Friday, December 31, 2004

Cracking the Christmas Code

NT Wright compares The Da Vinci Code with the story of Christmas in this recent article.

Thanks to subvergence for the heads up.

I finished The Da Vinci Code last night and now I have a lot of research to do!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Brian McLaren on Emergent as a Movement

If you have been following the conversation in the Emergent as a Society thread you may have already read this. However, Brian McLaren suggested the following thoughts which I think are helpful, and it was difficult to post them yesterday in anything other than comments, so here they are more formally....

Will Sampson posts Brian McLaren's thoughts on Emergent as a Movement.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami in South Asia

The Washington Post has a continually updated interactive map that shows the growing death toll by country.

Yahoo News has an aggregation page pulling news related to this disaster from a variety of sources.

MSNBC has a page that links to various agencies to which concerned individuals can turn in order to help survivors. For other help pages, see

McLaren's New Book

Brian's new book is now available for pre-order on

thanks to subvergence for the heads up.

The New Perspective on Paul (NPP) and NT Wright

Over the holidays I read an intriguing article - The Attractions of the New Perspective on Paul (link has been corrected) by J Ligon Duncan - critical of the NPP in general and NT Wright in specific.

There is so much enthusiastic support for the thinking of NT Wright within emerging church circles that in a bid to avoid a giddy triumphalism we do well to listen carefully to dissenting voices. I need to read more in this space, but I thought that Duncan brought up some intriguing cautions.

After reading the article, I asked Dr. Duncan if he would recommend any books or articles released since he wrote the article. He suggested (among others)

Within the article, Duncan also recommends Charles E. Hill's article NT Wright on Justification.

I also found this site where a number of critiques of NPP, especially dealing with justification, are aggregated.

And, of course, more pro-NPP material can be found at the NT Wright Page.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

The Day Peace Broke Out

An article about the first book written from a German perspective on the peace that broke out on Christmas Day in 1914.

The Famous Christmas Truce of WWII

The words drifted across the frozen battlefield: 'Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht. Alles Schlaft, einsam wacht'. To the ears of the British troops peering over their trench, the lyrics may have been unfamiliar but the haunting tune was unmistakable. After the last note a lone German infantryman appeared holding a small tree glowing with light. 'Merry Christmas. We not shoot, you not shoot.'

It was just after dawn on a bitingly cold Christmas Day in 1914, 90 years ago on Saturday, and one of the most extraordinary incidents of the Great War was about to unfold.

a great article from the Guardian via one of jordon cooper's wonderfully inventive contextless links.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Do we Ever Stop Emerging?

In response to Tony Jones Worship Leader Sidebar, Chris Gonzalez asks:

The spirit of Emergent reminds me of the spirit that launched Restoration Movement - and that is precisely what bothers me. It was supposed to be a movement that was post-denominational, although they didn't use "post" so much in the 1800's. However, after a terrific movement got started with so many questions, challenges to the existing abuses of authority structures, and a desire to just be Christians, it degraded into a denomination when they answered all those questions, developed their own authority structures, and forged a certain kind of way to be Christian. After that they just spent their time making sure then next generation knew the answers to questions that generation had never asked. Their goal was met (so they thought) which was to restore the New Testament church. When they restored it (they answered all of their questions), they were good to go.

Their kids were not so good to go. I hope Emergent never quits emerging. When emergent becomes emerged, we're in big trouble. And there are lots of forces inside and outside of emergent that would like to see it emerge, and be done with it already.

If emergent ever arrives it will fail. Arriving is something that makes sense if time stops.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

What is Emergent?

Worship Leader Magazine asked me to write a short sidebar for a lengthy upcoming piece by Chuck Smith, Jr. on Emergent.

tony jones gives his answer

via will sampson

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

jordon cooper

jordon's blog was listed by the guardian as one of their favorites!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Washington Post and Slate

the Washington Post just announced that they're buying the online zine Slate.

Addiction to the Proposition

...sometimes we look to be in relationship with people simply so we can get the to assent to our "propositions." In the sense of a small group bible study, we state that our goal is spiritual maturity and determine maturity is based on how much we know. Our idea is that knowledge equals maturity in relationship with God. The reality is intellectual assent does not guarantee a deeper relationship with God becuase it is precisely that, a relationship; it is not a pop quiz that must be passed. We will learn more, we will know more but the knowing is a result of a growing relationship not whether or not we can pass the quiz.

todd littleton is on the money here. While propositions are necessary, they are not enough for spiritual transformation or for leadership development. A bible study is not to be considered successful only on the criterion of information exchange.

lately i've been very dissatisfied with my own degree of spiritual maturity. please understand i'm not being modest. i've written a lot here about how much the abiding meme has been helpful to me. yesterday, i realized that it's jesus himself that i need to get excited about, not the concept of abiding in jesus. i believe this may be why i haven't really gotten down to the depth yet of what it means to abide in jesus.

this past sunday during morning service i journaled as the pastor spoke, interacting with what he was saying. i wrote down that propositions are windows to the object of our faith. faith is the bridge that takes us from proposition to transproposition. transproposition, of course, is the object of our faith.

that's a long-winded way of my saying simply that I need Him. i need to realize He is with me, that He is my savior, my provider, and my Lord. all three realities are important.

I need Him.

Monday, December 20, 2004

"Neither Democrats nor Republicans Have a Clue"

We ran two opinion pieces today on Faith and Religion and a divided United States.

Jim Wallis of Sojourners penned a piece headlined as above.

Charles Haynes provided another viewpoint.

Top 5 Posts of 2004

Bob Carlton is asking folks to send him self-nominations for their top 5 posts for the year. He's aggregating them here. Should be an interesting collection! Here's mine:

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Brian McLaren

Christian Century has a new piece on Brian.

courtesy of jordon.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Friday, December 17, 2004

Legitimate Propositionality

A severe misunderstanding of transpropositionality is that it's anti-proposition or anti-information. Information is necessary but it's not enough.

Toward that end, I just learned that the Evangelical Theological Society is in the process of putting all the articles of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society online. They'll stay 2 years behind what's published.

On that note, let me also mention the massive Theological Library Series, where with 5 and 6 you can get 300 years of Theological Journal articles including:

Bibliotheca Sacra Journal (1934-2002)
Grace Journal (1960-73)
Grace Theological Journal (1980-91)
The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (1966-2002)
Master’s Seminary Journal (1990-2000)
Trinity Journal (1980-2001)
Westminster Theological Journal (1960-2002)
Emmaus Journal (1991-2001)
Michigan Theological Journal (1990-1994)
Journal of Christian Apologetics (1997-1998)
Chafer Theological Seminary Journal (1995-2002)
Conservative Theological Journal (1995-2002)
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (1988-2002)
Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (1995-2002)
Reformation and Revival (1992-2002)
Journal of Ministry and Theology (1997-2002)
Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (1996-2000)
Bible and Spade (1996-2000)

This has been one of the best reference purchases I've ever made.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Church Marketing Sucks

Brad Abare lets us know about his site's efforts to reach a wider audience.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Emerging Church Criticism, Part Deux

Andrew Jones sounds a helpful tone in his updated comprehensive blogpost on various sources of emerging church criticism. Reading his post and following the links will give you a good sense of the movement and its critics.

It's a Wonderful Life.

If you love It's a Wonderful Life, go here.

With thanks to Nick Ciske.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Next Emergent Convention

Doug Pagitt gives us some lowdown.

Tony Campolo on the Emerging Church

Will Sampson and others refer us to this new article.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Emergent Church Criticism

Andrew Jones does a great around the room on this topic with a bit of EC history and commentary thrown in.

We contributed our own thoughts in the latest Next-Wave.

Results of Survey:
Best Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Books
for Protestants to Read



Sunday, December 12, 2004

pls pray for levi fusion

and his family as they are going through a very difficult and intense time.

Christian Churches Together in the USA

Christianity Today's Rob Moll interviews First Things' editor-in-chief Richard John Neuhaus about the US Catholic bishops decision to join Christian Churches Together in the USA.


Saturday, December 11, 2004

Weblog 2004 Awards

Vote for your favorite - polling ends tomorrow.

Great Church Websites

rob williams points us to where the webmaster writes:

The purpose of this site is to promote excellence in church website design by offering a "virtual gallery" of church home pages, along with other resources for church webmasters.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Thursday, December 09, 2004

new leadership modes

I hit the road today for Philadelphia. I'm here with some great people: Alan Roxburgh, Brian McLaren, and George Hunsberger. We are in conversation with some of the faculty and the staff of Biblical Theological Seminary about the way they are seeking to transition their Masters of Divinity from a more traditional tract to a center for emerging leadership. This is the second time we've been here. The first was last July and the time was very productive and the conversation incredibly stimulating.

tim keel lets us know ab interesting goings on @ biblical.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Resources on Emotional Intelligence

Darren Rouse posts a good list of resources in EQ.

I have found all my reading in this space to be helpful. I see it as informing the emerging church's critique of an inordinately propositionalized evangelicalism. It also speaks to the necessity of character for making good decisions.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Emergent matrix: A new kind of church?

Christian Century has posted Scott Bayer-Sade's article about the emerging church.

In the School of Death

After watching my father struggle to breathe on his deathbed, I cannot believe that there are 21 irrefutable laws of anything any more.


Several years before his Alzheimer’s set in, my father told me his two regrets about the ministry: (1) that he had spent so much time at work, and so little time with us in the living room where he would die, and; (2) that he could not do it all over again.

Earl Creps shares what he's learned from the recent death of his dad.

Andrew Jones has been in this school as well lately and earl's post reminded me of some thoughts we posted some time ago.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

on the label "emergent"

One could easily be "emergent" and not a participant in the life of God. Or a full participant in the hopes of God and not at all "emergent". Being emergent is not the goal. Life in harmony with God is.

Doug Pagitt has some interesting and helpful thoughts about "emergent" as a label and also speaks a bit about what was behind Emergent's original decision to use the term.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Three Roman Catholic Books every Protestant Should Read

Three Eastern Orthodox Books every Protestant Should Read

If you were hoping I'd tell you, my apologies. I'm actually hoping you'll tell me in comments! I promise I'll blogpost the results of this question!


jordon cooper refers us to worldometers where you can track in real time such things as

  • the current population of planet earth
  • the number of babies being birthed by teenagers this year so far
  • current number of deaths this year so far
  • movie visitors this year so far
  • lightning strikes on earth this year so far
  • deaths of children under 5 this year so far

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Rare Peter Drucker Interview in Forbes

Peter F. Drucker was born 95 years ago today--can it be possible?--in Vienna. The universally known writer, thinker and lecturer now is nearly deaf and doesn't get around like he used to. He stopped giving media interviews about a year ago. But in late October, Drucker granted an exception to at the urging of Dr. Rick Warren, the founder and head of the Christian evangelical Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

The Drucker-Warren relationship may surprise many readers, but it goes back two decades, to when the young minister came to Drucker for advice.


This consultation is one Drucker and Warren have engaged in twice yearly for two decades.

Rex Miller let's us know about a new Peter Drucker interview.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

criticism of the emerging church

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Proverbs 27:6 (English Standard Version)

Darryl Dash has some wise things to say about the coming storm that will likely be precipitated by, among other things,

I have no doubt that the emerging church and mainstream evangelicalism have something to learn reciprocally. I do doubt that this conversation will occur without pain. Unfortunately, when we are at our worst, we might have a tendency to absolutize and "demonize".

But the conversation does not have to be a fight; it can be a dance - a beautiful dance of thesis/antithesis working its way toward a greater grasp of truth, a more profound experience of community, and even a closer relationship with the One Who knows all truth.

This can occur when those who disagree

  • remember that a gentle answer turns away wrath,
  • lean toward the other rather than away,
  • seek very hard to listen,
  • ask non-rhetorical and genuinely curious questions,
  • do the very difficult spadework of working to understand the presuppositions of the other,
  • believe the best about the other rather than the worst,
  • and, most importantly, be willing to provisionally consider that the other may be saying something of value - that they might even be able to correct.

If these things are done, the coming storm might yield a beautiful harvest.