1. What is an Anabaptist?
To find out about Anabaptism, read up on it here.
2. What makes you an Anabaptist?
I am ethnically Mennonite Brethren, which may seem odd to some, but it is as close to an ethnicity that I can trace. They are an Anabaptist group. But, Anabaptism is more of way than merely a denomination. You can be part of any Christian tradition and adopt an Anabaptist theology and practice.
3. Kurt, are you Emergent?
I begin my answer with a counter-question: What does Emergent mean to you? If it means that someone who is Emergent denies: the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the substitutionary atonement of the cross, the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, the belief in truth, a walking away from evangelical faith… then my answer is NO!
If you are talking about a willingness to dialogue about theology in the 21st century with a heavy critique of post-enlightenment modernism and its reductionistic approaches to biblical interpretation, then YES!
I am not a big fan of labels so I certainly would not call myself an “Emergent” but rather I am one who is in conversation with others about the realities of post-Christendom faith in a emerging postmodern culture. I am willing to take on very few labels and if I describe myself I use “Anabaptist” as a descriptor and “Emergent” as an active conversation I am engaged in. Yet to this I must also echo a quote from Stuart Murray’s The Naked Anabaptist: “The Anabaptist movement began as a loose-knit coalition of groups who were forming in various places across central Europe – the sixteenth century equivalent of the ‘emerging church’” (34). Perhaps the two terms are closer knit that many have wanted to admit.
Finally, as of July 2011 I am a writer for Emergent Village. What you will notice if you ever read articles over there is that no single expression of Christian faith dominates. You will find mainline, liberal, evangelical, conservative, moderate, and any other Christian perspective that you can think of. I am a moderate Anabaptist evangelical with a fairly progressive view of politics (there I go with the labels again… such a hypocrite! 🙂 ).
4. Kurt, are you a charismatic?
Simply put – Yes! I stumbled into the charismatic gifts and experiences. I never have been active in a Pentecostal congregation. All of my beliefs in this area have come from personal experiences and study. I consider myself an “accidental charismatic.” I am still trying to figure out how to integrate this charismatic conviction into a daily walk with the Holy Spirit. I assume that will be a life-long process.
5. Kurt, are you a liberal?
No. Theologically I’m a moderate voice. Perhaps the best way to describe me here would be post-conservative. I resonate with the description given in Roger Olson’s Reformed and Always Reforming: The Post-Conservative Approach to Evangelical Theology.
Politically, I have some liberal views, but I also have some conservative ideas as well. For instance, I promote healthcare reform and other social justice causes but am firmly against abortion. Progressive evangelicalism is something that I may be comfortable with (a term used by Jim Wallis).
6. How about Evangelical? Does this word describe you?
YES! If by evangelical we mean “lower case” “e.” I do not fit in the group that has turned Evangelical into a synonym with Right Wing Republican or Religious Right. But, if we mean that evangelical represents a conviction that people need to know Jesus Christ personally and receive the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sin and for eternal life… then count me in! I believe that people need Jesus and that they are saved from a life of destruction and for a life as a missional partner for the kingdom. Also, you may want to refer to my sort of mantra: You Might Be an Evangelical Reject If…
7. What is your favorite podcast?
I like several. To list a few: Mars Hill Bible Church, Woodland Hills Community Church, Jesus Radicals – Iconocast, Terminal Podcast, Becoming: Who We Are, Emergent Podcast, Homebrewed Christianity, Nick and Josh, Nomad Podcast, Tony Campolo, Mosaic, Neue, and too many others to list.
8. Do you do any speaking engagements?
I am happy to do speaking at any conferences, retreats, school chapels, camps, churches, etc. Feel free to contact me here.
For some samples of my speaking engagements, go here.
9. Are you a church planter?
My wife and I are currently preparing to relocate to Seattle, Washington in the summer of 2013. Biggest written influence on this process (besides the Scriptures) is a book called: The Shaping of Things to Come, by Alan Hirsh and Michael Frost along by anything written by Stuart Murray. We are partnering with the Brethren in Christ movement and Urban Expression: North America.
10. Where did you go to Seminary?
I attended Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary (formerly called Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary). It truly has changed my life. I can’t recommend it enough. I graduated in May 2012 with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.).
11. Are you writing any books?
I’m working vigorously to finish my book proposal at the moment under the guidance of a literary agent. More details as soon as I figure out publisher stuff 🙂
12. Ok, Kurt. Bottom line question. What exactly do you believe?
For this question, I simply want to point you to my beliefs page.