God Has Died…And He Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life

Engaging great content at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

I’m at Christianity21 this week, a gathering produced by Doug Pagitt, Sarah Cunningham, and Your Favorite Blogger. We’re one day in, and it’s been awesome. One of the great things about this event is that there’s no theme, and there are 21 gifted speakers, so we never really know what magic will happen in the chemistry between the talks.

They don’t all agree, but they do tend to dovetail with one another. Yesterday, Jonathan Merritt led off the opening session with a challenge to follow God’s call and listen to the unlikely ways that God speaks. Paul Raushenbush went next with a call for conservatives and liberals to rediscover the social gospel. Noel Castellanos told us five things we can do to engage with people and the gospel. And Nadia Bolz-Weber told us ten things she’s learned about being a pastor and church planter.

In the next session, Kent Dobson gave an amazing reflection on the absence of God, Sarah Lefton challenged us to engage Christians in biblical literacy in the way that she has challenged Jews, Mike Foster reminded us how everyone needs to be loved, and Romal Tune told us that the church needs to compete with gangs for the youth of LA.

In between, we had a couple dozen 7-minute talks by attendees from around the country. Today more talks. And tomorrow, even more, including my call to recover apocalyptic language for the church. Check back here for updates.

Who’s Lightin’ It Up? The CANA Initiative

Many years ago, Doug Pagitt invited me to be part of a nascent network. That went through several iterations — Young Leaders Network, the Terra Nova Project — until it settled in as Emergent Village. That network had a good 10-year run, and lots of great things were birthed as a result.

Now Doug and some friends are launching a new network. The CANA Initiative may have some of the DNA of those previous groupings, but this is a new endeavor, with new people and different goals. Based on the idea of a “collective action network,” the CANA Initiative has eleven initial goals:

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Destroying America: Muslims, Communists…and Me!

So, it seems I — and all of you who are part of the emergence of Christianity — are bent on destroying America. So are Communists and Muslims. So says Art Ally, in his forthcoming seminar at the Values Voter Summit:

If that’s too small to read, here’s the text:

IS IT TOO LATE TO RECLAIM AMERICA?

  • Speaker: Art Ally, Founder and President, The Timothy Plan
  • Synopsis: This session will equip you to engage in the debate over the war for the soul of America.  We will explore the fundamental foundational problems we have in America and three of the channels the adversary is using to bring America down (Communism, Islam and the Emergent Church movement.)  The first 200 attendees will receive complimentary copies of Curtis Bowers’ award winning DVD Agenda (exposing Communism), Pastor Paul Blair’s comprehensive DVD (on the truth behind Islam) and Roger Oakland’s outstanding book “Faith Undone” (an expose on the Emergent Church movement.)

Religion News Service‘s Sarah Pulliam Bailey dug a little deeper. Here’s what she found:

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The Book You’re Going To Be Talking about This Fall

My bedside reading this week is an advanced copy of Nadia Bolz-Weber‘s theological memoir, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and a Saint. In addition to the arrestingly beautiful author photo on the cover (taken by the incomparable Courtney Perry), it deserves a wide readership for a number of reasons.

Nadia and I met, I think, in 2008. We became fast friends, and have been ever since. I’ve joyfully watched her rise to become an ecclesial elite, and I cheer her on when she preaches in front 10,000 at Red Rocks or 35,000 at the SuperDome…

…or in front of 115 at House for All Sinner and Saints.

The fact that Nadia pastors a small church and yet is seen as an expert in all things church would have been unthinkable 15 years ago, when we were all neck-deep in the church growth movement. But now, with house churches and new monastic communities and organic church and slow churches, Nadia’s voice and vision is pitch-perfect for our time. But there’s an even more important reason that her book (and her life) kicks ass.

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