Saturday, September 30, 2006

friend of people

Brendt suggests an alternative to "friends of emergent" or "friends of discernment." :)

I loved this. Earlier I posted on the terms emergent and emerging. Someone else brought in the missional moniker. I'm not abandoning that discussion but sometimes it does feel like "I am of Paul; I am of Jesus, etc"

ht: adam omelianchuk

Friday, September 29, 2006

wise words from andrew jackson

As I returned home from Turkey last night I became more convinced then ever that the most effective Christian bloggers are those who are engaged in much more than reading, reviewing, and commenting on books and other blogs or just posting their ideas and theologies over and over again, rather, they are those who are first and foremost active in the daily labor of ministry and mission from which they gain an experiential Kingdom perspective for blogging.

- link

- on transpropositionality

a beautiful reunion

"Hilda Shlick thought she lost nearly all her family in the Holocaust — until her Internet-savvy grandsons located her 81-year-old brother in Canada.

'After 65 years, I have found the sister who I love," Simon Glasberg said Monday in heavily accented English, his eyes filling with tears. "I can't stop kissing her.'"

- link

ht: jesus outside the box

Thursday, September 28, 2006

in search of a blogger hack

is anyone aware of a blogger hack out there that will allow me to add comment notification to blogger comments? I'm looking for a way that folks can opt into receiving emails whenever someone replys to a comment they've left on a particular post. (I realize Wordpress and others offer this and I may switch one day. )

fantastic news about bob robinson!

"28-Sep-06 08:32 PM - Linda : UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! Bob was taken off the ventilator at 1 this am (yes, that is now 17 hours ago, about 8 hours after the surgery finished! He is awake and SOOOOO happy!!
We kept telling the nurses to tell him what day it was last night, so he knew he woke up on the same day, and not a month later! He is in quite a bit of pain, more from the drainage tube in his ribs than from the incision site, but he's so glad to be awake that he's just smiling!
The surgeon put in a 30cm graft...yes, that is 11.8 inches. Not what he planned to do, but apparently felt this would best protect the entire aorta from future aneurysms. He is the only Dr. there that has a different procedure that allows the time on circ arrest--when the body is cooled so dangerously low and many complications occur--to be very short. Often they are on it for 45 min to an hour, and Bob was only on for 5 minutes!!! Thank God in a million ways for how He has taken care of Bob!
He will be in the ICU Fri for sure, maybe moving out Fri pm or Sat...they are watching him more closely because of his wonderful history!
Please call me (or Bob's cell) if you want to visit to find out the best times and where he will be.
"Be still once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to me" Ps 116:7 "

- bob's blog

more food for your ipod

entire seminary courses online from gordon-conwell including material from david wells.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Steve Taylor: the "emerging church" and "emergent" can't be viewed synonymously

Earlier, I had posted Is the Distinction between "Emerging Church" and "Emergent" Obscurantist?

In summary, my concern there was that while emergent village is a subset of the larger emerging church conversation, increasingly the terms seem to be used synonymously. I wondered aloud if we should just give up and and use the terms that way.

In the comments on that post, Steve Taylor from New Zealand correctly (imo) called my hand on such a proposal because to use "emergent" and "emerging church" as denoting the same group thereby runs the danger of collapsing the entire global conversation down to the issues that emergent village is discussing. Or it might imply that emergent village considers itself the primary international organization for the emerging church conversation which I don't believe that it does.

I agree with Steve that my comment was United States-centric and could be seen as dishonoring the international conversation.

Steve, thank you for pointing this out; I apologize.

All that being said, we still have confusion over the terms in the American context! Still not sure what to do about that. Not sure that saying over and over again that they aren't the same is the answer but maybe that's the best and only course we have.

andrew perriman: why the emerging church needs to believe in penal substitution

"The doctrine of ‘penal substitutionary atonement’ remains a major bone of contention between the yapping, excitable Jack Russell of the emerging church and the snarling pit bull of reformed theology. "


"The general argument that I want to put forward is that a doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is certainly biblical but that it has to be framed narratively."

- entire article

more on "emergent," "the emerging church", and "the missional church"

jamie arpin-ricci posts regarding the ongoing blogospheric conversation regarding the terms

  • emergent
  • emerging church
  • missional
- my first post on this (where conversation continues in the comments)
- Robbymac's comments and again here
- blind beggar's

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

pls also pray for Steve Mccoy's Mom

she's been diagnosed with breast cancer for the 2nd time.

"From that we found out the cancer in her lungs (originating from breast cancer) is spreading very rapidly. "

- link

Please Pray for Bob Robinson

On 2 Feb 2006, Bob Robinson went thru 13 hours of surgery after his aorta tore and blew up into a football shape. Bob went into a coma but woke up after 27 days and was eventually able to go home. But in April the aortic root started bulging again and there was great concern that it might burst. The doctors were able to get Bob's blood pressure under control, but the decision was made to do another surgery this month.

Tomorrow morning - Wed 27 Sept - Bob is having his aortic valve replaced and his aortic root replaced with a synthetic graft.

You can keep up with how Bob is doing here and you can get a username and password for that site on Bob's blog.

Please pray. If things go well, Bob will recover in about 2 months.

Friend of Missional

  • "A missional church is one where people are exploring and rediscovering what it means to be Jesus' sent people as their identity and vocation.
  • A missional church will be made up of individuals willing and ready to be Christ's people in their own situation and place.
  • A missional church knows that they must be a cross-cultural missionary (contextual) people in their own community.
  • A missional church will be engaged with the culture (in the world) without being absorbed by the culture (not of the world). They will become intentionally indigenous.
  • A missional church understands that God is already present in the culture where it finds itself. Therefore, a missional church doesn't view its purpose as bringing God into the culture or taking individuals out of the culture to a sacred space.
  • A missional church will seek to plant all types of missional communities to expand the Kingdom of God.
  • A missional church faithfully proclaims the Gospel through word and deed; how we embody the gospel in our community and service is as important as what we say.
  • A missional church seeks to put the good of their neighbor over their own.
  • A missional church will give integrity, morality, good character and conduct, compassion, love and a resurrection life filled with hope preeminence to give credence to their reasoned verbal witness.
  • A missional church practices hospitality by welcoming the stranger into the midst of the community.
  • A missional church will see themselves as a community or family on a mission together. There are no "Lone Ranger" Christians in a missional church.
  • A missional church will see themselves as representatives of Jesus and will do nothing to dishonor his name.
  • A missional church will be totally reliant on God in all it does. It will move beyond superficial faith to a life of supernatural living.
  • A missional church will be desperately dependent on prayer.
  • A missional church gathered will be for the purpose of worship, encouragement, supplemental teaching, training, and to seek God's presence and to be realigned with his God's missionary purpose.
  • A missional church is orthodox in its view of the Gospel and Scripture, but culturally relevant in its methods and practice so that it can engage the world view of the hearers.
  • A missional church will feed deeply on the scriptures throughout the week so they are always ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why they're living the way they are.
  • A missional church will be a community where all members are involved in learning to be disciples of Jesus. Growth in discipleship is an expectation.
  • A missional church will help people discover and develop their spiritual gifts and will rely on gifted people for ministry instead of talented people.
  • A missional church is a healing community where people carry each other's burdens and help restore gently."

Rick Meigs brings us Friend of Missional.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Help Stamp out Lymphoma and Leukemia!

My amazing wife is trying to cure cancer! Well sort of. On Sat 7 October 2006 Beth is biking 100 miles in the Seagull Century Ride to raise money for Cancer Research.

This is from a letter Beth wrote to her supporters earlier this month:

I think I’ve lost my mind. I’ve signed up for a 100-mile bike ride called the “Seagull Century Ride” Oct 7th in Salisbury, Maryland, to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to give to local researchers in the fight against blood cancers. So far, Maryland’s Team In Training has raised enough money to support three local researchers for a year! I’ve personally raised a little over $500 but still need $1,500 to reach my goal of $2,000 ....

As many of you know, my Dad and my Step-Dad both died of cancer well before their time (my Dad was 44). This is the first time since their deaths that I really feel I have a chance to contribute to the search for a cure. When I’m feeling worn out, I remember their suffering and their struggle, and it helps me press on when I feel like stopping.

I’ve been in training for 10 weeks now with Team in Training, and I am . . . SORE. The last Sunday 40-mile ride through the hills (and I mean hills!) of Howard County kicked my butt! I am very committed to completing this journey and am writing to ask you to help me. I’ve enclosed an envelope for those of you who choose to support me. For a $50 donation, I’ll wear the name of a loved one who was affected by cancer (does not have to be blood cancer) – white for memorial, purple for survivor. I already have eight names that I’ll be wearing. Thanks so much, and here’s hoping we can help them find a cure.

If you'd like to talk to Beth about what she's doing, email her here.

If you'd like to participate in this effort, you can donate here!

- learn more about leukemia
- learn more about lymphoma


Friday, September 22, 2006

Is the Distinction between "Emerging Church" and "Emergent" Obscurantist?

I have a question and I'd like to precipitate some discussion in comments:

Mark Driscoll writes in Confessions of a Reformission Rev:

"The emergent church is part of the Emerging Church Movement but does not embrace the dominant theology of the movement" (emphasis mine).

In contrast, in the lively discussion section of the ever evolving emerging church definition on wikipedia, one of the participants commented:

"While I agree that there is a portion of the emerging church does not idenify with emergentvillage and those they label as "Emergent", the size and distinction of that group is small enough that it does not warrant its own article. Their definition and distinction of the terms emergent and emerging are not shared with many others and should not dominate their use in this article" [sic] (emphasis mine).

My experience has been that most of those that embrace the emerging church but don't associate as much with emergent village make that choice because they are not theological revisionists (to use Ed Stetzer's term without endorsing everything he said in his recent article - which I commented on here). (And - to be fair and just to make matters even more complicated - not all those who do associate themselves with emergent village would consider themselves revisionists, as Tony Jones recently pointed out).

But what I don't have a good handle on is the size of this group. Now, the majority doesn't rule on this question, but of the two quotes above, I don't feel that I know enough of the space to definitively state who's more correct - and I've been swimming around in the ec space for about as long as anyone.

So here's my question: are non-revisionist emerging church conversation participants so rare and so far away from the emerging church mainstream, that they just confuse people by claiming to be emerging church at all?

In other words, is the distinction of "emerging church" and "emergent" being made by so few of those in the emerging church conversation that those who maintain the distinction just need to face up to the fact that the dictionary definition has already been written by means of prevailing use and just give up on making a distinction?

(fwiw, I heartily embrace emerging church reconstructionism, but my own journey into emerging church revisionism has been far more nuanced, which I detail here.)

Any thoughts?

Mark Driscoll and His Critics

Mark Driscoll briefly responds to 2 recent books critical of Mars Hill and updates everyone on the latest news from Mars Hill.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

tim keller resources

just found this great page of tim keller resources that steve mccoy maintains.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

itunes rules

just downloaded this new version of itunes tonight. wonderfully, it now supports the ability to select multiple songs/talks/etc and select "Remember Position" and "Skip While Shuffling" en masse.

I had just discovered these options and was changing them one by one as I moved files to my nano. Now I can mark all my Spoken Word files and be done with it!

Revisiting Optimism

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes life
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

ee cummings
"love is a place"
No Thanks (1935)


4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Phil 4:4-9
(English Standard Version)

time and time again, i have to go back here and here.

And it seems that Seligman's material might be well summarized in these two words: Don't catastrophize.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

food for your ipod

The very helpful English Standard Version Blog points us to a great resource for seminary-level audio files:

Speakers include:

and others.

Monday, September 18, 2006

books for church planters

Resonate offers a number of church leaders' recommendations for books to read for church planters.

Some of those making recommendations are

  • Alan Hirsch
  • Brian McLaren
  • Jonny Baker
  • David Fitch
  • Scot McKnight
  • Andrew Jones
ht: steve mccoy

Friday, September 15, 2006

the virtue of humble confidence: what's a faithmap?

tim challies criticizes the premium that the emerging church puts on doubt, uncertainty, and mystery.

i do believe balance is necessary. i tried to address this in a brief article I wrote several years ago - "What is a faithmap?" - text below:


A faithmap highlights known reference points on the terrain, but it does not detail every particular. And - most importantly - a faithmap is designed to be used while going somewhere.

One of the critiques of a modernized evangelicalism is that it has collapsed theology to mere information. Our use of the metaphor "faithmap" reflects our desire to make three statements about Christian theology and praxis.

1 - "A faithmap...does not detail every particular."

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.

Proverbs 25:2 (all references are in English Standard Version)

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:29

The modern program is that man can discern everything and is the arbiter of truth. We are suggesting that perhaps this has influenced evangelicals by moving us to desire to answer every question about God and to believe that our theological formulations are exhaustive. Postmodern thinkers help us to understand that we frame reality in paradigm and that language symbolically represents reality. Similarly, a map cannot possibly detail every aspect of the land to which it refers. A faithmap does not pretend to completely plumb the depths of the knowledge of God. It leaves room for mystery and exploration.

2 - "A faithmap highlights known reference points on the terrain"

Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

2 Timothy 1:13, 14

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

2 Thessalonians 2:15

Nevertheless, just because the boundaries of paradigm and language limit what we know, the inability to know exhaustively should not be confused with the inability to know reliably. God has given us language and has revealed information about Himself. This information is reliable and certain. It is certain not because of the omnicompetence of our minds but because of God's ability and character. To understate: He is a reliable source of information. Similarly on a map there are known reference points that help the traveler make her way. A faithmap marks for us known reference points - markers we can know.

3 - "a faithmap is designed to be used while going somewhere."

8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Eph. 2:8-10

When someone asked Jesus, "which is the greatest commandment in the Law" He replied

"`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.'
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

Note Jesus' last comment.

"The Law and the Prophets" was a technical term Jesus used to represent the Bible as it existed in His day, the Old Testament. Jesus affirms that the very foundation of the Scriptures was to love God with everything within and to love one's neighbor as oneself. All the information we can garner about God from the Scriptures is for the purpose of loving God and others. And if our accumulation of knowledge does not result in these activities then we are wasting our time and not using the Scriptures as they were designed to be used. A map is used for going somewhere. A faithmap is used to guide us as we travel from one instantiation of love to another.

So a faithmap marks certain things we know, leaves much for future exploration, and is used for traveling.

One does not study a map just to have a better understanding of a map. In the same way a faithmap is useless if it's not teleological.


The need for humble confidence was also addressed by the great Reformed exegete John Murray in a quote I mentioned in Are there Emerging Church Shibboleths?

Here's the quote:

"However epochal have been the advances made at certain periods and however great the contributions of particular men we may not suppose that theological construction ever reaches definitive finality. There is the danger of a stagnant traditionalism and we must be alert to this danger, on the one hand, as to that of discarding our historical moorings, on the other."

Murray continues, "When any generation is content to rely upon its theological heritage and refuses to explore for itself the riches of divine revelation, then declension is already under way and heterodoxy will be the lot of the succeeding generation.... A theology that does not build on the past ignores our debt to history and naively overlooks the fact that the present is conditioned by history. A theology that relies on the past evades the demands of the present"

(emphasis mine, from his article "Systematic Theology" - see Looking Beyond the Facade of Modernity, Part 2).

JI Packer on Francis Schaeffer

Kevin Cawley posts Packer's thoughts on Francis Schaeffer and his legacy.

from Reflections on Francis Schaeffer

Thursday, September 14, 2006

more on the declining cost of information...

...and how that transforms society.

Keith Drury explores how the internet is changing denominations.

we've commented on the declining cost of info and leadership formation here.

ht: brad boyston

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mike Frost Audio

resonate has completed the posting of all 6 mike frost talks with sessions 5 and 6.

frost rocks.

ht: rick meigs

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Centrality of the Gospel and the Balance of Social Justice and Gospel Concerns

It's been justly affirmed that following Jesus is more than just making sure that we and those around us go to heaven when we die. This seems obvious just by reading the four gospels and observing our Lord's behavior. Jesus was forever responding to the physical needs of those around Him, in addition to directing folks to throw off their addiction to the temporal.

It is, however, an imbalance to suggest that we should "get over" the fact that Jesus died for our sins - or for those of our neighbors. We are creatures; He is the Creator and we ever need Him.

Luke records in cp 10 of his history:

1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

Luke 10:1,2 (ESV)

Luke continues

17The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" 18And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

vss 17-20

In Luke 10, the 72 are excited about the effectiveness of their personal ministries. Jesus redirects the vision of his listeners away from the spiritual power that's around them and toward their own personal relationship with the God who built a home for them where He is.

In other words, it is God's love manifested through the Gospel that is to drive the 72 in all they do.

Paul speaks in similar fashion in his 2nd letter to the church at Corinth:

4For the love of the Christ constrains us, having judged this: that one died for all, then all have died;

15and he died for all, that they who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who died for them and has been raised

2 Corinthians 5:14,15 (Darby Translation, emphasis mine)

We are never meant to mature beyond a fascination with the fact that God loves us and that we are saved.

To be thrilled with the Gospel and our salvation is not a sign of adolescent spirituality. The persistent, enduring joy of God's love for us manifested in the cross is rather a sign of our spiritual maturity.

This joy gives us the psychological and spiritual freedom to be concerned for all of our neighbors' needs.

Since our Lord Himself enjoins us (also in Luke 10 as above) to love our neighbors as ourselves (vss. 27,28), we want our neighbors to have the same joy we have. And so we also wish for them to know the joy of having their names written in heaven. This creates no dichotomy between our concern for their physical well-being and our concern for their eternal destiny, for love defeats this false antithesis.

If we are hungry, we love ourselves with food. If our neighbors are hungry, we love them with food as we love ourselves.

When we come to the realization that we are lost, we love ourselves enough to receive God's free gift of Jesus Christ. When our neighbors are lost, we love them as we love ourselves and also wish for them to receive this free gift and escape judgment.

Is one more important than the other? Of course, it is.

It's better to die of starvation and have your name written in heaven. But yet we aren't so "spiritual" that we don't feed ourselves and - similarly - our hungry neighbor won't be terribly impressed with our love or interested in our gospel message if we don't give him a slice of bread.

We should never move beyond our fascination and gratitude for God's love for us. And our appreciation for that overwhelming love drives us towards others and whatever needs they have.

Don't Waste Your Trial

I had heard about the article that John Piper wrote on the eve of his Prostate Surgery called Don't Waste Your Cancer. I read it tonight and found it helpful to consider for any type of threatening trial.

I found Piper's emphasis on God's sovereignty very helpful.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

on friendships

“Everyone must try to make friendship his own utopian country in which no inequalities exist,
where the coin of the realm is imaginative sympathy,
all competition and rivalrous feelings are strictly outlawed,
the oxygen is considerate talk,
and the blood circulates best when stimulated by the constant exercise of thoughtfulness, generous impulse, and kindness. The earnest practice of friendship, in short, requires us to be rather better than most of the time we really are.”

- Joseph Epstein in Friendship: An Expose.

Scot McKnight offers a wonderful post on friendships

Thursday, September 07, 2006

2 Books on Katrina

I'm mostly done withTulane professor Douglas Brinkley's massive treatment of Katrina - The Great Deluge. His menu of stories is well-worth reading, if a bit all over the place.

Tim Challies also brings our attention to a new Marvin Olasky work called The Politics of Disaster and provides a fine summary.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Great Quote by Kyle Lake

I just saw this:

"Here is what I think God is saying to each of us, 'Abandon your plans of escape. And Be where you are. '"

Kyle Lake (1972 - 2005).

Kyle was electrocuted while conducting a baptism last year.

Monday, September 04, 2006

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

This is just too fun. No computer effects. Low budget. Just creative.

andrew jackson on tim challies upcoming book...

...or, rather, on the fact that there is an upcoming tim challies book. andrew's brief comments illustrate the declining cost of information.

we've discussed elsewhere that as the cost of information declines, society changes.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

$.50 English Standard Version New Testaments

We'll probably buy a bunch of these for KatrinaGrace.

I really love this translation.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams Reported to have Changed Positions on Homosexuals and the Anglican Church

"The archbishop of Canterbury has told homosexuals that they need to change their behaviour if they are to be welcomed into the church, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Rowan Williams has distanced himself from his one-time liberal support of gay relationships and stressed that the tradition and teaching of the Church has in no way been altered by the Anglican Communion's consecration of its first openly homosexual bishop.

The declaration by the archbishop - rebutting the idea that homosexuals should be included in the church unconditionally - marks a significant development in the church's crisis over homosexuals. According to liberal and homosexual campaigners, it confirmed their fears that the archbishop has become increasingly conservative - and sparked accusations that he has performed an "astonishing" U-turn over the homosexual issue."

- the telegraph (uk)