Repost from November, 2004

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

OK, I’m sticking my head out the window and yelling, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Well, I’m not really that mad, but I am a little irked. In the last week, I have read or heard these statements:

“What emergent is discovering is stuff Lutherans have known for 500 years.”

“Anabaptists don’t have to become postmodern because we were never modern.”

“Emergent is trying to marry liturgical tradition to evangelical impulse, and Episcopalians have been doing that for centuries.”

“Baptists have always been anti-institutional.”

“I was emergent when I planted a church in the early 1970′s.”

“Emergent leaders need to adopt the posture of humble learners at the feet of those who were the emerging church leaders of their day.”

No, no, no, no, no!

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Reposting from Waaaaay Back

Usually, I take two weeks off of the blog each year. This year, I’ll be taking three. One was Spring Break, one is a family vacation this week, and one will be in November for my honeymoon with Courtney (we’re getting legally married alongside our friends, Rachel and Ratchet).

Instead of lining up guest posters for this week, I’ve lined up an assortment of posts from the archives. These go way back to my first year of blogging, 2004-2005. You can click through the links to read the commentary from when they first went live. You can also leave comments of your own, on the post or the re-post.

If you’re comment gets stuck in the Disqus moderation queue, I’m sorry. I’ll approve them all when I’m back next week.

As always, thanks for reading (and commenting).

Post-Cynical Christianity

The pope visits one of the poorest barrios in Rio.

“I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!” he said, speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish. “I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!

Those were among the comments that Pope Francis made yesterday in Brazil, as a part of [Catholic] World Youth Day. The pope continues to talk about Christianity in a way that makes it seem like a different religion than his predecessor’s. He was even more poignant in his comments while visiting one of Rio’s barrios (aka, slums):

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Proper Doubt

This is the first of two excerpts from a book that I happily endorsed: Emerging Prophet: Kierkegaard and the Postmodern People of God by Kyle Roberts. Kyle is a professor at Bethel Seminary and a fellow Patheos blogger.

Doubt is the other side of faith…This ethos may be one of the defining features of emergent Christianity—the willingness to countenance doubt. These doubts can arise from questioning the sincerity of religious faith (i.e. Freud’s “great apologetic challenge” to Christianity), the truthfulness of the Bible, the exclusivity of Christianity, or engaging in philosophical challenges to core Christian doctrines (such as those posed by the “problem of evil and suffering”). The acceptance of a positive role for doubt in the Christian life is consistent with the emergent ethos.

Because emergent Christianity is not terribly anxious about epistemological certainty, such questions are encouraged—or at the very least accepted and engaged. Furthermore, there is no rush to answer the questions in a final, authoritarian way. This openness to the reality of doubt in the Christian journey need not imply a glorification of doubt nor a complete disregard for objectivity (properly placed) in Christian theology…

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