Saturday, April 30, 2005


The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible is almost out!

I only wish it were in English Standard Version!

I also want to get the ESV Reformation Study Bible, though the NIV Spirit of the Reformation Bible, which I already have, is based on the Reformation Study Bible and has fuller Study material - actually the fullest I've ever seen - but it uses the NIV translation.

For those in ec scratching your head, pls read this!

The Generous Orthodoxy Conference

Brian's site announces two Off-the-Map Generous Orthodoxy conferences.

One with Jim Wallis in DC on October 7th and 8th in 2005.

Another on Nov. 4th and 5th in Seattle.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Brian McLaren stepping down as Cedar Ridge's Senior Pastor...

...but not leaving church staff.

Will Samson gives us a heads up to this recent Baltimore Sun article.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Neat Things Happening in my Backyard

Cornerstone is currently co-pastored by Bruce Hopler and Ron Willoughby. Their team approach to pastoring began in November of 2003. For the co-pastorate to work Hopler and Willoughby invest a minimum of 4 hours per week together to insure healthy communication, accountability and relationships. The two pastors share the teaching responsibility. This oftentimes includes the two teaching together in a dialogue or ‘tag-team’ format. The congregation has grown by 50% in the last 9 months and has cast a vision for giving away 51% of its annual income by the year 2010.

I had the chance to meet Ron Willoughby a couple of years ago and found him to be a fine fellow! I hadn't heard of the great things going on @ Cornerstone until recently!

An Around the Jones' Room Regarding Andrew and DA Carson

Andrew helpfully indexes his several posts regarding DA Carson's new book Being Conversant with the Emerging Church.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Last Word and the Word After That: The Critiques Begin

I was on another list which had a very intelligent conversation on the doctrine of hell. I just got McLaren's book and wanted to give a few impressions from his introduction where he lays out very honestly and forthrightly the purpose of his new book "The Last Word and the Word After That." Brian says he wants to stir up conversation on this often neglected preached topic these days and I suspect shed more light than heat. I will say that probably as long as someone does not hold to the traditional view (and better yet, sees it as mean-spirited, unloving, and just biblical wrong) then one will probably be quite pleased with the discussion Brian wants to have.

There are several unique paradoxes in what Brian does from (1) Hell has disappeared and no one has noticed while at the same time describing the traditional view from many a modern perspective not so much as a wrong belief in the doctrine of hell but as a wrong understanding or view of God who under the traditional view is seen as cruel, capricious, merciliess, and a tyrannical deity; and (2) Brian wants to warn of the destructive nature of the traditional view of Hell while not giving his own view out in the process.

Brian is a provocative writer and his honesty and humor shines forth in this thought-provoking and possibly disturbing book. Brian at times has brilliant statements like "We don't fully love God because we are not fully confident that God is fully good." Brian uses the Balaam's ass story as a parable of himself. He suggests the poor beast took some beatings but eventually the message got heard. He humorously says, "If I can have similar results, any beatings I get will be well worth it." Of course parables have a way of cutting many ways and some may also wonder if the traditional view doesn't get the hell beat out of it as well?

I will say I also suspect biblical scholars who major on not charicaturizing or setting up straw men but dealing with biblical and logical weaknesses will not be happy with McLaren's book. Brian can not swallow or appreciate any kind of "image of angry God" so he also appears not to be too concerned what Christians throughout the history of the church has believed or preached on this topic he says is neglected today. From McLaren's perspective, sermons like Jonathan Edwards "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" makes God appear like a schizoid in regards to mercy and justice and sociopathetic and disfuctional as an eternal torturer.

I for one find it unfortunate that Brian can not show his more generous orthodoxy towards the earlier Christians whose views of hell were certainly more dark, scarier, and troubling than many modern day versions that have reduced hell to and idea rather than a place and punishment as something almost "fun" outside the domain of God's freedom strifling and boring borderland of heaven. The purpose of Edward's sermons was to warn people of God's wrath to come and his was a compassionate urge for people to run into the arms of a redeeming Savior and gospel world filled with grace. I know Brian is motivated by trying not to alienate modern and postmodern people from the gospel and he sees the doctrine of hell as something of a stumbling block and a barrier for contemporary people to come to faith in Christ. I will say if we put the truth question aside for the moment (and there are many other features of the Bible we would need to reinvent that don't go well with modern sensibilities
either), Edwards in his day found preacihng on the terrors to come and God's judgement was something that did effectively work in bringing many people to Christ. But pragmaticism should not be the issue and it does seem to this Christian observer that if the whole truth be told, hell has been drained and lost most of its fury today as well as any worthwhile fear-inspiring qualities. Straight talk and fearful consequences just don't play well in todays postmodern world. So I agree with McLaren that a conversation needs to start about this often silent topic but I want to dig past simply dealing with weaknesses and abuses of this politically incorrect doctrine today. However people define or understand the doctrine of hell, I would hope it will challenge and inspire Christians to seriously engage in evangelism and missions rather than continue in the downward spiral of abandoning one's duty to warn the world, and especially their fellow Christians, of the perils of sin.

Let the discussions begin - Chris C.

'mapper Chris Criminger posts some thoughts on Brian McLaren's newest book.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Emerging Church Cohort in Baltimore

And actually practically in my backyard tomorrow night! Unfortunately, somehow, I either forgot or just heard ab this last night. I really want to go! We'll see....

First Brian McLaren and now Johnny Long...on CNN

fellow faithmapper and white hat hacker johnny long is reported to be appearing on Headline News tonight @ 9 PM.


Scot McKnight on DA Carson's Recently Published Critique of the Emerging Church

Bob Robinson provides a nice index.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Brian talks ab Hell

On May 9, Brian McLaren, a leader within Emergent Village and identified strongly with the emerging church, has agreed to come on this blog to answer some questions about hell and his controversial book, The Last Word and The Word After That: A Tale of Fatih, Doubt, and a new Kind of Christianity. You can ask Brian your questions and he will be answering throughout the day.

Andrew Jones plans to host Brian McLaren.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

i want life unto life, but at least let me be a fragrance

warning: spoiler
i do reveal the end of the movie Friday Night Lights in this post.

I recently watched Friday Night Lights.
This Peter Berg movie, based on a true story chronicled by HG Bissinger in the book of the same name, details the struggle of the Odessa, TX High School Team, the Permian Panthers, to win the 1988 Texas State High School Championship.
At first, I found the movie oppressive. The town, as it's presented in the movie, has a monomaniacal focus on winning football games. One character, Charles Billingsley, brilliantly played by country music star Tim McGraw, who is the father of one of the seniors on the team, sees his own time winning the State Championship as the only valuable time of his life.

It becomes clear to Coach Gaines, played by Billy Bob Thornton, that his future with Odessa is strictly contingent on his winning games and seasons. When Dallas Carter is trouncing the Panthers in the State Championship Game, in his half-time speech, the sheer inordinate pressure the town put on him to win seems to propel him to reach higher in his aspirations than he had all season:

Well it's real simple: You got two more quarters and that's it.

Now most of you have been playin' this game for ten years. And you got two more quarters and after that most of you will never play this game again as long as you live. Now, ya'll have known me for awhile, and for a long time now you've been hearin' me talk about being perfect.

Well I want you to understand somethin'. To me, being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning. It's about you, and your relationship to yourself and your family and your friends.

Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down, because you told them the truth. And that truth is that you did everything that you could. There wasn't one more thing that you could've done.

Can you live in that moment, as best you can, with clear eyes and love in your heart? With joy in your heart?

If you can do that gentlemen, then you're perfect.

I want you to take a moment. And I want you to look each other in the eyes. I want you to put each other in your hearts forever, because forever's about to happen here in just a few minutes.


Boys my heart is full. My heart's full.

When Gaines says, "
Can you live in that moment, as best you can, with clear eyes and love in your heart? With joy in your heart?" I was deeply moved. Many emergesque readers know about my FoxHole, which continues today. Gaines' words moved me because he conveyed the important truth that the most critical accomplishment wasn't winning, but was playing with full integrity.

I immediately felt resonance with my own situation where for some time now I've realized that while there is an outcome to our struggle we earnestly desire, what is important is that every moment my family and I live abiding in faith in Jesus, luxuriating in His overwhelming love for us, and love one another and those around us - and that we do that while relying on His strength inside of us. It's possible my family won't win the game; but it's critical that we play with our hearts full of confidence, love and joy in our Lord.

Friday, April 22, 2005

More on Stan Grenz

Christianity Today posts a remembrance.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Postmodern President: John Adams

Yesterday morning I completed David McCullough's wonderful John Adams. I was reminded of the incredible fact that just before Adams died on on 4 July 1826 - the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence - he said, "Thomas Jefferson survives." And then ab 6:20 PM, Adams passed. But he had been wrong. Jefferson had died about 1 PM the same day. The non-historical appellation of "Postmodern President" came to me after reading McCullough's words:

The philosophy that with sufficient knoweldge all could be explained held no appeal. All could not be explained, Adams had come to understand. Mystery was essential. "Admire and adore the Author of the telescopic universe, love and esteem the work, do all in your power to lessen ill, and increase good, but never assume to comprehend" (pp. 629,630).

Reading this reminded me of earlier comments - "Looking Beyond the Facade of Modernity" - I've made about how we need to be careful not to truncate any individual or age down to a two-dimensional understanding of their philosophy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Trolling for Worthy Blogs

"Stephen, I can't believe that you don't link to..."

please leave your suggestions in comments!


more email

At Work and Home I still am mostly using Microsoft Outlook. To check my personal email at work or when traveling, I use Yahoo Mail because it allows me access to my personal domain's POP3 servers, but when I write an email I like to use gmail because of its superior formatting options and because I was able to import all of my over 2500 Outlook Contacts into my online account.

I just found out that Yahoo is increasing its storage to 1GB and that Google responded by increasing its storage to 2GB! That's good because I'm using gmail as another place where I can archive all faithmaps discussion group messages.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Emerging Storm: DA Carson, Andrew Jones and Scot McKnight

It's a sign of our new media environment that DA Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church has been discussed now for quite some time even before it's anticipated June 2005 publication.

Andrew Jones gives us a heads up about a significant new voice in this ec storm conversation: Scot McKnight. Scot's entrance into the fray is interesting from a few angles:

Scot seems to be positioning himself as a helpful arbiter between Carson's critique and the emerging church. He's already posted

We look forward to hearing from this new voice and welcome Scot to the conversation!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church

We had earlier expressed regret that the anticipated title of DA Carson's upcoming Becoming Conversant with Emergent seemed to inordinately privilege the Emergent organization as the official spokesgroup for the emerging church conversation. Well, kudos to either Zondervan or Carson for changing the title to Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.

Kudos to Johnny Long

my good friend and fellow 'mapper johnny long was recently slashdotted (I think this was his third time) and his book, google hacking, (which syngress asked him to write after hearing him present at one of the Black Hats) shot up to #52 at Amazon!

what's really cool ab this is that johnny has given a lot of thought to how to integrate his faith with his craft. intrigued? see his site (which has 40,000 registered users).

we met johnny and jen a few years ago when they took one of my faithmaps workshops.

from syngress

Johnny Long has spoken on network security and Google hacking at several computer security conferences around the world including SANS, Defcon, and the Black Hat Briefings. During his recent career with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), a leading global IT services company, he has performed active network and physical security assessments for hundreds of government and commercial clients. His website, currently the Internet's largest repository of Google hacking techniques, can be found at

Flip's New Blog

Pls welcome Flip to the blogosphere!

Toward a Transpropositional Theology

'mapper Rebecca Kelly offers:

A Peanuts comic.:

Peppermint Patty is laying against a tree, Marcie has walked up to her,
Marcie says "I signed up for a summer reading program at the library."
Peppermint Patty says "God didn't make the sun for you to sit in the library
Marcie." Marcie is leaning against the tree next to Peppermint Patty and
says "You know more about theology than I thought, sir."

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Five Emerging Church Leaders Speak

The complete conversation between Worship Leader and five of the emerging church’s leading thinkers where they voice their thoughts to help explain a new generation of worship.

from the site and thanks to jordon for the heads up.

Featured are

Andrew Jones and DA Carson

aj posts an open blogpost for DA Carson.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Atheist No More

"I have become a deist like Thomas Jefferson." He cites his affinity with Einstein who believed in "an Intelligence that produced the integrative complexity of creation." To make things perfectly clear, he told me: "I understand why Christians are excited, but if they think I am going to become a convert to Christ in the near future, they are very much mistaken."

"Are you Paul on the road to Damascus?" I asked him.

"Certainly not."

A CT piece on Antony Flew.

Vlogging: Steve Knight....

joins the fray.

My friend Levi is most blessed.

afton selynn fuson

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Free Vlogging Seminar

Nick Ciske points out:

Aaron Flores‘ Videoblogging session from the Internet Evangelism for the 21st Century Conference is available online FREE. You can watch it over that the conference site. If you like it, you watch the rest of the streams for only $20....

What's really cool ab this is that Aaron's session on videoblogging was one of the very best sessions!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Clearly, I have no idea what I'm doing....

Darren Rouse anticipates making north of 6 figures this year.

Thanks to Jordon for the link.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Another New Vlogger: DJ Chuang

As Nick Ciske has pointed out, I think I'm the only one left of the lynchburg ec cohort.

Monday, April 11, 2005


The Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University is proud to announce that the first ever GodBlog Convention will be held at Biola University on October 13th through October 15th, 2005. GodBlogCon is designed to establish and cultivate relationships within the Christian blogging community and to provide opportunities for Christian bloggers to think about their role within the broader blogging world.

They've launched a website.


I have gotten to where I prefer using the gmail online client to my Outlook! I just wish they would allow you to check other email addresses thru gmail as yahoo does.

GMail is announcing that they are increasing everyone's space to over 2 GB!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

John Paul II

There appears to be quite a bit of recent updating to Wikipedia's article on Karol Józef Wojty?a.

Gettin' Real on Prayer

There's one more option I came up with. It's one that I fight hard everyday not to believe. And I don't believe it... for the most part. The other option is that God doesn't really love me. I don't believe this... but I think I must believe it a little because that's why I'm afraid to pray. I'm afraid that God will say no... not because of sin or faith, but because he just doesn't give a shit.

Jesus Outside the Box gets real about prayer.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

John Paul II and Evangelicalism

from CT:

We're in the flow and flux of it all. It's really hard to evaluate where we are or how historians will look at our times. But there is a sea change that has happened, particularly among evangelicals and Catholics. I think the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement is evidence of that. Clearly something momentous is afoot. Evangelicals are not Roman Catholics. But we are Catholics in that we affirm the historic orthodox faith. And we want to call the Roman Catholic Church, as we call ourselves, to a further reformation on the basis of the Word of God. That's what we ought to be about.

Timothy George, of Evangelicals and Catholics Together on John Paul II, Catholics and Evangeicals.

CT has a number of articles on this Pope and Evangelicals

Pope 'Broadened the Way' for Evangelicals and Catholics
Interview by Stan Guthrie

CT: Theologian Tom Oden sees continued cooperation ahead.

Pope Gave Evangelicals the Moral Impetus We Didn't Have
Interview by Collin Hansen
CT: Timothy George discusses how "the greatest pope since the Reformation" changed evangelicalism without us knowing.

Weblog: 'Antichrist' No More: Evangelicals Praise Pope
Compiled by Ted Olsen
CT: Most are unreserved in their praise on political, social, and even theological matters, but critique of papacy remains.

How the Pope Turned Me Into An Evangelical
By Agnieszka Tennant
CT: A Christianity Today associate editor recalls growing up Catholic in John Paul II's Poland.

Pope John Paul II and Evangelicals
Interview by Michael Cromartie
CT: Protestants admired his lifelong admonition to "Be not afraid! Open the doors to Christ!" An interview with George Weigel.

He Was My Pope, Too
By Uwe Siemon-Netto
CT: Now that John Paul II is gone, I am even more of an orphan than the Christians in the Roman church.

Protestants Laud Pope for Ecumenical, Social Stands
By Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
CT: He was 'unquestionably the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world during the last 100 years,' says Billy Graham.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Ty Samson Blogs

Will Samson's delightful daughter, Tyler, has started her very own vlog.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Famous Lynchburg Waitress Quote

Someone earlier asked me about the context for the Friday 1 April Lynchburg Waitress quote which was:

"I believe in Jesus too but I don't have to order food in his name!"

Here 'tis.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

the 'mappers group looks differently online now....

that yahoogroups has redesigned functionality and aesthetics. I'm not at all sure how all of a sudden we have 351 members when we were running 250 before....

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Will, Lisa, and Ty Samson Discover Vlogging... a spasm of self-referentiality.

I blame Aaron Flores.


Monday, April 04, 2005

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The "Emerging Church Track" of the 2005 Internet Evangelism Conference!

I've now to uploaded pics of this track! Click on any of the pictures (in slideshow or not) to get names.

Church 2.0

My goal with the film is to destroy the evangelical caricature by putting a human face on what has become a political statistic. Faith is something that should bring people together, not tear them apart, and I'm sick of the media-political elite using it divisively. People of faith have much more in common than not, and it's time everyone starts talking -- respectfully. Myself included.

Will Samson points us to Jim Gilliam's blogpost today regarding his in-production documentary, Church 2.0 which is currently slated for a late 2006 release. Jim's known primarily through his association with MoveOn and as a co-producer of Outfoxed. Jim' has also set up a wiki for Church 2.0.

Jim's requesting assistance:

If you're interested in getting involved, please send me an email, join the discussion here, or just head straight over to the wiki. Right now, I'm particularly interested in people open to giving their testimony on video, or people who want to film testimonies of others in their church. Some of this will be in the film, but more importantly, I hope to put together a website with thousands of testimonies across the evangelical spectrum.

I enjoyed getting to know Jim a bit this weekend and an intrigued by this project!

Killer Quote

I believe in Jesus too, but that doesn't mean I order 'in His Name' .

Great quote from a waitress at a delightfully indigenous Lynchburg, VA restaurant when Nick Ciske, DJ Chuang, Aaron Flores, Jim Gilliam, Steve Knight, Will Samson and I went out about midnight Friday night in Lynchburg.

The Internet Evangelism in the 21st Century Conference: The Emergent Track

Just got back tonight from this conference where I was presenting in breakouts with

(There actually wasn't an emerging church track at the conference, but for us ec-type folks who were there, it sure felt like it).

The Conference organizers are allowing folks to continue to virtually register for the conference to view the sessions, which are all soon to be available online. For some it would be worth the $20 bucks just to view Ciske's podcasting session or aaron's session on vlogging.

We also got to hang out with two documentarians at the conference. Will Samson's delightful daughter, Ty, was filming proceedings and doing interviews with a view toward the finalization of her Growing Up Christian. And we also spent a good bit of time with Jim Gilliam, known primarily as a co-producer of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism and his work with MoveOn. Jim's working on a documentary called Church 2.0.

Aaron Flores in private conversations and in his sessions stressed the importance of new vloggers honoring the emerging vlogging culture. We encouraged him, in fact, to vlog on the salient elements of that culture for the uninitiatied. Aaron also did a great job of lucidly breaking down the technical components of vlogging so that those who wish to begin can more easily do so.

Most of the aforementioned also had the chance to present in three sessions on blogging. A number of interesting discussion threads emerged:
  • how do I get started technically?
  • how much does it cost?
  • how do you create community online?
  • what's the relationship between online community and f2f community?
  • doesn't online Christian community detract from the church?
  • can't online interaction be addictive?
Nick was kind enough to create a blogpost specifically with the urls that we mentioned during our sessions.

I mentioned a couple of cautions and opportunities of blogging.

  • We need to take care that we avoid an unwarranted technological triumphalism when it comes to blogging specifically and the internet generally when it comes to spiritual formation and evangelism.

    While online relationship can be highly significant, when possible it should be accentuated with realtime, face-to-face interaction. There is something transpropositional conveyed in such circumstances as when DJ, Will, Ty and I travelled the 4 .5 hours or so from the Baltimore-Washington Corridor down to Lynchburg. If all of that interaction were duplicated in an email exchange, something would be lost.

    Spiritual formation has occurred in similar fashion irrespective of such technological developments as the printing press, the radio, the tv, the car, the telephone or the internet. We need to be thoughtful about to what extent we rely on emerging technologies as a modality of spiritual transformation.

  • Online interaction can be merely a further expression of evangelicalism's addiction to information transfer as the omnicompetent modality of spiritual transformation.

    Art, video, and podcasting excepted, the online medium is primarily one of text. This can lead us to live comfortably in the two-dimensional, truncated, artificial world of words. Love of God and others requires words but it also requires more.

  • Blogging, specifically, is still broadcast and is less interactive than chat rooms or online discussion groups. The words of the blogger are privleged. It's certainly not an invalid medium (!), but it's also not always the best online medium.
  • Blogging and the internet reflect the lowering cost of information.

    When I went to seminary, I spent thousands of dollars and travelled across several states to go to where the books where so that the people who understood the books could explain them to me. Today that simply is no longer necessary (I do not mean to invalidate seminaries wholesale; that discussion is for another post!) . While we are strongly stating that information is not all that is necessary, at the same time we are not saying that information is unnecessary. In fact, it's non-negotiable. The Internet, including blogging, lowers the cost of information and empowers easier information transfer.

  • Online relationships are characterized by a high degree of optionality. We can easily make folks go away in online contexts. Counterintuitively, because individuals can easily opt out, some tend to be more intimate earlier than they would in the usual relational lifecycle. We have seen this early intimacy segue to significant online relationship as folks increase in trust. Along with this is the fact that the internet simply provides users with more opportunities for relational resonance.
It was fantastic to spend more time with DJ, Will and Steve and to meet Aaron, Nick, Ty, and Jim for the first time. Different configurations of us were able to eat together at various times and attend and present in sessions. It was a rich, rich experience that I'm still processing. It was also fun to spend so much time being able to talk with DJ, Will and Ty on the trips down and back up.

Be sure to watch the blogs of the aforementioned for other comments on the Conference.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Encounter with a Waitress

A number of us went out last night after the first day of Internet Evangelism Conference. See the vlog account by Aaron Flores here!