Sunday, July 31, 2005

Toward a Praxis of Christian Disagreement:
A lesson from Puzo and Coppola

- the necessity of humility

We in Christ's church sometimes don't do a very good job at disagreeing. Unless I am the smartest person on the earth, it stands to reason that in many instances it is a gift when someone else disagrees with me. We always need to be sensitive to our occasional need to receive that gift. Humility is absolutely required.

but what if we're right?

At other times when confronted with a contrary opinion, despite genuine humility and a spirit of teachability, we may still be reasonably certain that our position is the correct one and that our opposite is largely in error.

- the degree of passion

In that moment of controversy when we are 1) humble, 2) teachable, and 3) correct on the issue, we need to be intentional about the manner in which we come across. Sometimes it's necessary to be dramatic to make a point. Sometimes, when the issue is important enough, it's necessary to be so dramatic and passionate in the expressing of our position that we do so with the full realization that we risk the very relationship itself. Surely our Lord risked his relationship with some of the religious leaders of his day when he called some Pharisees and Sadducees a "brood of vipers" (Matthew 3:6-8).

But this should not be our default position for a few reasons:

  • In some controversies, we may be on the wrong side of the position!
  • The issue about which we are disagreeing may not be important enough to take such a virulent stand. Passionately expressed stands need to be lovingly strategic and not a matter of course.
  • And we must always take care that our passion and virulence are not deriving from our egos and insecurities rather than from our commitment to the truth and our love for God and others. We must avoid a merely narcissitic desire to be right.

- an Olympic Calm

Many times - perhaps most of the time - in the midst of controversy we need to express what Clementine Churchill called Olympic Calm.

An cinematic example of this calm is seen in the character Tom Haden (Robert Duvall) when he speaks with a Producer named Woltz in the Godfather. (As Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks) says in the movie You've Got Mail, "The Godfather answers all of life's questions." :) ).

The actor Johnny Fontaine had approached Don Corleone because he wanted a part in a movie being produced by Woltz. The Godfather promised him the role and sent his consigliere - Tom Haden - to Hollywood to handle the matter. Here is how the scene played out just after Tom makes his request:


Now listen to me, you smooth-talking son-of-a-bitch! Let me lay it on the line for you and

your boss, whoever he is. Johnny Fontane will never get that movie! I don't care how many -

- daigo guinea WOP greaseball gumbahs come out of the woodwork!


I'm German-Irish...


Well let me tell you something my Kraut Mick friend, I'm gonna make so much trouble for

you, you won't know what hit you!


Mr. Woltz, I'm a lawyer, I have not threatened you.


I know almost every big lawyer in New York, who the hell are you?


I have a special practice; I handle one client -- Now you have my number; I'll wait for your

call -- By the way, I admire your pictures very much.

from the transcribed Puzo and Coppola script by J Geoff Malta


Though the last sentence of this scene clearly communicates Hayden's demeanor, what you don't see in mere text is that the Don's attorney wasn't touched by Woltz' insults and raised voice. Hayden had grown up with the Corleone boys and was practically a son to the Don. He had absolutely nothing to fear from this powerful producer and knew it. He was so confident that at the end of this encounter, though he's just been insulted and rebuffed, he's calm and collected enough to compliment Woltz on his body of work.

When it comes to matters of the Kingdom, we also can speak with such Olympic Calm. We serve the Creator of the universe and within the church against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. He has given us all that pertains to our life and we've no need to be anxious for anything.

There are surely critical times when love for God and others may demand that we raise our voice or endanger a relationship (and even here, there can be an inner calm born of our conviction and security). But many times, we are in a position to dispassionately stay above the controversy and be the voice of reason and perspective.

picture via MSNBC from Paramount

Saturday, July 30, 2005

the joys of personal publishing - a caution

In an earlier time, an editor or someone with a sober second thought would have looked at it before it was published in a boring journal that no one reads. Now we hit "publish" and the entire world knows.

jordon provides a wise cautionary ab blogging and the immediacy afforded by virtual technology.

Friday, July 29, 2005


music has provided a number of Godthreads for me. before i was a jesus-follower i think the closest i ever got to the feeling of transcendence in worship was at concerts.

lately, i've been totally enjoying xmradio and reconnecting with music. i haven't put it in a car yet; i'm listening to it thru my pc. i signed up for it - ab $8 a month - after trying it free for 3 days (you can try it without giving a credit card). the main reason i like it is that it's a great way to get exposed to new music.

if you try it, it works better if you listen to it thru windows media player 'cause you can use the built-in equalizer. also, be sure to set the settings to "high bandwidth" for better fidelity. it's not as good as what you get in your car (digital satellite) but it's pretty good.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 is no more

Because a couple of our most visited articles had been hosted at, I thought that I should post here that I've decided to let the domain go. In recent years I had been primarily using it for family pics and with the proliferation of multiple free sites avail for this nowadays, I don't even use it for that. So the following articles previously on have new locations that can be found by following the links below. I've put them on, which I'm in the processing of redesigning (with help) so for the moment below is the only location where you will find them linked.


jesus creed is gone! (hopeful just down).

scot is so prolific, i personally can't possibly keep up. but i want it back!

Alan Hirsch Speaks to the Forge Paper - Emergent Village Discussion

Stephen Said interviews Alan Hirsch in a podcast on this topic.

Report of McLaren Clarifying Theological Positions

An astonishingly wide-ranging summary of clarifications of Brian McLaren's theological positions can be found in a Paul Harrison Book Review of DA Carson's Becoming Emergent with the Emerging Church.

Brian also interacts directly with the Paul Harrison review here.

ht to Sivin Kit for the heads up.

Forge, Emergent and the Emerging Church

Duncan Macleod does a great around the room regarding the recent posting and then pulling of the Forge document in response to DA Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.

ht to Brother Maynard for drawing our attention to this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

i love tony sheng's blog because...

....while I'm writing about emerging he actually emerges.

you go tony!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

jen lemen exits

dj chuang archives for us jen lemen's last post.

jordon cooper

After being incredibly sick this last week, something is going wrong with Jordon's eyes. We don't know what it is but it is causing periods of blindness. The pain in his hands and feet has gotten worse. According to Jordon, it feels like Circa 1850 has been painted on his hand and feet and you have an idea of what it is like. Some other bad medical news has kind of dampened the mood around here.

wendy cooper updates us on jordon. pls keep praying.

wise words on marital fidelity and adultery

Perhaps in all our talk of romance and candlelight, we should re-emphasize that sometimes the romance is deferred, sometimes the fireworks are postponed. Perhaps rather than always pointing to the example of a sexy young married couple, we should point our older teenagers and young married couples to the eighty-seven year old man who has been wheeling his wife into the congregation every Sunday for thirty years, since she lost the use of her arms and legs in a stroke, or to the sixty year-old woman who faithfully shaves the face of her Alzheimer's-riddled husband, even as he curses and swats at a woman he doesn't remember.

russell moore reminds us of things forgotten and quite unfashionable.

Monday, July 25, 2005

An Exploration of the Emerging Church in the United States

When Will Sampson, Steve Knight, Nick Ciske, DJ Chuang, Aaron Flores and I recently served on a panel on blogging at the Internet Evangelism in the 21st Century Conference, I had the chance to visit some of the other presenter's modules. Aaron's on vlogging was one of the very finest.

He's decided to release to the public his recent graduate research on emergers in the US.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Brian McLaren Comments on DA Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church

Darryl Dash points out that Brian has commented on Dr. Carson's book on its Amazon page.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Todd Hunter on Realized Potential

What are places of realized potential?

The art of leadership is liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible. Thus the leader is the “servant” of his followers in that he removes the obstacles that prevent them from doing their job. In short, the true leader enables his or her followers to realize their full potential.
The driving force in our organizations ought not to be goal achievement or asset management or quantifiable growth, important as these are. Rather, our society badly needs organizations and people that move relentlessly toward reaching their potential.

Places of realized potential:

Are inclusive
Are open to change, contrary opinion, the mystery of potential, involvement, unsettling ideas and risk-taking
Offer people opportunity to grow
Offer the gift of challenging work
Shed obsolete baggage
Help people decide what needs to be measured
Heal people with trust, caring and “forgetfulness”
Leaders who create places of realized potential listen well and “see” what is really going on (pain, heartbreak, achievement)
Leaders of places of realized potential specialize in trust

Todd plays off Max DePree for a nice post.

We had earlier teased out a bit DePree's vision for holistic community here.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch response to DA Carson's Critique of the Emerging Church precipitates some controversy

andrew jones lets us know about the Australian group Forge's to DA Carson's latest book.

The original report has now been deleted as a result of the controversy it quickly precipitated.

Some thoughts:

I've been reading Willard Sterne Randall's book George Washington: A Life. One of the most significant American developments during Washington's two terms was the birth of the party system in the United States, with Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists on one side and their emphasis on a strong central government, and Thomas Jefferson and the Republicans (technically the Democratic-Republicans in distinction from the modern group) on the other who took a more minimalist view of federal control.

Washington just hated this.

He was very anti-party and was constantly working as a mediator between these opposing elements within his very own cabinet. He counseled his cabinet to remember that they were Americans first.

As long-time readers of emergesque and faithmaps and my Next-Wave articles know, I've done a bit of work consulting, training, teaching, and mediating in the area of conflict resolution. One of the personal results of that focus has been for me to strive to not be drawn into conflict in the first place. Some of this I learned from Brian McLaren himself who has and shows a commendable longing for the high road.

Sometimes conflict is unavoidable and sometimes, even, one should intentionally take actions that can reasonably be predicted to be controversial. But many, many times, different perspectives debilitate into conflicting egos. That - in my opinion - is what can make party so horrible and dangerous to both community and truth.

There is only one antidote: humility. This expresses itself

  • by focusing on the substance of what's being said and setting aside ego and party.
  • by provisionally and hypothetically assuming the other person is completely correct
  • by evaluating that hypothesis
  • by sifting out what is true and
  • either embrace it enthusiastically or - if necessary - to refute or, in many cases, both! Many times wholesale rejection of a point of view is inappropriate. Surely something of worth is being said.
Now, that being said, if you will read the comments on Andrew's original blog as they are developing through today, I think you will observe that we are beginning to see this humility on all sides. Bravo!

I originally wrote The Emerging Storm to suggest ways the ec might handle critique from without. It's obvious that we will need to use the same principles (and others) to handle critique from within!

I suggest how we handle the controversy may be more important than that the controversy itself.

A Poll for Readers of Emergesque

Would you in comments let me know with which of these statements you agree?

Statement #1 - Stephen, most of the time when you link to folks, I already have seen it because you tend to link a lot to A-List Emerging Church Bloggers.

Statement #2 - Stephen, thanks for your linking because it usually is the first time I'm seeing whatever it is that you are talking about.

Thanks everyone. I just don't want to waste your time with redundant linking.

And I think this may be the very first time I've posted something and not linked to anything!! :)

New Blogger: Ben Witherington III

si johnston lets us know that ben witherington - professor of new testament at asbury theological seminary and author - has entered the blogosphere.

see his full cv here and his website.

And now he can add to his cv a really cool review of the Fantastic Four.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Breaking News: Scottie Beams Up

James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and movies who responded to the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died Wednesday. He was 85.


the size of the gospel

I'm less afraid of a big gospel than I am of a little gospel.

Scot McKnight invites us to an interesting exercise.

I just received today from Amazon Scot's Jesus Creed. I have a little Wenger leather notepad that I carry everywhere with me in my back pocket. I had just finished writing down a quote from Rick Warren that Scot includes in his book:

Live minus love equals zero.
The best use of life is love.
The best expression of love is time.
The best time to love is now.

when my youngest - Alia Noelle (5) - walked up to me:

Daddy, want to play cards?

You can guess my response.

Thanks Scot.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

darren rouse is making $10,000 a month blogging

jordon helpfully provides us with the heads up ab this.

The ESV folks suggest...

...a very fine idea.

Monday, July 18, 2005

the 50 most influential churches

The 2005 survey was sent to 2,000 church leaders with the goal of ranking the nation’s fastest growing churches and churches with more than 2,000 weekend attendance. The 127 churches nominated for the 50 Most Influential Churches survey were located in 32 states and represented 27 affiliation groups and/or denominations. The term affiliation is used to include networks of unaffiliated, independent churches.

steve mccoy points us to church report's list.

the one commercial...

...was nominated for an emmy!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

the emerging church, emergent and the uk

jason clark posts some affirmations, focus points, and values in response to a June Emergent-UK gathering. he also links to a history of emergent in the uk which I had never noticed before.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

jesus outside the box

after starting out as an anonymous blog, rebecca has finally outed herself as one of my best friends.


Friday, July 15, 2005

the calvinists take on emergent village

andrew jones expresses a nuanced appreciation of Modern Reformation's recent issue devoted entirely to emergent village. He notes

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The 50 Best Christian Places to Work

in case you're looking...

according to Christianity Today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Clinton goes Transpo

"If you come to my meeting, at the end I want you to make a commitment," Clinton said. "If we did one of these every year at the opening of the UN ... and these commitments were made and kept for a decade, I think it would change the world."


New Wiki Defn of "Emerging Church"

Andrew Jones lets us know about this and likes it.

bono, geldof and one react to G8's plans to double aid

you can find all the reactions on the blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Gift of Poverty

The gift of my family's poverty is that I am discovering what really matters. And, for the most part, what matters isn't stuff. I don't miss buying clothes or eating out very much. I do miss going out on dates with my husband and traveling. I've discovered that experiences and relationships are what really matter to me.

In a similar way, the poverty of soul I experienced while in the institutional church was a poverty of meaningful experiences and authentic, intimate relationships.

I was surrounded by church-stuff: programs, big buildings, professional staff... and in their midst I wandered around lost, trying to articulate my grief. I didn't need a program. I didn't need a small group or outreach event. I didn't need praise choruses, self-help sermons or free coffee and donuts. I needed to experience God.

I eventually did find God, but it was outside of church....

jesus outside the box has some great things to say
in response to her reading of Affluenza.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bono posts to One Blog

10 million people alive by 2010, saved from malaria, from death by a mosquito bite. That's just one part of this. $25 billion for Africa. To the 1.4 million people who joined ONE. To the million people who turned up at the museum in Philly: You did that!


jordon update

According to the doctors, the neuropathic pain (pain in my nerve endings) is permanent and chronic.

pls pray for jordon cooper.

jesus outside of the box

rebecca has been reading jason's blog and has some interesting things to say.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

you can get the christian out of the church, but can you get the church out of the christian?

i realize that what jason clark wrote today might make some folks mad, but it did remind me of a brian mclaren statement made some time ago in reference to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book Life Together.

Bonhoeffer wisely warns Christians about the dangers of “wish-dreams” about community, ideals and dreams of community that become idolatrous, tempting one to love the ideal or dream more than one loves the actual people in one’s community. Having switched our focus of affection from the people themselves (with all their faults, annoyances, and idiosyncracies), and having bonded instead to our ideal or wish-dream, we are tempted to hate the people who fail to cooperate in seeing our ideal fulfilled as we might wish. Thus we blame them for sabotaging our vision of ideal (or authentic, or Biblical, or whatever other adjective identifies we might insert) community, blinding ourselves to the self-sabotaging hatred or resentment that lies within our own heart, all the while waving the banner of our ideal in “righteous” indignation.

as I told one of my dearest friends yesterday, the church is screwed up 'cause I'm screwed up - but I believe - actually I've staked my life on - that neither are screwed up irredeemably.

the post-emerging church?

for me, i am leaning towards the "postemerging.

john o'keefe recently posted his thoughts on the post-emerging church.

andrew jones responds with

As for the concept of "post-emerging" (Ginkworld), it may be helpful to think of emerging church in 3 stages:
1. Submerging - those going deep into culture to listen, think, pray, and share the gospel among the emerging culture.
2. Emerging - When the new church structures begin to rise up and take shape organically inside the culture, a process that will often be described as having "emergent characteristics" and displaying "emergent behavior".
3. Converging - When the new church structures begin to connect to the other existing structures, local and global, and form part of the web that is the body of Christ.
Of course, if you present these options to churches, they will normally choose the one that is most advanced and complete, no matter where they are in this process. But it might help those who have been going 15 years and are now part of the church fabric, despite growing up with emerging culture people.

We had also addressed this earlier in a Next-Wave article - The emerging church, the church, and the post-emerging church

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Emerging Church, Part One
July 8, 2005 Episode no. 845

Dan Brennan, one of the 'mappers, just let me know that the transcript for this recent PBS special is now online.

Vintage Catalyst 2005

Some of the Speakers are

Friday, July 08, 2005

Live 8 Artists on Demand

America Online has put up videos of various Live8 artists on their site.

Help for Africa from the G8

With a last-minute pledge from Japan, Blair won a key victory, announcing that aid to Africa would rise from the current $25 billion annually to $50 billion by 2010.

In a separate joint statement on terrorism, the leaders pledged to new joint efforts to combat terrorism in light of the London bombings. Among those commitments was cooperating in ways to improve the safety of rail and subway travel.

Blair lost his push to get all summit countries to commit to boosting foreign aid to an amount equal to 0.7 percent of national income by 2015. Instead, a summit document said the European Union had agreed to that support but did not mention the United States.

President Bush had refused to be bound by the 0.7 percent target. The United States is currently giving 0.16 percent of national income, the smallest percentage of any of the G-8 countries.

AP Reports on this development from the G8 meeting in Scotland

Reminder: The Emerging Church on PBS

"Washington, D.C., June 27, 2005 - RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, the award-winning newsmagazine program hosted by Bob Abernethy and produced by Thirteen/WNET, will present a special series on a new movement in Protestant Christianity -- "The Emerging Church" -- to be included in programs distributed Friday July 8 and July 15 to PBS stations nationwide at 5 p.m. ET (check local listings)

In this two-part report, correspondent Kim Lawton examines how some evangelical and mainline Protestants are rethinking Christianity for a new generation."

Anthony Jones reminds us. More on this can be found here.

The London Bombing

I cant help but notice that the nations most terrible bombing on Thursday came immediately after its greatest commitment to justice on Wednesday, an incredible high peak of a nation acting godly and committing itself to a scale of justice and generosity never seen before. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Andrew Jones comments. turns 10

This week marks's 10th anniversary.

We interview's CEO Jeff Bezos.

It's difficult for me to believe that a company that - quite frankly - has become such a big part of my life is only a decade old.'s Advanced Search Page is one of only 11 Bookmarks in my Firefox Bookmarks Toolbar. Often when I am researching a specific topic, I do a search sorting by most purchased book. I also rely a good bit on the reader reviews. And more and more, I buy used books through

The other day a friend of mine talked about having a hard time finding a particular book in any local bookstore. I gave a quizzical look; such talk to me is as archaic as complaining that wooden spokes are loose on the covered wagon.

I also find it fascinating that as the cost of information is declining, the previous generation's primary information medium - the book - continues to go on strong. Just as the VCR only increased the appetite for movies in the theatre, despite much hand wringing, so also the internet seems to have increased the appetite for books.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Creator of The Stockdale Paradox Dies

During the Vietnam War, [James] Stockdale was a Navy fighter pilot based on the USS Oriskany and flew 201 missions before he was shot down on Sept. 9, 1965. He became the highest-ranking naval officer captured during the war, the Navy said.

Stockdale was taken to Hoa Lo Prison, known as the "Hanoi Hilton." His shoulders were wrenched from their sockets, his leg had been shattered by angry villagers and a torturer, and his back was broken. But he refused to capitulate.

Rather than allow himself to be used in a propaganda film, Stockdale smashed his face into a pulp with a mahogany stool.

"My only hope was to disfigure myself," Stockdale wrote in his 1984 autobiography "In Love and War." The ploy worked, but he spent the next two years in leg irons.

After Ho Chi Minh's death, he broke a glass pane in an interrogation room and slashed his wrists until he passed out in his own blood. After that, captors relented in their harsh treatment of him and his fellow prisoners.

See the Washington Post Obituary

"Who am I? Why am I here?"

It's sad that this significant man is today mostly remembered for these words during a VP debate when he was Ross Perot's running mate rather than for the true achievements of his life.

My primary introduction to James Stockdale came not from Perot but from Jim Collins in his wonderful Good to Great where he talked about The Stockdale Paradox. We briefly mentioned this in our bullet point summary of Good to Great and, primarily, in our earlier comparison of the Stockdale Paradox and the "Flexible Optimism" of Dr. Martin Seligman.

In a nutshell the Stockdale Paradox marries a hard look at the cold realities of the current situation with an absolute commitment that all will work out well in the long run. Stockdale said that the folks that died in POW camp were not those who said, "We'll get out by Christmas" but rather those who said, "We'll get out but I have no clue when."

Admiral Stockdale will be missed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Pink Floyd @ Live8

I'm perfectly aware that the purpose and significance of Live8 extended far beyond the interesting reunion after 20 years of Pink Floyd. Nevertheless, Floyd fans might be interested in the audio interviews of David Gilmore and Nick Mason about the event available here.

The Motivation for the English Standard Version

We thought that, in the providence of God, there was room for a Bible translation that would be committed for a word-for-word or essentially literal philosophy of translation, but that still tried, perhaps more accurately than any previous translation, to maintain clarity and readability and beauty in the English language.

We’re thankful for all of those other translations, and I know that they have been used by God. But we’re hopeful that this one might even, by God’s blessing, be somewhat of an improvement—certainly in clarity, and in accuracy, and in beauty and readability. When all those factors are taken together, that could then become a Bible that would be used throughout the church. There wouldn’t be just one Bible for children and another one for one denomination or another denomination, or this generation or that, but an accurate and readable Bible that could be used by all generations: in a church, it could be used in Sunday School classes, it could be used in adult Bible studies, it could be used for meditating and memorizing, and then could be used for the public preaching text of the church as well.

So that then, if a church goes this route and has one standard Bible used throughout the church—that the pastor is preaching from that Bible, the adults are studying from that Bible in their Bible studies, the children are memorizing from that Bible (not that they wouldn’t consult other translations from time to time as well). But there would be a standard base of a reliable translation that people would gain familiarity with throughout the church. And we think it would be a wonderful benefit to churches if that would happen.

Wayne Grudem on the ESV Blog

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Brian McLaren (briefly) responds to Al Mohler and DA Carson

...on his website, primarily by pointing to the responses of others.

Are you Out of Control?

Great quote from Rick Warren:

"If there is an area of your life that you can't talk about, then it's out of control"

ht to Rich Johnson

Monday, July 04, 2005

Next Wave Interview of Emergent Village's New National Coordinator

And let's be honest, it sounds pretty arrogant to claim to be a movement. On the other hand, I think we have to remember that perception is reality. The fact that all of the recent media attention has basically bequeathed the title "movement" upon all of us. Many from within existing church bodies and structures as well as those who have been disenfranchised with the American church talk about the influence that Emergent has had upon their faith, and you can imagine the number of emails I get that begin, "I work at what I would consider an 'emergent' church in Anytown, USA." Personally, I think that's great, and I have been won over to Brian's opinion that if a person or a church claims to be Emergent, we say, Welcome aboard!"

Charlie Wear interviews Tony Jones.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Ken Archer Reviews DA Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church


  • First, Carson’s favorable portrait of the realist option, as based in a Christian evangelical project led by Descartes whose sole error lay in overestimating what finite humans can know, overlooks serious issues with this option that any new synthesis must deal with.

  • Second, Carson's third way beyond the false antithesis of absolute realism and subjectivism - what he calls soft postmodernism - is no third way at all, as it avoids answering the tough questions of either realism or subjectivism.

  • Third, an obvious place to search for a third way out of the modern-postmodern antithesis – premodern thought – is obscured by Carson’s quick and faulty presentation of premodern thought.

  • Fourth, Carson critiques a primarily pastoral movement, the Emerging Church, for what is a failure of academics.

Ken Archer, posts his full review of Carson's latest book.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

extreme contingency

you're already walking on water; don't be distracted by the wind.

28And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Matthew 14:28-33 (English Standard Version)

The other night as I felt myself slipping a little deeper into my foxhole I was reading through Matthew and really felt that the Lord had directed me to this particular gospel pericope. As I walked away from the text, I meditated on the importance of keeping my eyes on Jesus not matter what dangerous distractions I find in my environment.

But it occurred to me this morning that even though Peter became frightened by the wind, he was still walking on water. In other words, the wind itself didn't really make his situation more tenuous than it already was!

Similarly, whether we are conscious of it or not, we all are always extremely contingent on God - for every heartbeat, for every breath, for every bite of food, even for our desire for Him. Wisdom and peace come simply as we make ourselves aware of this fact, coupled with our acceptance of God's outrageous love for us. As the winds whip up and we do not sink, we are simply given more ample evidence of our contingency.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Emergent Matrix: A New Kind of Church
“We realized very early on that we weren’t going to find the intellectual resources we needed in the evangelical world, so we were either going to have to create them or borrow them,” notes McLaren. “And it turned out that a lot of us were reading the same people, who would be more respected in the mainline world, such as Walter Brueggemann, J├╝rgen Moltmann and Stanley Hauerwas. What happened is we started to identify ourselves as postconservative and then we found out that there was almost a parallel movement going on in the postliberal world. And the affinities that we had were very, very strong.” ...

Emergent evangelicals had bumped up against the limits of what George Lindbeck has called their “cognitive-propositional” approach to doctrine—faith as assent to propositional truths—but unlike earlier generations they no longer believed their only other option was to become traditionally “liberal.” Postliberalism, with its emphasis on culture and language, narrative and community, character and virtue, opened possibilities for being theologically serious and doctrinally orthodox while avoiding the restrictive biblicism of the evangelical world.

The challenges faced by evangelicals and mainliners are in some ways mirror images of each other. McLaren observes that “conservatives tend to be rigid theologically and promiscuous pragmatically and liberals tend to be rigid methodologically and a lot more free theologically.” His proposal is simple: “Maybe we could trade.”

interesting article by Scott Bader-Saye, associate professor in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Scranton, on

Alan Jamieson joins Prodigal Kiwi

Paul Fromont invites Alan Jamieson - the author of Churchless Faith - to join his blog.

ht to jordon.

the future of the southern baptist convention

michael spencer posts an interesting and wide-ranging post on the future of the sbc. i found the post to be educational in terms of the internal dynamics of the southern baptists.

iowa becomes one!

Today Governor Vilsack of Iowa signed a proclamation making Iowa the first State of ONE.

the one blog announces.

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.

Proverbs 29:7 (NIV)

If you haven't seen the amazing one video, pls click here.