1000 Wells


Archive for February, 2007

Written February 06th, 2007 with 2 Comments »

Yep. I’m in seminary! This is rich. One would think folk at seminary would be busy working on the big metaphysical questions that have preoccupied humanity’s greatest thinkers from the beginning of time. The seminary outsider might even drive past the campus and suppose we are a group of uber-pious individuals who are tearing apart and reconstructing deep theological constructs. Well, maybe. Sometimes. More likely than not, however, we are busy doing the sort of real-life stuff that is described in this campus-wide email that was just sent out by the seminary’s awesome administrative assistant: “Professor [name removed]’s office guardian, Kermit the Frog, has disappeared. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Kermit? (No, he didn’t run off with Miss Piggy. She’s over at F&M, majoring in Drama, and we already checked with her). Seriously, [name removed]’s office door looks very lonely without Kermit and she’d like him back. Thank you! [Seminary Administrative Assistant’s Name Removed].” That’s awesome.

Written February 06th, 2007 with No Comments »

I’m currently reading Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches (editor: Robert Webber) and I am revisiting Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (Rob Bell). Late, late last evening, I read through Driscoll and Burke’s positions (and the accompanying responses) in Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches. Driscoll was solid, reformed, as usual; as was Burke. Burke was a bit more flexible, it seems. I say “it seems” because I think Driscoll is just as flexible but dresses the Christian walk & practice in much more intentionality, theologically & doctrinally speaking. I think they both are saying virtually the same things, but take different approaches. Driscoll’s is a Biblicist’s approach; Burke’s an Incarnational. I bet that is why the chapters are named as much! I’ll have much more to say when I’m actually done reading the book. So far it’s a great read. Too, I have to dive into Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis. ‘Till then.

Velvet Elvis Emerging Churches

Written February 05th, 2007 with No Comments »

So, now, every time I hear a Tim McGraw song, I’m thinking of Taylor Swift. Heck, when I hear a Faith Hill song, I think of Tim McGraw, because he is her husband, which leads me once again to Taylor Swift. Somebody is a marketing genius.

Written February 05th, 2007 with 6 Comments »

I am so glad this is my last semester in seminary. I’m very, very sick of spending $500.00 plus dollars on text books I know I would not have purchased otherwise. I can not express in words how utterly sick I really am of this foolish practice. I have a ton of really great and extremely relevant books I want to - and could be - purchasing, but I’ll have to buy these ones … one last time. I’ll be very happy to have my M.Div in hand in a few short months, and the freedom to buy the books I actually want to read. Rant over. Thank you. No, I don’t feel better.

Written February 04th, 2007 with No Comments »

Tony Dungy just won the Super Bowl. I just listened to his interview during the Lombardi Trophy presentation. Tony continued to tell the world that the Christian walk is more important than sports. I wish I had transcripts, but he said something to the effect that the NFL World Championship title is great, but more important is his daily walk with the Lord. What an awesome message it is being proclaimed from what is without doubt the world’s biggest stage. Update: Yes! I found the quote. Dungy says, “I’m proud to represent African-American coaches, to be the first to win this. It means a lot to our country. But Lovie Smith and I not only are the first two African-American coaches (in the Super Bowl), but are Christians showing you can do it the right way.” See also: Super Bowl coaches Dungy, Smith Known for Christian Testimony.

Written February 04th, 2007 with No Comments »

My pastor preached an incredibly powerful sermon this morning about Christianity and culture. It was a powerful, powerful message. I listened to it twice too, because I played a part in the 9:00 and 10:30 AM services. It was awesome. A portion of the sermon was dedicated to exhortation re: the many, many “gospels” vying for hearts and minds in this postmodern culture of ours. There is without doubt no small number of heretical alternatives to orthodox Christian doctrine, faith and practice. Most of these alternatives sometimes look & sound very much like the real thing, but diverge in subtle but spiritually detrimental ways. My pastor had a picture of Elvis Presley displaying on the two big screens in our sanctuary and quoted one of his less celebrated lyrics to make the point. The lyric was from a song titled “Devil in Disguise”. It goes a little something like this: “You look like an angel. Walk like an angel. Talk like an angel. But I got wise. You’re the devil in disguise.” I think that is a seriously relevant lyric for the 21st century, Postmodern Christian sojourner. I know it resonated with me.

Written February 03rd, 2007 with 4 Comments »

I really dig gawking at and collecting images of Jesus. I don’t think I have ever stumbled upon a Jesus image collection quite as good as the one hosted by mattstone.blogs (nevermind the site’s overarching dedication to a syncretistic sort of pluralism). I especially enjoy the Anglo Jesus image wing. If you are aware of any other collections of Jesus images, drop me a note! Visual interpretations are so interesting, no?

Written February 03rd, 2007 with 4 Comments »

I just read a great article at Resurgence regarding the sharp differences between Emerging and Emergent. It is titled Essential Concerns Regarding the Emerging Church. (Tip: Jonathan Herron)

There seems to be a sharp and growing theological gulf developing between the Emerging Church Movement (Emerging Conversation) and one of its most visible, vocal and distinct streams - i.e., Emergent, aka Emergent Village. Emerging and Emergent are two different conversations.

The Emerging Church movement (Emerging with a “g”) is a very broad, trans-denominational, methodological movement dedicated to discovering, developing and actually living new forms of ‘doing church’ in our postmodern or emerging culture. More recently the conversation has turned toward deep & practical theological articulation (this is a good & necessary turn!). Emerging churches proclaim an unchanged Gospel from deep within an intentionally engaged culture and society. It is a historic and orthodox Gospel proclamation. It is Missional. It is Incarnational ministry. I love this conversation & the movement resulting. I have been listening, discussing and talking about it for years. I put my ear to the wall of this conversation during my undergraduate B.A./Theology studies back in 1999-2000; right after I picked up and literarily devoured Len Sweet’s Soul Tsunami while simultaneously registering for an account on a very early incarnation of THEOOZE. It’s my generation, after all! Where else would I go?

The Emergent Movement (Emergent with a “t”) is, on the other hand, an increasingly liberal religious movement trekking toward unorthodox possibility and potential. Some would say Emergent is already unorthodox, theologically speaking. Others would brand it as an outright heresy. These critics may be correct, if the often muddy theological positions and statements of Emergent’s leaders (Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt) are any indication. These positions and statements could be much less than outright heresy, as the trouble appears to sometimes be a problem rooted in bad theology and/or a lack of clear theological articulation. This would then result in a simple but understandably horrifying charge of misguided or inarticulate teaching, rather than heresy. I’m not sure which is worse, to be honest. I do know this: when Unitarian Universalists (who accept and advance everything and anything under the sun save a single/focused theological dedication) express interest in you and what you represent, you can bet the farm you are in some kind of trouble, theologically and methodologically speaking. You should be nervous and very open to hear & accept critical charge.

I do believe the Emerging Conversation (Emerging with a “g”) is laden with incalculable value. I also believe there is an unbelievable amount of God-honoring and God-glorifying potential in the resultant Emerging Church Movement. The value is evident in ministry as practiced by the Acts29 Network (Driscoll has distanced himself from Emergent, but there are questions regarding the number of Emergent leaning churches in the network) and many, many others who hold tight to the Truth of Christ’s Gospel & Missional/Incarnation ministry.

Too, I believe there is huge potential for ecclesiastic disaster in the direction embraced by the Emergent stream. More importantly than church damage, I think it can do serious and irreparable harm to the spiritual health and eternal destinations of individuals. Why do I say this? Well, because I went “there”. I’ve been “there”. I began in the same place - for the same reasons - as the Emerging Movement (Emerging with a “g”). I then stepped upon and followed the same path Emergent now trods (Emergent with a “t”). I ended up a complete liberal, as is the Emergent stream too. I dove headlong into a complete religious relativity, theological liberalism and pluralism. I, for a season, foolishly discarded the truths of Personal God, Inspiration, Virgin Birth, Trinity, Resurrection, Atonement, and the Deity and Sufficiency of Christ. In short, I lived religious liberalism. I’m here to tell you that it is no life to live! I was seriously, seriously misguided, wrong, and full of a humanistic sort of hubris that blinded me to my own lack of a theological, ecclesiastic and practical foundation for my ministry and life. I only awoke to my precarious spiritual situation when I was suddenly thrust into a prolonged setting full of sick, dead and dying people and members of their suffering, grief-stricken families. I quickly discovered I had nothing - zero - to honestly say to them. I realized that I could not minister to them authentically from a completely liberal religious position. Why on earth was I there!?! My intellectually fancy and hopelessly self-deluded liberal constructs (which ultimately proved to be neither intellectual, nor fancy) made no serious difference - at all. I could not help them. I have since repented for my foolishness after trying in vain to live reality according to junk standards thinly set by a seriously disjointed liberal theology, life and faith. A historic and orthodox Christian faith, tradition and practice form the center upon which my feet are now firmly and immutably planted. Jesus Christ is sufficient! Emergent (Emergent with a “t”) seems to be unfortunately trekking away from this center, if it is not already gone.

The Emerging Church is a valuable lesson in Incarnational and Missional Gospel ministry. It will become far, far less if it ever exchanges the true Gospel of Jesus Christ for theological and philosophical relativity and pluralism. The growing distance between Emerging and Emergent seems to indicate a strong dedication to Gospel Truth by more than a few individuals and groups within the Emerging movement. There is always a danger of actually becoming swept away by the detrimental aspects of the culture into which you dive deep and deeply minister; I think this is the strong current by which Emergent is or soon will be swiftly swept away, as are all liberal religious efforts which stray far from Gospel. There is so much talent there … would they not just re-discover the sufficiency of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I for one pray they do …

Written February 03rd, 2007 with 2 Comments »

Can a consumer church be transformed into a missional church? Yes, it is possible! It will take a heap of work, and more than a little help from the Holy Spirit, but it can be accomplished. A well written article published at Leadership Journal highlights the specifics relevant to a transformation of this sort. I especially took note of what the writer (Chad Hall) referred to as the “Two Distractions” that can thwart missional transformation. Hall writes: “But if being missional is the essence of being the church, why isn’t every church missional? Because many churches have turned attention to matters that distract and deter from the mission. Two main distractions often block a congregation’s missional expression.” What are these two distractions? Hall continues, “The first is self-preservation. The institution is the means to do the mission. The church serves the mission, not vice versa … The other primary distraction is church growth. When the emphasis is on bringing the world to the church, the church’s mission of going to the world can get lost.” Ponder it. See article: Missional Possible: Steps to Transform a Consumer Church into a Missional Church.

Written February 02nd, 2007 with No Comments »

I am fascinated by trends, traffic and statistics. I think things like social networking and blogging trends are beyond interesting, especially as they concern this growing religious blogosphere of ours. It’s all fun.

I just fed a few of my favorite religious blogs into Alexa not only to see how things are going for each of them, but also to gauge how well my own blog has recovered from the complete delete I inflicted upon it a few months ago.

Alexa Traffic Stats

Ben, the writer behind Open Switch, is doing absolutely amazing! He has really taken to this medium and has succeeded in unimaginable ways. Kudos, brother!

I also entered Andrew’s TallSkinnyKiwi, who I respect and read daily. He’s doing quite well too.

I love Joe’s Evangelical Outpost too, obviously. Man, Joe’s blog has a traffic spike going on there the size of Everest! Get Religion’s spike is close, and very, very respectable in its own right, but still falls well short of the Outpost’s. Get Religion is another great religion blog, and a daily read o’ mine.

Overall, I think my own poor and abused weblog has recovered from the righteous cleansing I dealt it a few months back.

These are some of the best religion blogs in the sphere, so put ‘em in your feed readers! Have fun everyone! Keep up the great work!