Wednesday, August 31, 2005

the problem and the metaproblem

That which happens in life is not as important as how you accept it.

Mark riddle points us to a great quote by Walter Brueggemann.

The quote reminded me of a great George Stephanopoulos story that he shares in his wonderful All Too Human.

It was just after Clinton decided that he no longer wished for Stephanopoulos to be his communications director. It really threw Stephanopoulos for a loop but what turned out to be a lodestar for him through his transition to a new White House role was the advise of Rep. Tony Coelho:

Nobody will remember what happened to you. They'll remember how you handled it.

This quote has been enormously helpful to me as it specifically has come to mind in the midst of such troubling situations.

There's always the problem, the presenting situation, and the metaproblem, how we handle it. It's very easy for us to focus exclusively on the former without realizing that focus on the latter is even more necessary.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Giving Help to the Survivors of "America's Tsunami"

As of Monday, at least 12,200 people were in shelters across the southern portion of the state [Mississippi], said MEMA public information officer Mick Bullock. He noted that number was expected to rise as more people are rescued from their flooded homes.

CNN link

Beth and I gave something to assist the survivors of Katrina in what the mayor of Biloxi is calling "America's Tsunami" and we wish to ask readers of emergesque to consider giving as well.

Links gathered from Fox News and MSNBC:

photo by john hay

Knight Ridder Piece on the Emerging Church

Brother Maynard draws our attention to a piece that The Ledger (Lakeland, FL) ran a couple of Sundays ago on the emerging church.

I think I read once that when you are deeply involved in something and then the news media covers it, that you see how sometimes major news media miss the nuances. In a similar connection, the Baltimore Sun recently ran a treatment on Brian McLaren (Cedar Ridge is in their backyard) and Brian posted some corrections on his site.

While the Paul Nussbaum article didn't do a bad job at capturing some of the emerging church ethos, it missed the mark in some ways. That may have very well been the writer simply following the direction he was given by one or more of his interviewees.

  • there's no distinction drawn in the article between between emergent and the emerging church. As Jason Clark said earlier this year, "Emergent is not the emerging church." Of course, it is a very influential subset as an formal organization.
  • this might not be an error because it's a subjective call, but the article calls emergent a movement. Some would dispute this.
  • those two statements cascade when tony jones is declared the coordinator of the movement, something he would likely be the first to deny!
  • It states that Brian "questions the existence of hell." Similarly, in the Baltimore Sun article mentioned above, the author there wrote, "To the horror of many evangelicals, he [Brian McLaren] questions the idea of hell..." On his site, Brian responds, "Her statement makes it sound like I'm simply rejecting or discounting the Bible's teaching on hell, which I would never do. What I do question is the conventional teaching on hell - and I question this based on the Bible."
These points being made, overall it gives a descriptive picture of the emerging church.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Correction to "A New Kind of Conversation" Post

Hunter Barnes helpfully corrected:

...this is Hunter Barnes checking in. Thanks for posting about the new blog-book; we can't believe the attention our little blog release has already stirred up. I wanted to make an important correction in your post though. The Myron Penner you have linked is not "the" Myron Penner. You have Myron A Penner from Trinity Western. The Myron Penner in this project is Myron B. Penner, believe it or not. Myron B. Penner is a Philosopher and Kierkegaard scholar who also happens to lives and teaches in Western Canada, in this case, Alberta. Thanks again for telling folks about the project. cheers.

I've corrected the original post and thanks Hunter!

a neo-feminist's view of abstinence

Handsome Man at a Bar, you think I'm cute? Thanks. Do you appreciate me or the idea of having sex with me? Because your thinking has likely been influenced by the cavortings of Samantha and Co. in the "city" or the women in most rap videos. I am not those women. If you want a workout, go get a one-day pass at Bally. It's free.

Think Christian points us to a recent USA TODAY editorial by Elizabeth Sandoval.

Sunday, August 28, 2005



Please Pray for New Orleans

Monstrous Hurricane Katrina barreled toward New Orleans on Sunday with 165-mph wind and a threat of a 28-foot storm surge, forcing a mandatory evacuation....
...

Estimates have been made of tens of thousands of deaths from flooding that could overrun the levees and turn New Orleans into a 30-foot-deep toxic lake filled with chemicals and petroleum from refineries, and waste from ruined septic systems.

full USA TODAY story on Katrina

pics courtesty of freefoto.com


A New Kind of Conversation
Blogging Toward a Postmodern Faith

With


This blog-book will discuss what a postmodern evangelical faith looks like. The blog format will make it possible to allow you the reader, to participate in the writing of both the blog and the eventual published book to follow by Paternoster Press. Be a part of this experiment in conversation by adding your voice to the discussion.

“A New Kind of Conversation” begins on Sept 15th 2005.

You can sign up for this at this site.

More from Hunter Barnes:

...my good friend, fellow parishioner and colleague at the college, Myron Penner and I signed a contract with Authentic Media & Paternoster Press to write a book! For Myron this is no surprise, in fact he just published a book with Brazos entitled “Christianity and the Postmodern Turn”. But for me this is something new altogether. Fears aside, we have started work on a unique writing project that will see the authoring of a book taking place on a blog site, then eventually moving into a print form. On August 1st you can be a part of this project yourself by going and contributing to the conversation at www.anewkindofconversation.com & www.pomofaith.com. We have teamed up with five of the brightest minds discussing Christianity and Postmodernism. Our contributors include Brian McLaren, author of “A New Kind of Conversation”, Bruce Ellis Benson, Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton, Ellen Haroutunian, writer & speaker, Mabiala Kenzo, Professor of Theology at Canadian Theological Seminary, and Myron B. Penner, Professor of Philosophy at Prairie College.
These five will be our main contributors to the blog, and any online reader can add their thoughts to the conversation and possibly be published in the book!
What am I doing in this auspicious crowd, you ask? Well, I’ve asked that myself and still haven't figured it out. The best I’ve come up with, or what I tell everyone, is that I am kind of the “idea guy”, and they believed me. The plan to do this book sprang from some of my ideas, shared in conversation with my good friend Myron. I’ll be co-author/editor with Myron, a project manager of sorts, and occasional blogger on the site too.
Be sure to check out the site. This is a brand new kind of book publishing project. We’ve received a lot of attention from our publisher, and have some big hopes for the quality of the conversation that lies ahead. Would love for you to be a part of it.


Interview with Rob Bell

BeliefNet runs a nice interview with Bell.

ht to I am Paradox.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

jordon cooper (who is no failure) on failure

The future, no matter how uncertain, had always been my way to escape the reality of today. Working hard (enough) in school had given me a chance of doing things tomorrow. Growing up and living with the disappointments of living below the poverty line for most of it was livable because of the hope that tomorrow brought. Now I am in a process of figuring out what tomorrow is. For much of my life, tomorrow meant a time when hard work/intelligence/luck would change today's less then desirable circumstances. Tomorrow for me no longer means that. While I hate that fact with a passion, it may not be a bad thing. Tomorrow was always based on me changing things.

jordon writes movingly ab his struggle with illness.

i'm blogging this in a Courtyard by Marriott and, coincidentally, (again, to the title of jordon's blog, not to jordon, imo) they are giving away free copies of the latest Fast Company issue on failure. I've been reading thru it off and on all morning and just subscribed (again) for 2 years.

pls pray for jordon and wendy.

calling baltimore bloggers!

just joined a neat baltimore blogger aggregator called blogtimore. if you're in the area, come on in!

on pat robertson

ted olsen does one of his characteristically great around the rooms on pat's comments and the reaction.

Donald Miller Confesses His Sins

I said we should build a confession booth in the middle of campus and paint a sign on it that said "Confess your sins." I said this because I knew a lot of people would be sinning, and Christian spirituality begins by confessing our sins and repenting. I also said it as a joke. But Tony thought it was brilliant. ...

"Okay, you guys." Tony gathered everybody's attention. "Here's the catch." He leaned in a little. "We are not actually going to accept confessions." We all looked at him in confusion.

He continued, "We are going to confess to them. We are going to confess that, as followers of Jesus, we have not been very loving; we have been bitter, and for that we are sorry. We will apologize for the Crusades, we will apologize for televangelists, we will apologize for neglecting the poor and the lonely, we will ask them to forgive us, and we will tell them that in our selfishness, we have misrepresented Jesus on this campus. We will tell people who come into the booth that Jesus loves them."

All of us sat there in silence because it was obvious that something beautiful and true had hit the table with a thud.

Christianity Today excerpted this wonderful story from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.

ht to one of the 'mappers - Rebecca Kelly

Friday, August 26, 2005


NT Wright: The Christian Challenge in the Postmodern World

We have this thing in the Anglican Church where no service is complete without one of these wretched little microphones, and we have the line at the beginning of the service where the bishop is struggling with the equipment and the congregation has a service sheet that they are expecting to follow through, and the bishop says, “There’s something wrong with this microphone,” and the congregation obediently responds, “And also with you.” It could almost be a definition of postmodernity, actually, that, where something comes back at you revealing your own inadequacies.

Transcript of N.T. Wright's May 18, 2005, Lecture at the Church Leaders' Forum, Seattle Pacific University

ht to mike devries






Thursday, August 25, 2005


scot mcknight announces that...

...he has a new blog site.

new emergent-uk site and their podcast

jason clark announces in an email the new emergent-uk site and the podcasts of all the audio from their audio resource library.

Happy Birthday to Beth Jones Shields...


20021116 008
Originally uploaded by sshields.
Today is my beloved bride's birthday!

Jordon Cooper

for many of us, jordon's website (now his blog though much of the website stuff is still avail thru his blog) was one of the first places where we read about the emerging church. jordon was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and is struggling enormously with its side effects.

pls speak with God ab jordon's situation when you think of it.

Type II Diabetes

i've also been diabetic since 1996. in the US, diabetes is the #7 killer and the average diabetic has the disease for a decade before it's diagnosed (it can be asymptomatic for a long time). here's the disease in a layman's nutshell:

much of our food is turned into glucose which needs to get into our cells so that it can metabolize and give us energy. however, blood sugar molecules are too large to get into our cells and need a key, as it were. the beta cells of the pancreas produce a hormone called insulin that unlocks the cell and allows the blood sugar molecules to get in. however, if because 1) there isn't enough insulin or 2) the cell won't allow the insulin to work (seemingly sometimes because of the percentage of fat in the cell), then the blood sugar stays in the blood and causes all sorts of damage to the heart, the eyes, the limbs, the kidneys, etc. think of the blood sugar as an abrasive. it does its damage slowly but ineluctably.

20% of all adults in the US will be diagnosed with diabetes before they die because of american overweight and obesity rates (though since the disease has genetic roots, not every overweight person will become diabetic), which hastens or precipitates the onset of Type II (in Type I, the pancreas simply produces no insulin, but most diabetics are Type II).

before the 1940's and the discovery of insulin, doctors simply gave us as little food as possible to diabetics but we would eventually die young or younger. now, because of insulin and oral agents and a greater understanding of the positive effects of diet and exercise (diabetics may be asked to use any or all of these tools to attack the disease), diabetics have a better chance than ever of living a long life, but 1) because the disease may be diagnosed so long after onset and 2) because the management of the disease is so patient-driven (many folks don't make all the necessary lifestyle changes, don't test their sugar as often as they should, etc) and 3) for reasons we may not yet fully understand the disease can still be ravaging.

much money is spent looking for a cure and I believe that one day one will be found.

a new blog on generous orthodoxy

My hope is that this blog will further the academic expression of progressive evangelical thought in the current and upcoming generation of scholars. I would like to see the blog serve a number of functions. First, to help network and connect people in the academy who are progressive evangelicals. Second, to share resources (books, ideas, articles) with each other. Third, to make available these resources to pastors, students, practitioners, and interested onlookers outside the academy. My hope is that the contributors to this blog will view themselves as "organic intellectuals," people who identify with progressive evangelical practitioners and want to use their academic skills to support that group.

Here are some suggestions, not at all intended to be exhaustive, about the sorts of posts that this blog is for. (In general, anything that you think would be relevant to the broader community of people who care about progressive evangelicalism is fair game.)

1. Links to books, articles, and websites of interest, preferably with a brief description and/or excerpt
2. Book reviews
3. Cultural analysis
4. Summaries of research you are doing, and the implications of that research for the progressive evangelical community
5. Drafts and papers you are working on that you would like to share and/or receive feedback
6. Theological reflections
7. Commentary on trends in the academy and elsewhere
8. Dialogue amongst the viewpoints expressed on this blog.

steve bush lets us know ab a new blog - above is its first entry - by

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

churches and marketing

You don't have to be poor to get a handout from New Life Christian Church in Centreville, Va. You just need to watch for the church's new ice cream truck, a $10,000 investment in public relations.

We ran a nice article on monday 22 august about how some churches are turning to marketing as a way of reaching out to their communities.

I appreciated that the piece wasn't triumphal about such efforts but included some counterpoint such as

But in catering to popular demand, churches might set visitors up for disillusionment, says Philip Kenneson, co-author of Selling Out the Church: The Dangers of Church Marketing.

"Part of becoming a Christian is coming to see that what you thought you wanted deeply is not what you most wanted," says Kenneson, a theology professor at Milligan College in Tennessee. "It's having your wants retrained. So it's pretty hard to appeal to this old set of desires to get people in the door and then all of a sudden say, 'You know, we didn't quite tell you the whole thing.' Then people feel betrayed."


As someone who has served both on a pastoral staff and worked in a secular marketing department, while not feeling at all triumphal about churches using such techniques, I think I'm less concerned than Kenneson; I see the use of secularly culled marketing strategies as amoral. I do not believe that the use of best business practices in this or other areas is intrinsically problematic; it's the heart-reliance on or overconfidence in such approaches that's problematic).

Such efforts are severely limited. The best fruit of such strategies is to influence people to enter a context where they then can be drawn into community and worship through the folks they meet and the God they see. After responding to such a marketing effort, if someone doesn't meet at least one person soon with whom they - consciously or unconsciously - believe that they can eventually develop a confiding or close relationship, then the successful marketing effort will not ultimately result in someone being knit into community.

In every church, everyone who really becomes a part of the community develops an intimate subchurch of, generally, somewhere between one and twelve folks. That group is the critical hub of their communal network. Secular marketing techniques are impotent, in my opinion, to influence inclusion here. But, they can - I believe - influence someone to come to a place where such more intimate connections might occur.

And - all that being said - word of mouth from a trusted source almost always trumps the most expensive and artful marketing campaign.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

mcknight on writing

many of us in the ec have been enjoying following the recent entry of scot mcknight into the ec conversation through his very, very active blog. scot's clearly an evangelical heavyweight scholar who is nevertheless delightfully unpretentious.

today, scot pulled the curtain a bit on his own approach to the writing craft with some helpful thoughts worth reviewing.


Blog on Blogger with Word

jordon lets us know that you can know download a free Blogger tool to post blogs from within MS Word.

new context for emerging talk

dj chuang lets us know about the ooze's new emergent lounge, as also announced by emergent.

Monday, August 22, 2005

roger olson on postconservative evangelicalism
and comments on epistemology

steve bush lets us know that roger olson has updated his

postconservative evangelicals meet the postmodern age

with

postconservative evangelicalism: an update after a decade.

the original article listed above was one of the first articles i personally read in this space and i'll be glad to review olson's update. Having begun to read and absorb it, olson's comments about a nonfoundationalist epistemology reminded me of a conversation I had with brian mclaren some time ago ab ways of knowing. and see more of the 'mappers conversations ab theories of knowing here.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

'k, everyone, pls listen up:

jordon wants to try to go back to work. would you please take a few moments and ask God to be with him and to give him the strength and ability and tenacity and health and grace to do this?

thanks.

commenting here

i've turned commenting back on on with word verification which should eliminate automated comment spam.

i've turned comments off....

...until blogger can figure out how to stop all the comment spam i'm getting. i think i've gotten like 7 in the last 2 hours or so.


Anne Lamott

Why do you write? I write because writing is the gift God has given me to help people in the world. I came with curly hair, green eyes, and the ability to shape and tell stories in a way that a certain kind of person finds helpful, and funny. I love to make people laugh, because nothing is more life giving. I love to help people feel a sense of connection in their lives, by sharing the truth and details of mine — this seems to greatly decrease people's feeling of isolation. I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness — and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine.

powells.com runs an interview with Anne Lamott. ht to jordon.

wendy also points us to where anne is blogging!

Saturday, August 20, 2005



Crashing towards Truth?
A Thought on an Interview with Brian McLaren

...McLaren emphatically says that he is after the truth.

"One person who has talked about me has stated as a fact that I'm a relativist," says McLaren. The accusation is built on the foundation of one quote pulled out of context from one of his books, says McLaren: "There's a whole chapter in the book that he draws the quote from that repudiates relativism."

"It's such a wicked statement to say I don't believe in truth," McLaren adds, "It's very disappointing." He is adamant that he does believe in an objective truth, saying, "I can think of many places in my writing where I make that very, very clear. They're also accusing us of capitulating to post-modernity although we say in many places that we're not interested in being postmodern. I rarely even use the word."

subversive influence points us to a Covenant News interview with Brian McLaren.

I often read Brian's writings as iconoclastic. (I read Jesus speaking similarly at times with such statements as If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26, ESV). Such statements can right-brain us out of our comfortable theological and practical paradigms. Coming out of an age that celebrated the theological architect, statements of theological artistry aren't always appreciated. But they must not always be judged on architectural criteria. I'm not sure that criticisms of such writings aren't inevitable when the mode of discourse isn't understood.

One of the most valuable things I've ever heard Brian say is "Regard every complaint and criticism as a request for assistance." One can charitably view the higher waves crashing down in our recent emerging storm as just such dramatic assistance requests, sometimes leading us to underline where clear, non-artistic statements have been made.

Though the dance of accusation and response can be painful, these criticisms and the crisp clarifications they are evoking could serve to further the emerging conversation.

Photo Supplied by FreeFoto.com

Friday, August 19, 2005


A Gift for Us

Yesterday I got my biopsy results. My wife and I had prayed and prayed. The closer we got to the appointment, the more urgently we prayed. We prayed in the car. We prayed all the way into the building. Out loud. Must have seemed a little weird to the people we were walking through. Prayed in the elevator. Prayed in the waiting room. Prayed desperately in the appointment room. "God don't let them find it to be malignent cancer."

And it was.

It felt like our last medical hope was kicked out from under us just like that. The tumor on my kidney is 6 inches across. No wonder I'm almost always feeling bloated and can't eat much.

Despair really overwhelmed us. Our worst fears gripped us and we wept and wept. Just sat and cried. How can it be that every time we look for an answer the situation turns incredibly worse? How can it be that every time we look to God to bail us out here, He turns the tide against us? How can it be that our last medical hope - physical hope is now gone? The worst case scenerio. Renal (kidney) cancer. A really big one. And spreading to the liver and lungs. Now confirmed.

This from the first blogpost by Dwayne Harms - who pastored Living Hope Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - on Thursday 30 June 2005. Dwayne died on Tuesday 16 August at the age of 37 after chronicling the last leg of his journey. I've started reading his thoughts and they're helpful meditations from his unique vantage point.

If you think of it, pls speak with God ab Dwayne's family - he leaves a wife and two children.

via jordon

Thursday, August 18, 2005

jones on barna

...what he says could indeed be considered revolutionary, it certainly is a change of strategy for him, and it will be for many ministers and leaders who read the book. Especially the part about followers of Jesus who progress spiritually WITHOUT going to a local congregation - a group of people that will grow from 30% to around 70% in the next 20 years, making the FRINGE Christians the MAJORITY, and giving churches a good reason to rethink the next building program, and Seminaries to rethink their aggressive recruiting strategies.
Well, actually, those repercussions are mine, not Barna's. But his book informed them.


andrew jones reviews a prepub copy of george barna's forthcoming book revolution.

jason clark also posts some thoughts and questions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Correction: On Calvinism and the Emerging Church

in an earlier post - the nexus of the emerging church and calvinism - i had written:

It's said that when John Wesley, the ardent Arminian, died, that an enthusiastic follower of the Calvinist George Whitfield asked him if they would see Wesley in heaven. Whitfield said no:
“No, he will be so near the throne, and we at such a distance, that we shall hardly get a glimpse of him.

in a comment on that post someone today wrote:

Considering Wesley preached Whitfields Funeral, I find this highly unlikely.

i checked wikipedia and found out that john wesley died on 2 March 1791 and george whitfield died on 30 september 1770 so the commenter is correct that i must be in error.

I googled a bit more and - whether true or not (does anyone know?) - whitfield did say this of wesley but not at his funeral.

thanks to the corrector and i've amended the article accordingly.






unraveling the emerging church

Perhaps you have noticed all the attention the Emerging Church seems to attract these days. Within the last year the emerging church has been the focus of news articles on the front page of the New York Times, in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. It was the topic of an hour-long religious special on ABC, as well as numerous cable television and radio shows. Not to mention the attention generated by religious news outlets and publishers who are creating their own line of emerging products.

Doug Pagitt suggests a list of characteristics of the ec.

ht to andrew jones.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


emerging in charlotte

beth, the beauties, and I visited charlotte, nc this past weekend and had a great time going to warehouse242 and connecting with some ec folks who can sometimes be found there - specifically the Smith, Garvin and Knight tribes.

from left to right:

Beth Shields, Isaiah, Abraham, and Israel with their parents - Yashica (Shica) and Anthony Smith, along with their daughter Deborah. Then, Rod Garvin and his daughter Ayanni (Yanni). Then Hayden and Olivia and their parents, Steve and Becky Knight.

My daughters Michaela Siobhan, Skye Teresa, and Alia Noelle were with Beth's sister Bonnie Jones and her husband Phil Anderson at Carowinds while Beth and I explored just what connecting with adults and having adulttalk actually looks like.

Some of these folks you may know from the noise they make online:

  • Rod Garvin is a thoughtful poet and essayist and his blog is well worth reviewing.
  • Anthony Smith has a huge brain and I'm still wrapping mine around his thinking. You can dive in here (Beth Shields: "Stephen, I think he reads more books than you do"). Anthony promised eventually to post the material he's presenting at the After Evangelicalism confab that Cornerstone University is sponsoring in September. He'll be focusing there on ec diversity.
  • And, of course, emergers are used to tracking the incisive commentary of Steve Knight and his daily adventures @ Knightopia.
We had a wonderful lunch @ Moe's and the conversation was just as tasty.

relevantmagazine.com

The all-new RELEVANTmagazine.com is now up! Not only is there a completely new look, there are 10 content sections, a Podcast, a video section, a prayer room and a lot more. But we've only just begun—over the coming months many new features (like a music video channel, blogs and premium content) will be added as well.

Relevant has redesigned their site.

Monday, August 15, 2005

emergent canada

charlie wear lets us know about emergent canada.

there we read:

For example, when I asked Jordon how it might fit with Resonate, he seemed to think that the two groups could coexist happily, because Resonate was more regional, more fringe, and looser.

kudos to jordon for eschewing the territorial.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Friday, August 12, 2005

an honest biography

Aitken painstakingly unfolds Colson's maturation—his coming to faith, his time in prison, his mania for control (still a problem, Aitken shows), a few relapses into the "old Colson," his early flirtation with becoming a Christian celebrity. Aitken even tells of a dubious maneuver in which Colson plants supporters in an awards program, resulting in a standing ovation for himself. Perhaps the most poignant contrast in the book is seeing the impatient, controlling Colson grow through a tender relationship with his autistic grandson, Max, who forces Colson to slow down and make someone else's timetable a priority.

Cindy Crosby reviews Jonathan Aitken's new biography of Chuck Colson entitled Charles W Colson: A Life Redeemed in a recent Christianity Today piece.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Losing Distractions

I really found resonance with Brian's comment

I also hope we can as soon as possible stop talking so much about certain notorious personalities (either semi-fictional ones or real ones) and certain notorious buzzwords (postmodern, emerging, etc., etc.), and instead get on with the more important mission which the Lord gave us: being and making disciples, in authentic community, for the good of the world.

in the third installment of his three part Response to Critics (part one here, part two here)

Through this ongoing conversation, I keep thinking about Paul's comment:

10I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ." 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

1 Cor 1:10-13 (ESV)

It's so much more fun and less intimidating for us to discuss the borders of the stuff than the stuff itself. David Brainaird used to differentiate between those who talked about the shell of religion and those who talked about the nut. Surely I have done this.

It can almost be a hobby, a pleasant and intellectually stimulating passtime, for us to discuss "what is emerging?" and "are you emerging?" as if mere emerging were the point. (Pls understand that I am including myself in this gentle indictment).

God is too scary so by all means let's focus on mere religion instead.

Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

We need to be careful.

Brian McLaren Responds to Critics

I hope this brief narrative gives people a more accurate understanding of who the nonfictional Brian McLaren is, and I hope it will reduce collateral damage against people involved in the emergent conversation and the larger emerging church community. I also hope we can as soon as possible stop talking so much about certain notorious personalities (either semi-fictional ones or real ones) and certain notorious buzzwords (postmodern, emerging, etc., etc.), and instead get on with the more important mission which the Lord gave us: being and making disciples, in authentic community, for the good of the world.

The third and final part has been posted.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

the emerging culture cafe

stumbled across earl creps' new (or "new" - not sure how long it's been out there!) site. earl's known (among other things) for having an early comprehensive list of ec links and resources.

you can also see earl's blog here.

Remembering Peter Jennings: Bringing Coverage of Religion into the Mainstream

ABC's Peter Jennings is being remembered this week for many aspects of his work, but one aspect that bears particular notice is his efforts to increase network news coverage of religion. He was directly responsible for ABC's 1994 hiring of Peggy Wehmeyer as network news's only full-time religion correspondent. (She was laid off as part of a staff reduction in 2001 and now hosts a radio program for World Vision).

Ted Olsen highlights this aspect of Jennings' work.

Terry Mattingly also posts some thoughts on this thread in Jennings' coverage.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Is your Church Missional?

You no longer have to speculate. Now you can know, thanks to Brother Maynard's definitive turbocool diagnostic list.

Brian Posts Part 2 of 3

in His biographical narrative response to critics.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Brian McLaren Responds to Recent Criticisms

From Tony Jones' Intro:

It's also been interesting to me that much of the criticism of Brian this summer has run along the lines of, "I really like his missional thinking, but his philosophy and theology are dangerous." I talked to Brian about that, because those of us who know him realize that his recent theological investigations have been driven by his missional heart.

Part One of Brian's Three Part Response where he begins to give us an expansive, biographical post.

charlie's new blog

charlie wear, the publisher and editor of next-wave, has moved his blog.

Monday, August 08, 2005

peter jennings

To our surprise, he responded very warmly and even invited us to walk with him as he made the long trek through the building to his car.

I remember he commented to us that the people of the church has been very kind to him and his crew. He said this in a way that sounded slightly amazed....


mike mcnichols shares a personal encounter with the late peter jennings.

The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible and the With-God Life

Larry Wilson points us to a Craig Morton review of the this Bible on the Allelon site.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

pls talk to God about jordon cooper

Jordon's eyes and pain have gotten expotentially worse. He can't blog or do a lot of things anymore on the computer and just basic task are taking a toll. He hasn't sleep more than a couple hours a night in a month. Until he gets better, jordoncooper.com is just going to lay dormant. Thanks for reading and your prayers.

Doctors don't know what is going on. He is on an urgent list to see a specialist but that is a month away. Pray for sleep and some answers from the doctors.


jordon exits blogging until further notice per wendy.

Top Ten Jesus Books

This one is impossible. Why? So many books on Jesus have been truly ground-breaking and paradigm-challenging, and I've limited myself to ten. This list is the top ten Jesus books that I like to read and from which I have learned so much.

Scot McKnight lists his choices in his continuing series of "Best Books."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Barna goes Transpo

This just hit my radar screen.

kudos, George.

via Bro Maynard.

Friday, August 05, 2005

a churchless faith

I’ve chosen to explore, in practice, what New Zealand Baptist Pastor and Sociologist Alan Jamieson terms “a churchless faith.” I’ve chosen to move away from particular types and experiences of church, and toward new possibilities, new hope, and new dreams.

Paul Fromont pursues a non-ecclesial faith.

ht to jordon.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Top Ten Books on Spiritual Formation

Scot McKnight begins a series of "Top Ten Books on..." with an entry on Spiritual Formation (focused on the individual).

Critiqued that it was individualistic, McKnight helpfully responded with another list that was more community focused.

now this is truly useful info

Did you know that by simply copying and pasting a UPS or FedEX tracking # into either a yahoo or google search engine, it will bring a up a link directly to the webpage tracking your package?

I am Paradox provides some great info!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bono and Grace

"It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma."

The interviewer asks, What's that? "At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one," explains Bono. "And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that. . . . Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff."

One of the 'mappers points us to a piece on Bono's faith.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Hiroshima Cover Up

In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan almost 60 years ago, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years, all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited. The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for nearly four decades.

from Editor and Publisher



Cedar Ridge Community Church selects New Senior Pastor

"It would be a dream come true for me if the Dyers can come. I would be proud in the best and deepest sense of the word to pass the baton of leadership to Matthew, and he and I both sense we would have a strong and lasting friendship as well as a solid working relationship. I support him with my highest and unqualified enthusiasm.

Brian McLaren

After a previous decision to free up their founding pastor to spend more time writing and national and international service, Spencerville, Maryland's Cedar Ridge Community Church, founded in 1982 by Brian McLaren and Bill Duncan, announces that they have selected a new Senior Pastor, Dr. Matthew Dyer.

Matthew Dyer formerly was an associate pastor for Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, OH and a senior pastor of a Vineyard work in Exeter, England. He is British and a medical doctor. Dyer and his wife spent 1995 in Nicaragua working to build a mother and child health project.

sshields@faithmaps.org isn't...

..working while I switch servers. You can reach me @ sshields@gmail.com

UPDATE: sshields@faithmaps.org works now.


Scot McKnight on the Kingdom of God

On Scot McKnight's blog (Jesus Creed), he recently did a seven-part series exploring the biblical teaching on the Kingdom of God. In my humble opinion, this blog series is an excellent companion piece to the practical application on Kingdom living you'll find in Part 3 of his book, The Jesus Creed.

Since I feel that "The Kingdom of God" is perhaps the most crucial topic that a Christian is to understand (after all, it was what Jesus’ proclaimed as the “good news” or “Gospel!”), I asked Scot if I could publish the whole thing at my website for people to be able to download and read.

So here it is! It’s in pdf format, so you can print it out and give it the attention it deserves. Follow this link:

The Kingdom of God by Scot McKnight

Bob Robinson renders us a service!

He's also begun to post some of his own thoughts on the Kingdom.