Synergies Between the Emerging Church and 12 Steps

The following is a guest post by Chris Estus. Chris is an “Aspiring Emergent.”  He left the friendly local mega-church in 2011 to start Pioneer at Asbury – A worshiping community of people in, in need of or interested in recovery.  He and his good Al-Anon wife Pat have lead the Pioneer Group since 2001.  His worship CD – The Chris Estus Band can be sampled at

I had my last drink of alcohol on July 24th 1999.  I ‘ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, I had enough.   It had quit working.  My ways of fixing me had quit working too.  I went to AA the next day.  There I found a community of people that immediately welcomed me and seemed to have a solution.  I discovered that I was a sick person trying to get well, not a bad person trying to get good.  They explained that I had a fatal, progressive illness with no known medical cure.  But there was a solution.  One day at a time, just keep coming back and drink this bad coffee and pray and follow direction and take the steps and try to help somebody and don’t drink and you won’t get drunk and life will improve.  Seek God, Clean House, Work With Others.  They were and are right.  Since then I have been an active member of the fellowship and an active participant in my recovery and that of many others.   I haven’t had a drink since I showed up and my life has improved exponentially.

A few months after sobering up, a recovery friend invited me to the local friendly Non-Denominational Mega Church.  I loved the music, the atmosphere, the shiny everything.  The motivational seminar attitude and vibe was hopeful and vibrant.  I soon responded to an altar call, prayed the prayer, repented from not tithing all these years and went through the new members class.  I quit the bar band, became a Contemporary Christian Praise and Worship Artist and joined a home group.

It was at the home group that I started noticing something troubling.  About 10 of the home group members were alcoholics or addicts that had sobered up in AA or another 12-Step program.  They all became active in church.  They loved and studied and knew The Word.  Somewhere in the process each of them had somehow convinced themselves that: [Read more...]

The Emergent Dave Ramsey

I’ve know Mark Scandrette for a long time. In fact, in 2008, he and Doug Pagitt and Dave Laird and I spent an entire summer together in Michael Toy’s RV. I got to know him even better that summer.

Mark is an uncommonly honest person. In fact, chances are that within 5 minutes of a conversation, Mark will ask you something rather intimate about one of two little-discussed topics: sex or money. And he won’t break eye contact until you answer him.

Mark is unafraid of these topics, and he’s unafraid, in turn, to tell you intimate details about his own sex and financial life. His honesty is a gift to his friends and to the church, writ large.

Which is why I’m so pleased that he and his wife, Lisa, have written a book about money matters. It’s called, Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most.

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Book Sale

Dear readers, for the next week, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope is on sale in the ebook version for just $1.99. It’s a great book, edited by Doug Pagitt and Your Favorite Blogger, with contributions that include:

• Brian McLaren on postcolonialism
• Dan Kimball on theology
• Sally Morgenthaler on leadership
• Will Samson on mission
• Karen Sloan on sexuality
• Tim Keel on imagination
• Carla Barnhill on parenting
• Tim Conder on church

Find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or

A Theology of Ministry

Callid Keefe-Perry

Callid Keefe-Perry has recently been named as a new co-host of Homebrewed Christianity, and he’s starting a PhD in practical theology at BU. He’s a Quaker, an improv actor, and a teacher of acting.

He’s posted a first draft of his theology of ministry, which is probably something that more pastors should do, or at least reflect on. I don’t agree with all of it, but it’s interesting reading, especially if you’re somewhat unfamiliar with the Quaker tradition. It begins:

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