Emergent in the United States @ 5 Years
Will Sampson points us to a Tony Jones post where he talks about one of the first emergent meetings five years ago and shares some notes from that meeting.
I see some special people around this table. Five years ago, I was a pastor on staff with Cedar Ridge Community Church with Brian McLaren, who is one of the top 2 most positive influences on my life. (I was on staff @ crcc for ab 18 months; I had gone to church there since 1988.).
And about a year ago, God blessed me with a new friend, Todd Hunter, who graciously invited me to do some consultation with him as he was first diving into Alpha.
May the souls of emergent village bless Christ's church, the emerging church within her, and God's kingdom.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
while we need to do everything we can to fight mere propositionalism, transpropositionality is not the same as anti-propositionality. andrew's recent encouragement about scripture memorization is a crucial reminder of this.
Posted by Stephen at 5/31/2005 12:00:00 AM
Monday, May 30, 2005
beth and I have decided to get involved in one.org after viewing their great video. on Wed 1 June, one or both of us (depending on if we can get someone to keep our little ones) are going to hear Bread for the World President David Beckmann and former Ambassador of Madagascar, Shirley Barnes speak @ the One in a Billion event in the District.
my background is evangelical, so a lot of my Christian experience has been proposition-centric (I paint with broad brush regarding both my background and evangelicalism!). beth's leading me there as, to her credit, she's always been more transpropositionally-minded than me. (i was initially attracted to beth because 1) she wanted to take a greek class I was teaching and 2) she had just started a ministry to the homeless in DC called heartreach!) that's the me motive.
the more obvious and important motive is that there's a tremendous need that a lot of folks from both the right and and left are seeking to address under the rubric of one.org.
Bread for the World has a great page on Poverty and World Hunger.
We'll report on Wednesday's event after.
Posted by Stephen at 5/30/2005 11:16:00 AM
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Monday, May 23, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Saturday, May 21, 2005
A Sincere Thanks to Steve Knight...
of knightopia for the fine job he did guest blogging here while I was out of pocket. I can tell he did a great job writing in an emergesque vein!
Pls be sure to visit knightopia to see steve's own unique corner of the ec blogoshere.
Posted by Stephen at 5/21/2005 10:47:00 AM
Thursday, May 19, 2005
< / Guest Blogging>
That post title (above) is for all you techno-dweebs out there. (I had to put the spaces in to get it to "appear," sorry!) Well, I've enjoyed my week of guest blogging over here for Mr. Stephen Shields. I greatly appreciate his confidence and trust in me to keep from sinking the Emergesque ship while he's been galavanting around Disney World with his family. Most of all, I appreciate his friendship and his wisdom. Although we don't swim in the same social/public space, we do share a strong personal connection that includes a mutual love for Warehouse 242 and disambiguous soteriology. Anyhoo, I hope you'll come visit me sometime over at Knightopia—it's like utopia, except ... it's Knightopia ... umm, yeah.
Posted by Steve K. at 5/19/2005 06:16:00 PM
New Site "Emerges" from ABS/ForMinistry
The "big" announcement at today's blogger lunch/forum during the Nashville EmergentCon was the "pre-launch" of http://emerging.forministry.com/, a new website currently under development by American Bible Society's ForMinistry.com division. DJ Chuang says the website "will serve to invite conversations around the Scriptures." Feedback is welcome, as ForMinistry desires to "better serve the wider church in its life of faith as readers of the Bible, dialoguing with it and around it in community." Knowing the people behind this new site, I'm sure it will be a valuable resource for the emerging/missional church and the larger Body of Christ. Thanks ABS/ForMinistry!
Posted by Steve K. at 5/19/2005 05:51:00 PM
20,000+ Neo-Apostolic Networks
Continuing the theme of "new monasticism," I've been struck recently with how a book written by two missiologists, Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost, and published in 2003 called The Shaping of Things to Come has suddenly started to pop up in a lot of my friends' hands recently. Hirsch is quoted in last week's Friday Fax discussing his forthcoming book Apostolic Genius in which he talks about some "extremely notable, even astonishing" research:
According to Professor David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson, there were already 111 million Christians without a traditional local church in 2001. Barrett highlights particularly the development of the so-called "Neo-Apostolic" networks and movements, of which there are already over 20,000 around the world, numbering around 394 million Christians. According to Barrett, these Christians reject historical denominationalism and all restrictive central authority, and attempt to lead a life of following Jesus, seeking a more effective missionary lifestyle. They are the fastest-growing Christian movements in the world. Barrett estimates that by the year 2025, these movements will have around 581 million members, 120 million more than all Protestant movements together.
Hirsh, who has invited all of Australia's missionary movements to a conference in Victoria (Forge National Summit, 1-3 July 2005), confirms the trend from his own experience, and believes that these new Christian movements "are simply under the radar of traditional Christianity," at least as long as it holds on to the classical Constantine church structure (pastor + building + programme = church). Source: Alan Hirsch, www.forge.org.au (emphasis added)
Posted by Steve K. at 5/19/2005 07:58:00 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
May the Force Be With You
A little Star Wars/liturgy humor there for you on the eve of the release of the final film in the Star Wars series, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Kevin D. Hendricks (I predict the next blogger to make Darren Rouse kind of money) is selling the T-shirt.
Posted by Steve K. at 5/18/2005 08:07:00 PM
The New Friars
Enough about EmergentCon already, let's talk about Urbana: The website for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s triennial student mission conference has a great archive of articles on evangelism and missions, including a piece called "The New Friars" that connects with the whole conversation about new monasticism.
There is just something about denying the call to suburban affluence that seems to a spiritually starved soul to be a good thing to do: Fast from materialism and binge on relationship with the poor.
Living as Jesus and his followers the semi-homeless life of simplicity among society's dregs, at least for a season has something that beckons the idealist. And many seem to be turning the ideal into the real.
Posted by Steve K. at 5/18/2005 07:54:00 AM
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
EmergentCon On for 2007
On the eve of the final Emergent/YS co-op conference in Nashville, plans for a 2007 Emergent Convention appear to already be in the works. Launched after the San Diego Emergent Convention in February, the 07Event planning blog explains the event will be tailored for 2,000-3,000 people, most likely in Portland or New York City (despite Dan Hughes' 12 Reasons EmergentCon should coincide with SXSW in Austin, TX).
In his initial 07Event post, Doug Pagitt explains, "I think we are at a crucial point with a brief window of being able to turn the public perception of Emergent from the Brand to a catalytic network of friendships and these events may help that" (emphasis added).
Posted by Steve K. at 5/17/2005 07:55:00 AM
Monday, May 16, 2005
Vaux No More?
Jonny Baker confirms the end of services at Vaux, an influential community in the UK. According to the Vaux site, they are "currently undergoing a time of re-emergence." The Vaux Greyspace is still a great resource with an archive of wonderful liturgies and thoughts on alt-worship.
Posted by Steve K. at 5/16/2005 12:05:00 PM
Rob Williams is trying to get the highest ranking in Google for the word triperspectival. I understand his desire to be #1. I'm currently sitting at the top of the heap on Google for "disambiguous soteriology." And Stephen Shields is rightfully in first place with "transpropositional." Anyone else out there proud of their Google rankings and care to share the news?
BTW - Here's a new term I stumbled across on Google while researching this post: Fristianity. Defined (on one message board) as "the bastardization of Christianity for political partisan purposes that are wholly antithetical to virtually every precept of Christianity/Christian doctrine." Ouch! Gotta love Google though: "Did you mean: Christianity"
Posted by Steve K. at 5/16/2005 07:53:00 AM
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Grid Blog/Blog Swarm
Today, May 15, is the day that a couple interesting things are happening in the blogosphere. First, Bob Carlton has organized a Pentecost Grid Blog to celebrate Pentecost. He describes grid blogging as "a kind of decentralized flash mobbing for the mind ... a synchronized guerrilla sharing carried out across a forest of blogs." Andrew Jones gives a nice history of how grid blogging has been "a great example of emergent leadership on the blogosphere, in particular among theoblogians." The goal was to have 120 bloggers from all over the world, in as many different languages as possible. At last count, 62 had signed up.
Second, Brad Hightower (who commented on my "New Monasticism" post) points us to a blog swarm to raise awareness about Darfur, Sudan, culminating today over at Allthings2all. Keep an eye on that site for an upcoming post with tons of links to bloggers talking about the genocide in Sudan.
Posted by Steve K. at 5/15/2005 11:12:00 PM
The Last Emergent Convention "Of This Kind"
So when Stephen originally asked me to guest blog for him this week, it did not register that this is the week of Emergent's convention in Nashville, May 18-21. This is officially the last convention "of this kind" to be hosted by Emergent U.S. I actually crashed the Nashville convention last year, and it was well worth it. Fortunately, the convention site will once again be linking to Emergent bloggers on site.
Posted by Steve K. at 5/15/2005 08:03:00 AM
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Andrew Jones pulls out a nice quote from Brian McLaren's recent Q&A on TallSkinnyKiwi.com:
"I am not questioning Scripture, Jesus, or his teaching. I am questioning the conventional understanding of them ... this is an important distinction."
Posted by Steve K. at 5/14/2005 09:10:00 PM
Worship in the Spirit of Justice
Cedar Ridge Community Church is organizing five Sunday afternoon worship gatherings, June 12-July 10, in various locations around Washington, D.C. Entitled "Worship in the Spirit of Justice," these gatherings will be centered around "the theme of justice and peace in Africa, and especially
Posted by Steve K. at 5/14/2005 07:17:00 AM
Friday, May 13, 2005
A lot of buzz about "new monasticism" right now, it seems. Andrew Jones tells us the subject came up often in conversation during the recent Allelon-sponsored consultation at Fuller Seminary. On May 9 Alan Creech announced his plans to form "an intentional rural monastic community" near Lexington, Kentucky. Will Samson is also getting ready to move his family into a new monastic community in Kentucky, near Asbury.
Posted by Steve K. at 5/13/2005 07:47:00 PM
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Michael Horton and Andrew Jones: A Refreshing Conversation
Andrew lets us know that Michael Horton has responded to Andrew's earlier comments about Horton's interview on the ec.
Posted by Stephen at 5/12/2005 11:50:00 AM
An Emergesque Guest Blogger: Steve Knight of Knightopia
Sometime tomorrow, Beth, Michaela Siobhan (9), Skye Teresa (7), Alia Noelle (5), and Beth's mom Mardell Marcolina and I are flying to Orlando to visit Disney World! We'll be back on Friday 20 May. Rather than letting Emergesque fall dark, I'm delighted to announce that Steve Knight of Knightopia has graciously agreed to guest blog here! I've had the opportunity to spend time with Steve on a couple of occasions including our recent stint on the Blogging Panel at the recent Internet Evangelism in the 21st Century Conference and I know emergesque readers will enjoy his links and thoughts!
Posted by Stephen at 5/12/2005 07:52:00 AM
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Happy Birthday to the Faithmaps Community
I just realized that on Monday 16 May, after 40,703 messages (an average of 847 a month) and over 350 members the faithmaps online community will turn four years old.
I began this group in May of 2001 just after I had resigned from being a part-time pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church (where Brian McLaren pastors) after realizing that working 2 jobs with 3 children, a wife, and diabetes wasn't the smartest thing in the world for my health or family. Building faithmaps.org and starting this community helped me thru my recovery process (my health had taken a hit after doing 60-80 hours for ... I think it was 18 mos) and has remained an enriching exercise ever since. I've particularly enjoyed the sometimes online faithstories small groups we've started from time to time and the intimacy that has developed there. It's a wonderful community with some amazing people and it's expanded beyond my ability to keep up with it!
Happy Birthday 'mappers!
Regarding the faithmaps website itself, a friend of mine who's a professional web developer has redesigned the site and I'll put posting it sometime soon.
(More to come on this later, but I'm posting this today because next week I will be somewhere else and out-of-pocket!)
Posted by Stephen at 5/11/2005 08:06:00 AM
Brennan on DA Carson and the Emerging Storm
Dan Brennan begins his analysis of DA Carson's new book Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.
Dan has been a 'mapper for the last 4 years and recently began blogging. He's a voracious reader and is invariably interesting in his comments.
Posted by Stephen at 5/11/2005 08:03:00 AM
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible
is available today according to Renovare.
- See the Amazon.com link.
- You can view a video preview of this new resource.
- In the March 2005 Renovare Newsletter, Richard Foster speaks to "The With-God Life" which Renovare characterizes as the "organizing principle" of their the Spiritual Formation Bible.
- In this November 2004 letter, Richard Foster expresses his heart over the project and tells something of the history of this Study Bible's development.
- On Harper's site, you can read some endorsements.
Posted by Stephen at 5/10/2005 12:03:00 AM
Monday, May 09, 2005
In the Foxhole - Part X
Abide in the Vine Redux and Back to Theology
Part 1 - Strength before Strength
Part 2 - Pain as Teacher
Part 3 - Waiting
Part 4 - Strength in Christ
Part 5 - Learned Optimism
Part 6 - Abide in the Vine
Part 7 - Practising His Presence
Part 8 - Avoiding a Monomaniacal Focus
Part 9 - Maintaining a Theocentric Mindset
In Part VIII of this series, "Avoiding a Monomaniacal Focus," I wrote about the importance of not making the thing you are struggling with while in the FoxHole the center of your thought and life. I freely confess that this has been my primary challenge in this process. I should have found remedy to this struggle in truths spoken of in Part VI of this series, "Abiding in Vine." But while I understand this cognitively, I had not yet experienced it as a remedy. But I have recently found some assistance in this tension.
A few weeks ago I grabbed an old book I read years ago to review again as I travelled to Denver for work: They Found the Secret by V Raymond Edman.
The book speaks from the perspective of the Exchanged Life, a term first coined by the son of Hudson Taylor. It details the stories of several people who have had some kind of deeper experience with Christ that became life changing.
Edman writes, ""The details of their experience of the crisis of the deeper life are delightfully different, yet their testimony to the reality of the joy and power of the Spirit-filled life is unanimous . . . It is [the Lord] who satisfies the longing soul. He is the secret of the exchanged life!"
I still am learning about this specific movement, so without necessarily endorsing everything it stands for, I can nevertheless say that I have been finding this book very helpful. One thing that it's done for me is to lead me to believe that I have been missing something at the very heart of what John means by Abiding in the Vine. Reading the stories of the men and women's struggles chronicled in They Found the Secret connected two thoughtthreads that I had not previously pulled together - that of Strength in Christ and Abiding the Vine.
While it might seem obvious to most emergesque readers, I think that I've been missing this central core of what John means by "Abiding in the Vine":
We abide in the Vine Who is Jesus to the degree that we yield ourselves to the strength of the One who is within us.
A central passage to this concept is found in Paul's letter to the folks in Galatia.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (ESV, emphasis mine)
The key here to releasing the Christlife within us is our faith in Christ (and it's quite all right if some of you say, "Duh").
This connecting of
our Strength in Christ
Abiding in the Vine
through the bridge concept (for me) of
Jesus in me
that's realized thru
faith in Him
has become for me a central godthread in my FoxHole.
The last part of this thread - faith in Jesus - has led me to the realization that I have been thinking too much about the bridge and not enough about the destination. Let me explain.
Parts of the bridge for me in this FoxHole would be the Abiding in the Vine theme, the Strength in Christ meme, etc. I've realized that focusing on these bridges too much runs the risk of collapsing true religion down to mere propositionalism.
The way that I can transpropositionalize these godthreads is by focusing my heart and mind on what's on the other side of these throughbridges: God Himself.
Something AW Tozer wrote somewhere has been helpful to me in this regard. Tozer talks about the eye that forgets itself because it's lost in contemplation of its Beloved.
I need to move my gaze from the bridge to Who's on the other side. That is faith. My focus in FoxHole needs to be entirely on God and on Who He is. This is Abiding in Vine. This focus and faith releases the Strength of Christ inside of me thru the Holy Spirit.
Another picture in this regard that's been helpful to me is that of a servant in the hall of a great king. In the presence of such a king, the servant is aware of the monarch's riches, of his power and of his wisdom. The servant is aware of the great accomplishments and great future plans this ruler has for his kingdom. The servant knows that the king cares for him and loves him, but realizes that the kings concerns are so much greater than his and that they, in fact, encompass his concerns. The servant is so overwhelmed by the king's greatness that he does not even think of his own concerns. Or, rather, the servant is so mindful of the king's wisdom and power that he knows without even having to consciously think about it that the king will take care of his concerns. He is confident in his king.
My constant talk about transpropositionality notwithstanding, this has, ironically, brought me back to thinking more about theology, specifically, Theology Proper (or the Doctrine of God Himself), but thinking about it in a different way. I have actually been pulling down my Systematic Theologies again and focusing my reading on God's communicable and incommunicable attributes. But now as I read I need to think, "This is the God Who is with me right now! This is the God Who is inside of me. This is the God who is working around me." It is leading to more holistic and integrated theological reflection that is simultaneously devotional.
That I'm on the right track is suggested to me by the emphasis on "knowledge of God" that I've been seeing in the New Testament. If faith is primary, the such an emphasis would make complete sense. Consider
3"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sentJohn 17:3 (all citations New American Standard Bible)
Notice the centrality of knowledge in Paul's amazing prayer where he says
15For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,
16do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of)wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His)calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.Eph. 1:15-19a (emphasis mine)
and then Paul's profound prayer
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18may be able to comprehend with (ll the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
20Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (emphasis mine)
I believe that God's desire is that this FoxHole would precipitate my moving to a new level of relationship with Him. So far, I am writing and thinking about this new level better than I am living it. But I'm encouraged because I'm also very hungry for this new level; and I regard that hunger as an implicit promise of satiation.
Posted by Stephen at 5/09/2005 06:59:00 AM
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Saturday, May 07, 2005
The Emerging Stor...er...Rain
and remember, rain can be a good thing
Its not everyday that you hear a gracious and honorable critique of the emerging church by a thinking person. But I found one.
Andrew Jones expresses appreciation and provides a summary of Michael Horton's recent critique of ec.
Posted by Stephen at 5/07/2005 09:33:00 AM