Wednesday, June 30, 2004

levi takes took the

big step

will sampson reports on the christian booksellers association's yearly confab

an interesing overview

the MacArthur / Cooper Smackdown

With sincerest apologies to Steve Knight because he takes issue with John MacArthur's use of war metaphors.

an online labyrinth

jonny baker and friends had lost after some company went south, but they've gotten it back now. worth checking out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

toward a praxis of theological disagreement

rob mcalpine passes on some helpful advice to remember when we find ourselves in disagreement with another.

as we've mentioned here before and elsewhere, a key to resolving conflict is to get inside the head of the other person. this does not mean that we can't simultaneously hold deep convictions. it does mean that we learn to entertain the humble hypothesis that our opposite is correct or that at least we can learn something from them.

goodbye mattie

"I've known kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers. But the most extraordinary person I have ever known in my life is Mattie Stepanek."

Former President Jimmy Carter at 13-year-old poet and peace advocate Mattie Stepanek's funeral.

NPR also ran a piece remembering mattie and here's Mattie's personal website.

bill may blog

If you haven't heard, Bill Gates is reportedly about to take up blogging.

what do you mean "you have to ask"?

theyblinked complains about Fast Company's linking agreement.

jesus outside the box

jotb complains about bumper stickers of christian fish who eat evolutionary fish.

Monday, June 28, 2004

theology divorced from philosophy

"During each and every one of the past 25 centuries, thinkers have tried to solve the same problems that Christians are trying to solve today in their seminaries, churches and ministries. And they solved them by working within a rich tradition of the history of theological thought. Today's theologians and ministers, by contrast, are sadly unequipped with the vibrant history of theological thought."

read the rest of ken archer's comments.


i've got a few gmail invites left, if you want one, email me at

sshields at faithmaps dot org.

ok, i'm xmled now

As you can see just to your right i've now added an xml feed to emergesque through blogger's atom feed being converted to xml (gratis) by the kind folks at feedburner. If in past comments I haven't abundantly outed myself, here's a newsflash: i'm no ubergeek and before I recently started blogging again, I really had no idea what xml, rss, or atom was.

But today, I surfed over to's advanced search page to search for a popular and free rss/xml/atom reader and found Pluck For the last hour or so I've been going through my blogroll and finding all those little xml's and rss's on my favorite blogsites that not that long ago utterly mystified me.

With Pluck (now imagine me holding up the product, using my announcers voice with my best Lyle Waggoner smile), I now don't have to surf into someone's site to see if they've posted anything new and in my small, sad world, that's exciting! When I tried to explain this to Bethany, as she stood behind me and I expatiated at length while not averting my eyes from the monitor, she reached over my head and started to scrawl g e e k on my chest.

And now, of course, with culpable hauteur, I sniff indignantly at all those sites that don't offer feeds and thusly inconvenience my busy little life.

Toward an Emergent Church Values Set IV: A Recovered Trinitarian Ethos

Paul Soupiset posts his fourth value set in his continuing series






Saturday, June 26, 2004

a thousand little pieces

Senator Patrick J Leahy of Vermont has wondered if Halliburton receiving a no-bid contract in Iraq had anything to do with the fact that Vice President Dick Cheney was their CEO before he worked for Bush.

On Tuesday 22 June, Cheney, who is also President of the Senate, was in the chamber for a photo op and ran into Leahy. According to the Washington Post, Cheney and Leahy had some words about this controversy which ended when Cheney dropped the f-bomb (free registration required). (The Washington Post, incidentally, decided to actually print the expletive).

In today's Washington Post, Ann Gerhart has a nice piece on the history of outside of the lines communications in the Senate. In that article, Gerhart mentions Senate Rule #19. Subsection 2 reads:

No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

It's so sad that the Vice President of our country (and I voted for Bush and Cheney) and the President of the Senate would use such un-statesmanlike language in the chamber concerning Senate business. Such language ends all rational discussion and inhibits the Senate from being able to function as a deliberative body. In truth, the Senate often is a showcase of rhetorical posturing rather than an example of genuine argument and persuasion, but such language is a further slide into organizational dysfunction.

What, in my opinion, is worse is that rather than distancing himself from what surely was a spontaneous eruption, on Friday Cheney actually defended his language.

While such language may not be heard as often in ecclesial contexts (!), the church does not always do that much of a better job at deliberation.

Genuine respect and discussion of theological disagreement is all too rare. So many Christian leaders fail in their efforts to balance the tripartite nonnegotiables of genuine Christian disagreement: conviction, charity, and humility.

For over three years, the faithmaps online community has been a space where the free expression of viewpoints is allowed yet where we also work very hard to maintain a consistent atmosphere of respect.

Every new subscriber is sent a note where this is stressed and I discuss how the maintenance of this atmosphere is moderated (though - in truth - the 'mappers do a commendable job at moderating themselves).

**conflict and respect**

"Our discussions here are sometimes quite spirited, but collegial. We occasionally disagree or explore a topic from various viewpoints but generally we do so with mutual respect. We believe much learning occurs through such interchanges.

But I'll step in if - and this is very important - I perceive that anyone is
dealing with someone else disrespectfully. We have a great community here and it would be sad to see it disintegrate into potshot land or a place of mere rhetorical positioning and grandstanding.


When other differences of opinion come up, our discussions should drive to either

agreement - humble people of integrity are
susceptible to being enlightened by others!,

synthesis - in my experience, successful resolution often ends here,

or a *civil* agreement to disagree.

and I encourage new subscribers who are interested in digging a bit further on the topic of handling conflict in discussion to read an article I wrote for Next-Wave called "Dealing with Conflict" a few years ago. (I've also blogged a bit about developing a praxis of theological disagreement).

While we may hope that the Senate lives up to its own vision of respectful deliberation and encourage it to do so, surely Christ's church has everything it needs to excel at the art and practice of theological disagreement. I believe agreement in community is often if not always something that comes at the end of a dynamic process. Self-centered and proud disagreement leads to a church in a thousand little pieces. Disagreement between people of conviction who are humble and loving leads to knowledge and wisdom. Most significantly, of course, it leads to a living community who increasingly excel at loving God and others.

Friday, June 25, 2004

emergent books

jason clark writes:

"Here is my up to date book list from my doctoral program on the emerging church."

Also see Earl Creps' lengthy Emerging Church Resource List.

Toward an Emergent Church Values Set

Paul Soupiset posts third value set




Thursday, June 24, 2004

An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility

"For three years, the National Association of Evangelicals has been quietly putting together a major document on civic engagement - or, in the vernacular, politics. The 12-page draft document represents the depth and breadth of evangelical thinking on the issue, and few evangelicals will find their views unrepresented. In large part, that's because the co-chairs for Evangelicals for Social Action's Ron Sider and the Institute on Religion and Democracy's Dianne Knippers generally represent the two ends of the spectrum of evangelicals' social concerns" (emphasis mine).

Earlier this week, Ted Olsen blogged on the Los Angeles Times scoring a copy of this draft and links to some other media that cover the document.

The NAE have made the document publicly available for all (PDF).

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon Declares Himself the Messiah at the Capital

Before I worked for USA TODAY, I worked for The Washington Times, owned by Moon's followers.

As a shining symbol of democracy, the United States capital is not ordinarily a place where coronations occur. So news that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the eccentric and exceedingly wealthy Korean-born businessman, donned a crown in a Senate office building and declared himself the Messiah while members of Congress watched is causing a bit of a stir.

See Sheryl Gay Stolberg's article (free registration required) for the rest of today's New York Times article.

Thanks to Ted Olsen for the link.

as a former lego aficianado...

...i love these pics of lego church.

thanks to sivin and youth specialties.

it's worth seeing all the photos. and be sure to check out the builder's faq.

USA TODAY covers Relevant Magazine

We ran a story on Relevant Magazine in our Life Section today. The article also provides something of a snapshot of the church emergent. Dan Kimball is interviewed as well in this Cathy Lynn Grossman piece about Cameron Strang's year-old publication.


Relevant Magazine is now also offering free trial issues.

improving gmail

I typically use my yahoo acct for cking personal emails when @ work or when traveling without my laptop. Accordingly I was disappointed when I found out that gmail doesn't allow you to check other domains. And so

i wrote google:

"wish I could set up gmail to check email on my other domains!
this is my #1 use of web-based email when at work or travelling."

google wrote back:

"Hello Stephen,

Thank you for your suggestion -- we are forwarding it to the appropriate
team. We certainly appreciate hearing from Gmail users and encourage you
to continue to let us know how we can improve the Gmail experience.

You might be interested to hear that we are working on many upcoming
features, including the following:

- Automatic forwarding of your email to another account
- Plain HTML version of Gmail
- Import/export Contacts

We hope you enjoy Google's approach to email.


The Gmail Team"

First of all, though I've moderated an extremely busy yahoogroup for over three years, I don't think I've ever gotten an email response from yahoo for anything about which I've emailed them. So that I got any kind of response from gmail was impressive.

Secondly, I think "Automatic forwarding of your email to another account"

means I'll be able to check my other personal POP3 email accounts with gmail but it sort of sounds like they're saying I can send gmail mail to my other accounts. Time will tell. For now, I still rely on yahoo and check my gmail from time to time to see if it's better.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

toward an emergent church values set

Paul Soupiset posts the third installment in his series.




billy graham

Levi Fuson, Todd Hunter and I met yesterday and were discussing the folklore that people die in threes. I shared with them that a few days ago I was on the Acela to New York for a meeting and in the club car saw a few moments of a biography of Billy Graham on the tv, the type of thing you see after someone dies. Remembering that Reagan had just passed on and that Ray Charles recently left us, I got kinda nervous. Thanksfully, Graham was still with us. Turns out he was released from the hospital on 7 June.

I like Billy Graham. And for lots of reasons including that my beautiful wife became a Christian at a Billy Graham thing and, you know, it makes her a better mom. :)

todd hunter in christianity today

todd's move to alpha gets a brief mention in ct today.


i genuinely thought i had come up with the faithmap meme, which i've been teaching for a number of years. now, len hjalmarson points out a cs lewis quote that confirms that nothing, indeed, is new under the sun! (Though, in my last gasp at claiming any vestige of originality, perhaps my formulation is a bit different). i haven't yet found permalinks on len's site so go here and find his monday 21 june 2004 post.

mainline devotion

Like Adam Cleaveland, my background is also as an evangelical (though my years with Brian and Cedar Ridge certainly widened my perspective). Adam reflects on the devotion of new mainline friends.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

the open space


dallas has inspired me. i want to get back to some basics. i plan to read thru the new testamant and note every passage that references one of these three concepts.

if anyone else might be so inclined, it would be helpful to compare notes. i have no idea how long it will take me to finish - may be a while.

why is it then when i write that, i immediately feel that i'm speaking medieval latin in the emerging church community? is it just me? reading the bible doesn't have to be a sign of knee-jerk fundamentalism. i realize that many readers would agree with this but are you like me to feel that sometimes you can't even say "the old words" or simply quote scripture 'cause it seems so uncool and of no worth? and surely it can be done in a way that's uncool; i'm not denying that.

one thing I do intend to do to keep this study from being, frankly, just a modern enterprise (i.e. uncool) - is to read in what my dear late friend jon gold used to call "the open space" (dr. gold, a professional philosopher, died just under a year ago; he was one of the first 'mappers and helped us to formulate "transpropositionality", a term actually intimately connected with the concept of "open space").

one of the most stimulating passages of jon gold's writing where he talks about "the open space" is his comments on a Thomas Torrance passage in Reality and Evangelical Theology: A Fresh and Challenging Approach to Christian Revelation. (in finding this link, i'm sad to find that this thought-provoking book is out of print though used copies are still availabe through

jon wrote,

"He describes what I call the open space where beyond all our conceptuality and propositionalism, we may meet the Living God in newness in every encounter and be open to Him as He opens us to receive Him in all kinds of ways, in His quiet and loving and powerful presence, and also in receiving from Him, His modifications of our conceptuality
and propositions, including our present understanding of Scripture, to bring us more into correspondence with Himself. The open, where naked but in the trust of the Lord Jesus who is our advocate and friend before the Father who chose us in our advocate and friend, we are brought on His time table, more and more in line with His being, in the ways that He wants to accomplish in us and with us and through us!"

all of jon's wide-ranging comments on Torrance's book can be found here. jon also explanded on these comments here and, briefly, here.

even before he joined forever, i had found jon's posts so helpful that i indexed them (see especially jon's comments on barth, epistemology, existential foundations, foundationalism, fundamentalism, heidegger, maritain, propositional knowledge, propositionalism, scripture, torrance, transpropositionality, and wittgenstein) and throughout our personal and 'mapper correspondendences i kept a running bibliography of books which he recommended and mentioned.

i'll share some thoughts here on "saved", "repent", and "kingdom" when i'm done and/or as i'm going thru all the nt material. again, if you'd like to do the same, it might lead to some interesting conversation here or in the faithmaps discussion group.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

toward an emergent church values set

paul soupiset is picking up the emerging church definition/characteristics meme that began earlier this year. Monday 14 June he posted an introduction and today he blogged about holistic unity.

dallas willard interview

len hjalmarson let us know that all three parts of dallas' interview with Relevant are now posted.

Part I

Part II

Part III

why i won't be using gmail as much as I thought (at least for now)

i love the archive and labeling functions of gmail. but i don't intend to give up and stop using my and email addresses. gmail was to replace my yahoo addr, which I use to check all my personal email addresses when i'm away from home without my laptop. but, apparently, google won't do that 'cause , according to motley fool, they can't search your other email addresses! now, i'm genuinely hoping this will change so haven't totally give up hope. i did send a note to google asking for this feature.

Friday, June 18, 2004

conferences, conferences!

come help john o'keefe plan a conference too! (you'll need to join jok's postmodern theology discussion group to speak but not to listen.)

help plan the next emergent convention

by participating in their new blog. Great idea!

Here was my $.02

bibliographies happen

jason clark was recently in the States and was able to get together with Dwight Friesen, Joe Myers , Chris Jehley, and Bill Wallenbeck. A few books were discussed.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

community, corporations, church, and emerging church

jason clark refers us to some of mike mcnichols' comments precipitated by a July 2004 Fast Company article entitled "We, Incorporated". The article treats a new book by Douglas Smith called On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About an Age of Me.

Paraphrasing the article, McNichols notes,

" corporations have become the primary arena for defining purpose in the lives of many people, and that too many corporations define that purpose--and their ethics--through the primary "fundamentalism" of shareholder value. "

This is true for many corporations, but Porras and Collins pointed out in their wonderful book Built to Last that the finest corporations in the world don't make profit a primary focus but financially support themselves as a serendipity to their mission.

Irrespective of this quibble, Smith is surely correct that this is true in many companies. And still - apart from that - McNichols tellingly observes,

"This has gotten me to think a little more about church trends. In the "emerging" church environment there is often a call to decentralize, resist organization and loosely connect with others in highly intimate, relational environments. It seems to be non-organization, yet very "Me incorporated", in my view."

I think this is a real danger.

We can so vigorously break out of the box of modern structures that we end up merely broken apart. We can easily get to the point where we excel at contemplating mysteries and criticizing others but fall far short at accomplishing anything truly kingdom intentional. Surely there is a happy medium - a way forward toward intentionally missional communities that avoids the scylla of wooden, proceduralized institutionalization devoid of dynamism and the charybdis of a Western individualistic self-absorption that, in the final analysis, only nets us an impact on our individual selves!

responses to the da vinci code

ted olsen does an around the room of published responses to the da vinci code. i'd probably read either bock's or witherington's first. David Neff drills into four of them with a bit more detail.

i'm gmailed!

thanks to rudy carrasco and sivin kitt who have become my friends forever because they invited me to gmail!


i'm at lunch and was going thru my blogroll when i finally decided just to skip everyone who uses typepad cause they load so slow and i don't have a lot of time to blog. Is anyone else noticing this?

(not to worry, typepad friends, i will be going back when i have more time!)

dallas speaks

happydaydeadfish (who's name - aka holly rankin zaher - i've always loved back when she joined the faithmaps community) and sivin both point us to the latest dallas willard interview.

anne lamott's church

adam was able to visit anne lamott's church this past sunday and has a nice picture collage and gives a report on his blog.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

the official rev todd hunter press release

with links added by emergesque

Contact: John B. Donovan

Alpha USA Names Todd Hunter National Director
Former Vineyard Head to Direct Expanded Strategy of Access to Pastors

Alpha USA, which provides an introductory course in Christianity used in 7,000 churches nationwide, has named Todd Hunter national director, to join forces with Dr. Alistair Hanna, who moves to chairman. Rev. Hunter, who will help expand Alpha’s church, prison, and college ministries, had first gained international attention as the successor to Vineyard founder John Wimber.

Dr. Alistair Hanna who moves to the position of chairman, said, Todd has the contacts, respect, and knowledge of the national church scene that will help propel us forward. The number of churches using Alpha has jumped 160% in three years, and our prayer is to go from 7,000 to 20,000 churches within a comparable period.

Rev. Hunter enters the Alpha picture as its strategy unfolds of establishing offices throughout America. Alpha, by drawing on his national church-planting experience, anticipates an era of helping church leaders to enhance their effectiveness. His most important role will be in mobilizing Alpha’s local offices for maximum impact.

He left the presidency of Vineyard USA in 2001 to join Allelon Ministries International as a director, helping it become a comprehensive resource for emerging church leaders.

Accepting this appointment, Rev. Hunter said, To my knowledge, Alpha is the most holistic approach to evangelization available to the local churches. While exploring sin, the cross, and resurrection, it also introduces seekers to life in the Kingdom and the Spirit -- in a way that leads naturally to discipleship to Jesus and love for neighbor. The Alpha course, being communal, relational, and full of dialog, is a great tool for reaching postmodern and post-Christian people.

Started in London, Alpha has spread rapidly into 148 countries and 45 languages. Its open-discussion-and-good-fellowship format during a 10-week course has been experienced in denominations ranging from mainline Protestant to Roman Catholic to evangelical.

Theologian Dallas Willard, commented, Todd Hunter is a uniquely qualified frontline leader for the kingdom of Christ in the world we now live in and must live in tomorrow. He has the solid substance of mainline creedal Christianity and the character and power of one who moves in the Holy Spirit.

Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, said, I’ve known Todd Hunter for over a decade. I can only imagine how many seekers will wind up in the kingdom under his leadership of Alpha.

Author Richard Foster, founder of Renovare, said, I am thrilled at the appointment of Mr. Todd Hunter as the national director of Alpha USA. Todd’s deep Christian commitment, vast experience among the emerging churches, and visionary application of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to post-modern culture will serve him well in this new post. Alpha’s highly successful missional work will be extended all the more under his able leadership.

Author Brian McLaren, founder of Emergent Village, commented: Todd Hunter is one of the finest Christian leaders I’ve met – sincere in faith, sensitive to the changing culture, honest, approachable, intellectually vigorous, and sensitive as a human being. His appointment is good news for the church at large in the U.S. and for our changing culture.

Author Leonard Sweet, Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, said, This is great news for the church. He’s one of the most creative leaders in the church today and one that can build on Alpha’s success and take it to higher and deeper dimensions of service. He’s a next-level thinker.

Alpha USA is a New York-based organization that provides an introduction to Christianity through 7,000 U.S. churches of almost all denominations. It is the U.S. affiliate of Alpha International, which operates in 148 countries in 45 languages, including courses in prisons, colleges, and schools. Over 1.5 million have taken the course in the U.S. and six million worldwide.

thanks to the bristol vineyard blog for the text

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

whither pentecostal scholarship

Arlene M. SÁnchez Walsh wonders at the apparent paucity of pentecostal academic tomes. She does mention Gordon Fee but, strangely, doesn't mention Wayne Grudem, writer of a major recent Systematic Theology. I'm also not at all sure that a reticence for the academic can be entirely laid at the feet of the charismatic evangelicals. Surely until fairly recently that impulse was fairly widely found within evangelical circles and no doubt yet still exists in places. Consider Mark Noll's famous comment that the scandal of the evangelical mind is that their isn't one.

I was particularly struck by one comment Walsh cites:

"One notable dissenter was Vanguard University's Frank Macchia, director of the Graduate Program in Religion. Macchia told me he believes that Pentecostal scholarship is beginning to find a niche in evangelical academic publishing, citing Zondervan as one receptive press. He suggested that evangelicals are increasingly interested in distinctively Pentecostal understandings of the Holy Spirit's role in salvation: 'A fully Trinitarian theology that recognizes the unique economy of the Spirit has become very attractive for many evangelicals in the current theological and ecumenical climate.'"

I could not help but wonder how the emerging church might be a part of this building ethos. For me, I see happy synergies between a greater embrace of the Spirit in all His glory and a rejection of mere evangelical propositionalism. I have long believed that the charismatic/pentecostal and emerging church threads (and the former is much wider and older than the latter) have something in common.

When she writes,

"It sounds simplistic to say that it boils down to rationalistic-minded evangelicals trying to tie ethereal, Spirit-minded Pentecostals to the ground of historic Reformed theology, Calvinist or otherwise..."

I wonder if she's aware of the apparently growing movement of Reformed Charismatic Christians such as those in the Sovereign Grace Movement, with which the aforementioned Grudem has been associated. (Though that isn't itself evidence of acceptance of charismatic scholars in the academy).

Yet surely there are created dichotomies.

Nevertheless, I think it very well may be possible that any resulting divisions may soon collide with results that will eventually delight Dr. Walsh. Perhaps it's already begun in and out of buildings with ivory towers!

the dechurched

thanks to sivin (who heard it from the prodigal kiwi bloggers)for pointing out "Restoring a Damaged Faith", a helpful essay by Mary Tuomi Hammond. one of my best friends has just recently gotten to the place where she can parse Christ out of anti-Christianity (as we've sloppily constructed it).

yahoo responds to gmail

yahoo now lets you keep up to 100MB of email and you can send message and attachments up to 10MB in size. I'll still sign up for gmail as soon as someone invites me or as soon as I can figure out what I can swap but I don't plan to buy an address on ebay!

The Associated Press ran an article on the email war.

Monday, June 14, 2004

bono, the f-bomb, alcohol, aids, & jesus

"Until today, I did not know about this interesting story about how a little letter to CCM magazine stirred an international controversy. The basic story is that CCM profiled Bono's recent effort to fight AIDS in Africa by lending some songs to World Vision. The magazine received a letter to the editor about this from Christopher Stone. Rich Copley (a Lexington Herald-Leader columnist) read this letter and published a response in the newspaper where he explains his problem...."

tim bednar wonders about priorities and bono....

is there such a thing as online community?

"But I am suggesting that for a great number of people the Web, and especially the blogosphere, represents a place to share thoughts and ideas for which they have no other outlet. That as many people become excited about the emerging church and the idea of truly understanding what it means to live out the whole story of God today, their only outlet has been their blog. I believe that the large growth in faith-based blogs is due to this phenomenon."

will sampson says yes.

RENOVARÉ Spiritual Formation Study Bible

Just learned about this:

"The RENOVARÉ Spiritual Formation Study Bible will be released in Spring 2005. Focusing on the work of Scripture for formation in Christlikeness, it will include the efforts of:

• General Editors - Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Lynda Graybeal, Tom Oden, and Gayle Beebe

• Old Testament Editor - Walter Brueggemann
• New Testament Editor - Eugene Peterson
• Character Sketches - Brenda Quinn
• Over 60 other contributors, with introductions and notes on books from Genesis to Revelation"

On the Renovare site, you can subscribe to get updates on this project.

Elaine Pagels and Ben Witherington III on Paul

Earlier I had linked to an article that Witherington wrote on Pagels and the Da Vinci Code in Christianity Today. Just found an extended email exchange between Witherington and Pagels on Paul on BeliefNet.

Christianity Today will now update more often

Christianity Today's weblog will continue to be updated @ noon Central Time, but new articles will be added to the site at midnight Central daily.

USA TODAY may now have some competition

Christianity Today lets us know about USA TODAY for Christians. It's called Christian Times Today.

rex miller might have to quit his job...

if he spends much time doing a millennium matrix analysis on this. thanks to jordon for the link.

it's so awesome to be persecuted

"jesus outside the box", a new blogger, wonders about pastors who enjoy getting ejected by a bunch of old guys.

when do we stop emerging?

andrew jones wonders what happens when we stop emerging? an interesting blogpost on the brief history of the emerging church conversation and what it's been called.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

todd hunter interview

jason clark of emergent in the uk interviewed todd hunter this week about his move from allelon to alpha usa. on his site he has the word document with the questions and three wav files, so i've attempted to organize this a bit for you below. these files are large, so be warned if you're dialing up, and also the audio quality is uneven (including the beginning of the first wav file).

1. Pearl of great price
Back on the 9th May 2000, AVC USA published an excerpt from your resignation letter from your post as National Director, which included your comments that you were leaving because, “My dream is to be a church planting missionary to postmodern generations.” What has happened in the last 4 years to lead you to Alpha USA, in what seems to many of us a major U turn of that dream?

answer to question 1

2. A Tale of Two Gospels
In an article you wrote titled “The Tale of Two Gospels”, you proposed a thesis that what had gone wrong with the modern church was a reductionist, bullet point, propositional, pray a prayer to go to heaven when you die Gospel, that had a soteriology and eschatology that needed more than fine tuning but a major overhaul. Alpha to many of us as valuable a tool as it is for reaching modern Christians, seems to embody all the parts of your previous thesis? How are you going to be working with a gospel message tool that seems to embody all the things you said were not helpful for post modern people?

answer to question 2

3. Changing Alpha?
Are you going to be working with alpha as it is, or are you being employed to bring some changes and developments? As we understand it one of Alpha strongest values is that the material is not changed, or enculturate, but taught as is.

4. Your Experience?
Do you come to alpha having led any or been part of any alpha groups yourself, have you enjoyed any evangelistic success with it in your church?

5. Para church – church based?
When the modern evangelical church was at it’s height many people dissatisfied with church moved into Para church groups, YWAM, YFC, OM etc. Do yourself making a similar move here to Alpha?

6. Your own ecclesiology – how are you doing church now?
How are you working out church yourself now? Are you part of a church yourself, and will Alpha be part of what takes place in your own church community?

answers to questions 3-6

if you prefer, jason has everything here, including todd's article "A Tale of Two Gospels".

reagan's burial

i realize that there may be mixed feelings among this blog's readership of reagan's legacy. nevertheless, i still suggest this MSNBC collection of streaming videos that combine the funeral eulogies and his children's burial tributes. bethany and i stumbled on these live last night as we casually turned on the tv before bed. it was the only thing we had watched of this week's festivities and i'm so glad we caught it. it was the relatively simply burial ceremony where all of reagan's living children spoke of their dad.

the press has made much of reagan's strained relations with his family members. i suspect your family and my family might have a few strained relations of our own! yet at this moment, the best of reagan's relationships with his children comes out, and one senses that Michael, Ron and Patti's comments were heartfelt. honestly, their comments were brief, eloquent and well-worth viewing.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

the current state of evangelicalism

might want to keep an eye on doug pagitt's blog as he participates in a Zondervan-sponsored discussion "on the future and current state of Evangelicalism".

dj shares some photos of the Procession in DC of Ronald Reagon

dj also shares his comments.

last, the lost, and the least

from brian mclaren:

"I was invited to lead the invocation for Call to Renewal’s Pentecost 2004 prayer breakfast in Washington, DC, on May 25. At the breakfast, John Perkins and Susan Pace Hamill were honored for their work on behalf of the poor."

here's the invocation

a complete diversion

can you guess the dictator or tv sit-com character?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


it seems to me that jesuspeople should excel at this! what does this imply for how churches work?

thanks to tim bednar for the link.

NT Wright on...

...theological irrevelance, demons, hell, the kingdom, Left Behind, homosexuality and culture.

have you been saved yet?

Anastasia McAteer thinks Saved is the bomb.

wrapping the brain around the emerging church

the june '04 Next-Wave ran a piece I blogged a couple of weeks ago on discussion about defining the emerging church.

Monday, June 07, 2004

tim anders

a good friend just pointed me to the link of the author of the classic Fast Company article, Love is the Killer App, which has also been published as a book. i thought you might be interested in sanders' recommended reading.

making the most of the time

this has to be the coolest clock i've ever seen. thanks to jimmy doyle of liquid thinking for the link.

questions for todd hunter

Earlier we had mentioned that jason clark was collecting questions for an upcoming todd hunter interview regarding his move to alphausa. Looks like that's happening sometime this week so if you have any questions for jason for todd, email him @

Saturday, June 05, 2004

leadership development

One of the pastors in our area with whom I've worked a lot contacted me and asked if I would work with him on his leadership skills. I was honored that he would ask.

While I was on staff at Cedar Ridge I started reading The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z Posner and it just rocked my world. It's the best, most comprehensive, most helpful thing I've read on leadership before or since. Here's the one pager based on the book that I keep on my m130, on my wall @ work and on my work and home laptops:


The Five Practices of Leadership

Challenge the Process

Search out challenging opportunities to change, grow, innovate, and improve.

Experiment, take risks, and learn from the accompanying mistakes.

Inspire a Shared Vision

Envision an uplifting and ennobling future.

Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes and dreams.

Enable Others to Act

Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.

Strengthen people by giving power away, providing choice, developing competence, assigning critical tasks, and offering visible support.

Model the Way

Set the example by behaving in ways that are consistent with shared values.

Achieve small wins that promote consistent progress and build commitment.

Encourage the Heart

Recognize individual contributions to the success of every project.

Celebrate team accomplishments regularly.


Here's another similarly brief page on the Five Practices that's on the Leadership Challenge website.

I was so impacted by the book that I thought I would outline it and ended up writing a Leadership Primer, pulling in information from some other books pertinent to leadership.

(Interestingly, Jossey-Bass just published Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge featuring comments by John Maxwell, David McAllister-Wilson, Patrick Lencioni, Nancy Ortberg, and Ken Blanchard. See the table of contents here.)

And so my pastor friend and I this AM @ breakfast decided that we would use Leadership Challege tools for evaluation purposes and to provide some structure and discipline to our conversations. We selected The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)-Deluxe Facilitator's Guide Package to assist us. This package includes the Leadership Practices Self Inventory, the Leadership Practices Observer Inventory (for 360 degree evaluation), the Leadership Practices Inventory (hereafter LPI) Facilitator's Guide, a Participant's Workbook, a Development Planner, a CD-ROM with software for scoring, some visuals and forms, and even a Poster and a pocket-sized reference card.

Now by all this, I don't mean to suggest for a moment that leadership development results from program or structure or from information transfer. This approach is just using some tools and providing a context for a process that I see to be primarily relational and one that will focus on intentional acts in the real world, NOT just great conversations and knowledge accumulation. In the real world, of course, is where leadership development actually occurs. All else is mere prolegomena.

Interestingly, Kouzes and Posner are now also emphasizing even more how crucial relationship is to leadership formation. They are now stressing a new theme in their Leadership Challenge work - "Leadership is a Relationship". They write:

"We have always maintained that whatever the circumstances, leadership is a relationship. Whether it's one-to-one or one-to-many, business as usual or challenges in extraordinary times, leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow. North, south, east, or west, success in business, and success in life has been, is now, and will be a function of how well we work and play together. We are emphasizing "Leadership is a relationship" as the theme for the third edition of The Leadership Challenge because over the last few years new research in such areas as "emotional intelligence" has demonstrated that it's social skills and not technical or intellectual skills that account for the success of leaders. Also, since we began our research over 20 years ago, we have had reinforced over and over, time and again, that personal credibility — that is, the belief others have it us - is the foundation of leadership. "

Part of my own interest in this process, beyond helping a friend, is to work toward putting together a leadership development protocol that I can call into service in future. We plan to meet weekly initially as my friend has some immediate leadership challenges he's going to tackle and then eventually segue to monthly for six to twelve months (not sure yet how long). I'll blog here from time to time about our progress and learnings. Your comments on leadership development strategies you've successfully deployed are most welcome!

they're going away

i have thoroughly enjoyed the cicadas. i think the flying saucer sounds that rev up every morning have been totally cool. our friend elizabeth says, "they come out in a frenzy of sex and death, and it just makes me feel that everything's ok with the world".

but now, it's mostly just death and dying. i'm sad they're going.

Their brief sojourn topside reminds me of a quote from Blade Runner

"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long - and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. "

Tyrell to Roy Batty, the replicant Tyrell created.

love and new policy

ok, love blogger. love the new interface. love that it's free. but i am so tired of losing my post drafts because of blogger hicups while I'm posting so, from now on, I'm saving all my html in a word doc before I post. I hate losing 20-30 mins of work.

Friday, June 04, 2004

ok, why is spencer's blog tabula rasa?

Brennan Manning

"The first time the late singer-songwriter Rich Mullins heard former Franciscan priest Brennan Manning on tape as he drove through the edge of the Flint Hills in Kansas, his eyes filled with tears. He steered the truck to the side of the road. There, as he later wrote, the message "broke the power of mere 'moralistic religiosity' in my life, and revived a deeper acceptance that had long ago withered in me."

Dallas Willard, who penned The Divine Conspiracy and Renovation of the Heart, once wrote that Manning's writing "throws firebrands into your soul."

Singer and writer Michael Card calls Manning when he's "in a bad place" and has named his oldest son after him. The priest's book Lion and Lamb: The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus "healed my image of God," Card told Christianity Today.

He is life-weary, but his intensely blue eyes are young with eternity.

Psychotherapist and spiritual director Larry Crabb turns to Manning for advice.

Eugene Peterson, who wrote The Message, describes Manning's Reflections for Ragamuffins as a "zestful and accurate portrayal that tells us unmistakably that the gospel is good, dazzlingly good."

Members of U2 read Manning's books.

Singer Michael W. Smith "can't even remember" how many copies of The Ragamuffin Gospel he has given away. Author Philip Yancey considers Manning a good friend.

What is it that the shapers of evangelical consciousness find so enchanting about the 70-year-old Catholic who confesses in his writings to "boasting, the inflating of the truth, the pretense of being an intellectual, the impatience with people, and all the times I drank to excess"?"

Agnieszka Tennant offers us a nice piece on Brennan Manning.

business stuff and god stuff

len hjalmarson quotes (can't find a permalink - it's the Thursday 3 June 2004 post) John Piper's new Brothers, We are NOT Professionals. Let me say clearly that I haven't read this book. But based on Len's quotes of the first chapter I am concerned that John (who I respect and admire) has collapsed "business" down to some of its worst characteristics. I believe a balance is possible as we find in folks like Max DePree. I am a business man. When was leading small groups @ Cedar Ridge Community Church I honestly didn't know whether I had learned more about how to do that from Grace Theological Seminary or from USA TODAY, where I've worked for 15 years. My own personal interest in business is learning from it how organizations can be more effectively missional. In other words, I genuinely believe that fantastically run businesses can teach us how to love others better. But, if this isn't so obvious it's not worth saying, I don't at all believe business teaches us "the stuff". The Holy Spirit and the God's Truth provide the stuff. The organization is the context. As I've said elsewhere, if I have to choose between the two, I'll take the stuff in a inefficient context rather than the reverse! But that doesn't mean we can't learn from businesses, non-profits, clubs - any great organization - better ways to set up better contexts. Though, I will say, when I read Max's vision for business community, this strict dichotomy I'm setting up seems to be challenged. I believe balance and priorities are the watchwords here.

All that being said, I need to read Piper's book to get his full take. Perhaps some of you have read it and can give me more light. And, of course, feel free to push back if you think I need a course correction.

Teddy Roosevelt -
"Perpetual Optimism is a force multiplier" - Colin Powell

One of the Director's at USA TODAY and I have a habit of trading quotes. Today he brought in "Americans learn only from catastrophy and not from experience" from Theodore Roosevelt. I don't think anyone ever enjoyed being President more than this guy; he's one of my heros. Last year I read Edmund Morris' The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and then Theodore Rex. Here's some thoughts I set down on Teddy last year that give some summary of his accomplishments and spirit.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

religion and politics

we ran an interesting article today on the correlation of relgious involvement and political affiliation.

e-church returns

tim bednar is back.

Gospel and Our Culture Articles

Just discovered the redesigned Gospel and Our Culture website featuring a collection of what they term "choice articles".

tallskinnykiwi is third most popular blog!

Andrew Jones' Blog is named #3 Blogspot site on the Blogger Forum! Andrew reflects on three years of blogging. Andrew provides here some fascinating thoughts about blogging that are well worth reading.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

"How the Evangelicals and Catholics Joined Forces"

The New York Times covers the recent conversations between Evangelicals and Catholics (free registration required). Christianity Today's Ted Olsen posts extensive commentary on the article. Leadership University has a nice collection of various documents related to the Evangelicals and Catholics Together conversation.

pope decides to beatify anne catherine emmerich

Pope John Paul II has decided to make anne catherine emmerich a saint. Read more about emmerich and her influence on Mel Gibson on faithmap's Passion of the Christ page.

jesus outside the box

check out this interesting new blog!

more fodder for millennium matrix junkies

geoffrey nunberg's timeline of the history of information. Thanks Jordon! Rex Miller take notice!

hacking church?

jay voorhees explores the nexus of Steven Levy's "Hackers" and Emerging Church Concerns.

president bush transpos his faith

dj let us know about bush and his Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

dr brian mclaren

Cedar Ridge announces:

"We're very proud that on Sunday, May 30, our own Brian McLaren received
an honorary doctorate from Carey Theological College. The school is
located in the northeastern corner of the University of British Columbia
campus in Vancouver, and it is affiliated with the Baptist Union of
Western Canada
. Brian was nominated by a group of the school's leaders
there, including well-known postmodern author, Stanley Grenz. We hope to
hear more about Brian's experiences while there, and on this great
honor. Congratulations, Doc!"

Tuesday, June 01, 2004