Archive for April, 2008

Dreams, They Complicate My Life

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Creativity and Spirituality: A Possible Future

HT: Brian McLaren

Read ‘The New Conspirators’!

The New Conspirators cover

Boy oh boy. I recently got The New Conspirators from IVP’s new Likewise imprint–this is like their New Friars, but even more comprehensive. It’s a who’s-who of todays New Monastic, 24/7 prayer, and other communal movements.

Some reviews/excerpts:

Emergent Village

Open Source Theology is doing a multi-part interview/review.
Part Zero
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

I’m looking forward to reading this, hopefully with other dreamers, practitioners, and rabble-rousers. Three cheers for Tom and Christine Sine, and their continuing work!

Related: Who’s going to the PAPA Festival this summer?

Maybe ‘Emergent’ Is Not So Complicated

Sez early Emergent Village inspiration Brad Cecil:

“I hear comments like: Defining emergent is like “nailing Jell-O to the wall” and “postmodernism means a hundred different things”, I disagree – it isn’t all that hard to describe if you are listening and reading. Here are the simple basic ideas of what fueled the emergent conversation and friendships:
1. Post modern refers to the period after modernity. It appears to “us” that a significant epistemological shift is occurring – the likes of which we haven’t seen in 400 years.
2. Language is limited
3. Human concepts are limited
4. There is no place of irreducible certainty (foundation)
5. Considering the above it would be very difficult to convey absolute meaning using language and human concepts
6. Christian theology has become enslaved to the 1st order assumptions of modernity and is far more Cartesian than Christian and has become ashamed of faith
7. A Reformation of recognition and repentance is needed
8. New theological thought is needed to free Christian theology from the enslavement of modernity and enlightenment assumptions and conversation and friendships would be more productive than developing imperatives.
9. This is just the beginning of the transition and a great deal of work and theological thought lay ahead for those who desire to join the conversation.”

Read more in his review of Why We’re Not Emergent. (By the way, I don’t see this as backing down in my vow to Wayne, as I’m just quoting! 🙂 )

HT: Steve Knight in the EV Weblog

Heresy Hunters: I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

You know you’re doing something worthwhile when all the right people are denouncing you.

A couple of weeks ago Herescope denounced Jay Gary, Diana Butler-Bass, Brian McLaren and myself, who will be hanging out at the World Future Society‘s annual conference in D.C. We’ll be talking about “The Future of the Religious Right” and of global Christian faith in general, but the Heroscope team sees our work as promoting “new theologies and practices,” and “disparaging…of biblical prophecy.” Somehow, they suspect that all this winds up “creating an evolutionary convergence” where we all sing Kumbaya and venerate Gaia and Easter bunnies. As if that’s a bad thing!

Moving along: I’ve already told you the kind of flack The Shack has been getting recently with the heresy-hunter websites. Well, as Steve Knight reports at Emergent Village, now our ‘ol pal Mark Driscoll is in on the action too (you can watch his eight-minute YouTube rant on the E.V. link). Apparently he’s mighty uncomfortable with the sacred feminine, anthropomorphic depictions of God, and the idea of the Trinity (and thus, human relatedness) as mutually submissive rather than chain-of-command hierarchical. Sigh. Co-publisher Wayne Jacobsen blogs his response to the question “Is The Shack Heresy?”

Of course Frank Viola has had his share of critique concerning Pagan Christianity–not all from shrill heresy hunters, but certainly enough of it. Well, Tim Dale over at Karis Productions produced this pretty funny spoof response:

I have two observations about all the shelling and attack from this past month: Most of the people above are friends of mine, and for the most part, we can all laugh this off (in the cases of Frank and Team Shack, they can laugh all the way to the bank, as these books have really struck a chord with most readers and have become best-sellers)–even if we don’t know whether to laugh or cry sometimes. Others, though, are not so fortunate–heresy-hunters can cost people their livelihoods.

I don’t have the privilege of knowing Peter Enns, but his story has been all over the blogosphere recently. As Christianity Today reports, Enns has been suspended from his teaching post at Westminster Theological Seminary for writing his 2005 book Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, which takes a hard look at the messy, complex, and human aspects of Scripture from an evangelically-informed text criticism point of view. The Board of Trustees said:

“That for the good of the Seminary (Faculty Manual II.4.C.4) Professor Peter Enns be suspended at the close of this school year, that is May 23, 2008 (Constitution Article III, Section 15), and that the Institutional Personnel Committee (IPC) recommend the appropriate process for the Board to consider whether Professor Enns should be terminated from his employment at the Seminary. Further that the IPC present their recommendations to the Board at its meeting in May 2008.”

I understand that confessionally Christian schools are not as enamored with “freedom of thought at any cost” like their liberal arts counterparts; I get that evangelical higher learning institutions are trying to maintain a precarious balance between intellectual integrity and nurturing creedal faith commitments. All the same, Enns is not Bishop Spong or something–he’s asking questions about Holy Writ that the rest of the Church (and world at large) have been asking since the 19th century. Like it or not, those who read and love the Bible are going to begin pondering its more troubling aspects with greater honesty and ideological flexibility.

Heresy-hunting is far from the world’s worst problem. (Next time, I’m going to blog about sex trafficking. Please try to refrain from throwing yourself off a building.) Nonetheless, it is a downer. As I mused last year, sometimes I wonder why I even bother participating in this kind of ‘dialogue’–it all seems so insular. Sometimes I just want to throw my blog into the ocean (so to speak) and becoming a wandering hermit…with my wife and child, of course. But for now, I suppose I’ll leave everyone with an easily-rebuttable maxim: If you don’t have something kind to blog, don’t blog anything at all.

Related:

Mike Todd’s The Shack Film casting call

John MacArthur launches Nothing Must Change tour

Heretic Hunter video

Brad Cummings and Wayne J have something constructive to say about all of this in their Doctrine Police podcast at The God Journey

Stepping into a Violent Wind: Writing This Pentecost

violentwind3.gifI’m pleased to be one of the judges in a literary competition this Pentecost season.

“We want your words. Jesus Manifesto is inviting you to submit an original article exploring the theme of Pentecost. In particular we want you to explore the theme of Pentecost in light of the world’s struggles. In the so-called “first” world, Christendom is fading into memory. In the so-called “third” world, new religious realities are emerging as Pentecostalism, Catholicism, and Islam compete for souls. Meanwhile, our world is growing increasingly diverse as immigration patterns and globalization intensify both the interconnectedness and the fractured-ness of our world. Ours is a world where urban poor in US cities carry cell phones while urban poor in other cities live amidst disease and intractability.

How can Pentecost provoke our imagination for the 21st Century? In 1000 words or less, we want you to stoke the embers of our imagination into flame.

PRIZES: We’re awarding one $50 prize for each of our categories (doxis, praxis, culture, aesthetics, and satire) with a $150 grand prize for the overall best general submission. That’s $400 total in prizes.”

For more, check it out.

Fun 80s Birthday Party for Jasmin

…a picture says a thousand words, yes?


Check Out This Free Book Club

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  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

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