll speak with passion, but I won’t speak with certainty.” Being humble/uncertain in any area of theology is very intimidating to some within … Continue reading Humble Emergents vs. Absolutists….
Anyone who has read much of this blog knows how I feel about the slippery slope. I believe that the very concept has damaged us theologically, politically and personally beyond anything good that could come out of it. The very concept that everything we believe about a subject becomes worthless if we come to believe that any small part of it is questionable. Here is … Continue reading Skiing The Slippery Slope
Continuing with my study of theology as discussed in the book by Tony Jones entitled The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, here is the quote for this post: theology is temporary. Since our conceptions of God are shaped locally and in conversation, we must hold them humbly. We must carry our theologies with an open hand, as it were. To assume that our convictions … Continue reading Theology is Temporary…
From Tony Jones in his book The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier: Good theology begets beautiful Christianity. And so it follows that Bad theology begets ugly Christianity. That may sound supremely arrogant, but hear me out. A lot of us, emergents included, are disheartened by the complexion of Christianity in America. We’re embarrassed by the Jesus junk we see in stores, by the … Continue reading Emergent Church… Good Theology … Bad Theology
I am going to spend the next few posts giving you some more info about the emergent church movement now taking place around the world. The source for these posts is a book by Tony Jones entitled The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. Tony is one of the original leaders of this movement so his words have an insight into the beginning thoughts about just … Continue reading The Emergent Church….. They Love Everyone….
I want to spend this post telling you a little more about today’s emergent churches. No, this is not just a different denomination coming onto the scene but instead is a paradigm shift taking place in the church itself and many times within existing church structures, even at the individual congregational level. Let’s look as some more words about this from Harvey Cox in his … Continue reading Not to Confuse Jesus With the Packaging….
Anyone who has read much of this blog knows that I take the creeds of the Christian church to have done more harm than good. Here are some words about that by Harvey Cox in his book The Future of Faith: Creeds were always something theologians invented, often to stake out spheres of authority. The vast body of lay Christians knew little about them and … Continue reading Those Non-Western Christians…
Since this is the first post here in 2013 I pray we all make a new years resolution to not embarrass God!! We followers of Jesus seem to think that our self-proclamation that we are Christians doesn’t affect anyone but ourselves. But in reality making that claim and then not living up the actions necessary to show the world that you follow Jesus embarrasses God. … Continue reading Don’t Embarrass God….
The primary reason there are 39,000+ Christian denominations is that each are trying to maintain “purity” of beliefs. Here is how that logic usually plays out: ” If we allow differences of opinions among us then we will soon reach a slippery slope where we will slide into heresy. For that reason we must be on the constant watch to exclude anyone among us who … Continue reading Institutional Purity…..
The Great Schism is basically when the Christian church split in the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. This happened around 1054CE. What had once been a single church slowly separated into two distinct identities. Most of the differences that caused the split were almost nit-picking about what to believe and had little or nothing to do with how to “be” a Christian. This … Continue reading The Second Great Rummage Sale — The Great Schism
Anyone who has visited this blog in the recent past know that I am pinning great hope on the “emergent” church being able to rescue the current Christian establishments from their focus on believing things about Jesus as opposed to of “being” a Christian through our actions. I was very disheartened when I discovered the statistic that almost no one can tell the difference between … Continue reading A Giant Rummage Sale…
Today Christian families are often also military families but at the beginnings of our religion that was definitely not the case. Up until about the time Constantine made Christianity a State religion (about 350 CE) to be a Christian meant you refused military service. Of course Augustine in the fifth century disavowed this belief and put forth the first rationalization of a “just war”. After … Continue reading On Ward Christian Soldier????
Toward the end of his life, while in a Nazi prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was a well known Lutheran theologian, wrote some tantalizing letters to his friend Eberhad Bethage where he wrestles with what he calls “religionless Christianity.”The letters in question were written in 1944 not long before he was executed by the Nazi’s. What did Bohhoeffer mean by Religionless Christianity? Here are some of the words … Continue reading Religionless Christianity???
In 1997 Richard Carlson wrote a very popular book entitled Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…. and it’s all small stuff. In that book he listed one hundred things to make our lives more peaceful. Some of those topics that I took to heart included: Let Others Be “Right” Most of the Time Learn to Live in the Present Moment Surrender to the Fact that Life Isn’t … Continue reading And Its All Small Stuff…..
From A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith by Brian D. McLaren: We’re following the best Christian tradition of going back to Jesus and the Scriptures, so our quest for a new kind of Christianity is, in fact, a most conservative quest. In our return to our roots, however, we’re not writing off all the great sages, scholars, and saints … Continue reading A New/Old Kind of Christianity
Of course all Christians recognize the phrase the kingdom of God from the Lord’s prayer. But the interpretation of that phrase seems to vary considerably depending on what version of Christianity you follow. Here is what Martin Luther said about it in his small catechism: Your Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven: What does this mean? The kingdom of God certainly comes … Continue reading The Kingdom of God…..
I am going to use a quote from one of my favorite authors and that is Philip Gulley from his book The Evolution of Faith: How God is Creating a Better Christianity: Some Christians have thus concluded that we are our own worst enemies, that our best option for a viable future lies in our determination to embrace a rigid faith in order to stave … Continue reading Own Worst Enemies…
We in the U.S. know that one of the primary foundations of our democracy is freedom of speech. That is being able to say something different from our leaders and not suffer serious consequences. In my opinion this is what has allowed our country to remain so strong over the centuries. Many times criticisms lead to change and though we might not realize it at … Continue reading The Church Is Not a Democracy….
Before I get into the “details” I wanted to throw out another unique way of looking at church history. Here is the way author Phyllis Tickle describes church history in her book entitled The Great Emergence : The only way to understand what is currently happening to us as twenty-first-century Christians in North America is first to understand that about every five hundred years the … Continue reading Rummage Sales
I realize that due to trying to keep the last post brief I did not fully explain the three ages (Age of Faith, Age of Belief, Age of the Spirit) very well so I am taking another shot at it here. As a quote to explain it further I am using one from Diane Butler Bass in her book entitled Christianity After Religion. I realize … Continue reading History of the Church — More Details …