Ben Witherington Doesn’t Get the Emerging Church. Yawn.

Ben WItherington thinks emergents are dumb.

So, Ben Witherington has posted a rant against emerging church rants. Our “anti-ecclesial rhetoric” is gettin’ him down and killin’ his buzz.

After deigning to teach us what the word ekklesia really means, Ben writes,

Thus, when one gets to the emerging church folks, and you hear a lot of their anti-ecclesial rhetoric, it has a long precedent in Protestantism, whether it is Luther railing against the Pope, or Calvin complaining about the situation in Switzerland, or Wesley struggling with the Anglican Church, or the Free Methodists splitting off from the Methodist Episcopal Church or various Baptist groups splitting and multiplying prodigiously. And in all of this, few have stopped to ask—Is all this disputatiousness a good witness to the world? Put another way—Why should the world listen to any church group when we can’t even agree among ourselves, as we speak with forked tongues?

OK, so we’re in league with Luther, Wesley, and Calvin. And the problem is…what, exactly?

It’s “disputatiousness”! That’s our problem!

Of course, Ben seems to miss the irony that his post is the very definition of intramural disputation, being that he spends several hundred words taking his fellow Christians to task. So, wouldn’t that make him part of the problem, rather than the solution.

Further, Professor Witherington owes his employment to one of those aforementioned Reformers. As noted by several commentators, he hasn’t taken his own exhortation to unity to heart or he would — like others have done — convert to Catholicism.

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Win a Load of Free Stuff!

One week from today, I’m headed to Sri Lanka with a coterie of fellow bloggers. We’re being hosted by World Vision, and they’ll be showing us some of the development work in that country.

To celebrate this coming journey, we’re having a little contest/giveaway. We’ve put together four identical prize packages, a collection of some of our favorite books, music, and World Vision apparel. To each of those four prize packs we will add something from Sri Lanka, a unique prize made by the people of Sri Lanka.

This is what each of the four winners will receive:

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It’s Less Funny If He Dies

So the guy who had the ill-fated anti-gay burning-Cheerios oops-I-started-the-lawn-on-fire protest at General Mills last week,

this guy:

died over the weekend of a heart attack,

making his #protestFAIL less funny.

Everyday Spirituality: Sacraments and Piano Lessons

Part of an ongoing series on Everyday Spirituality, this is a guest post by Linda Peacore. Linda and I were classmates at Fuller Theological Seminary in the early 1990s. She went on to get a PhD in theology from King’s College, London, and she now resides in Pasadena and teaches at Fuller. I recommend her book, The Role of Women’s Experience in Feminist Theologies of Atonement, which I wrote about here.

If you’d like to write a post for this series, please contact me through my website.

Tony’s recent posts on “Everyday Spirituality” very much resonate with my Christian life. As a mother of two school-aged children and a part-time professor of theology, spiritual disciplines take on a particular shape in the routines of parenting and work. Reflecting on this kind of everyday spirituality got me wondering about sacraments specifically, and how they might look in an ordinary life of someone like me.

In the church, we speak of sacraments, which primarily refer to baptism and the Lord’s Supper, two important practices which signify God’s grace in our lives and in the Christian community. They are the traditional ecclesial acts that represent God’s promises and mark God’s people. Sacraments serve as vehicles by means of which we confirm our participation in the grace God offers us through Christ and consequently in the fellowship of the covenant people. And through them we confess our faith; they are enacted pictures or symbols of God’s grace in Christ.

While baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the principal sacraments of the Christian church, we also speak of sacraments in a more general way, and this is where I find connections to everyday spirituality. Sacramentality is the idea that God uses all kinds of physical objects, experiences, and actions as a means of extending grace to us.

In my teaching on this subject I often use a clip from the film Babette’s Feast to illustrate this concept. The film culminates in an actual feast that Babette prepares and which could be considered a sacrament of grace as it brings reconciliation and celebration to the community. We might also say that Babette herself is a sacrament as her talents are a gift of grace to those around her. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the people are transformed as a result of the meal and the person of Babette. What might our lives be like if we were attentive to these sacramental experiences, these moments when God’s grace is presented to us as a mysterious and lovely gift?

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