I kept a pretty low profile in 2012 with some pathetic sporadic blogging and only the occasional dip into blog controversies surrounding the church. But despite my silence, I was doing my best to keep up on the conversation. Here are my big M's of the Christian blogosphere in 2012, all of them stemming from the USA, which was by far the most interesting country to follow on the blogs in 2012.
During the year there was a lot of heated discussion about Muslims who follow Jesus but stay inside their culture. Words like Chrislam, Muslim background followers of Jesus, secret believers, and insider movements which were compared to emergent church. A movie called Half Devil Half Child was released but has made no splash. In fact, the whole conversation has fizzled since November, and summed up by Cody Lorance who said, in response to John Piper's video on the subject, "There is no insider movement". But the conversation regarding Wycliffe and their Bible translations will continue into 2013.
I remember 20 years ago when I was a young pastor in Washington State, asking another pastor what his stance on marijuana would be if the State legalized it. I dont think he took my question seriously. But now that has happened in number of States, including Washington, and the church will have to reevaluate its position. What will Driscoll do??
If the emerging church label is dead, as some have suggested, then Phyllis Tickle has rolled away the stone with her book Emergence Christianity. And if the label makes a comeback, we will have Phyllis Tickle to thank. For the record, and for those who have read Phyllis's book I didn't actually ask if "2009 was to be the end of the Emergent ethos". If anyone is interested, I might write a few posts about the Great Emerging Pivot of 2009 and why dozens of emerging church networks and ministries (I have visited them in over 30 countries since 2009) dropped the emerging terminology while continuing to expand, grow, [emerge], and move forward into 2010-2012. That is . . . IF . . . anyone is interested.
When some evangelical Christian leaders suggested we vote for Mormon Mitt Romley, the Church of Latter Day Saints was downgraded on the list of dodgy sects and even removed from the "cult" list on the Billy Graham EA website. Which left Americans asking the question, What do we in post-election USA now think of Mormons? Richard Mouw suggests "For many evangelicals, Mormonism has now been "de-demonized."
As this YouTube video "The Charitable Deduction" Loophole or Lifeline? points out, charitable status for non-profits is not to be taken for granted and it might already be too late. While I applaud the efforts of the Charitable Giving Coalition, I believe that preserving this privilege will only be possible if mission leaders and ministers start living more simply, if we expose the abusers and call them to repentance, and if we offer more transparency. Which is why I am encouraging everyone to join the Exposed 2013 campaign. On top of this, ministries MUST develop other income streams and move away from dependence on donations. Many of us have already done this.
In the wake of the terrible and almost unbelievable murder-tragedy in Texas, Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer (IHOP) are under the ecclesial and doctrinal spotlight. Ex-IHOPer's are coming forward with stories of cult-like practices and dodgy doctrines. This could have a domino effect on parachurch ministries and short term mission organizations who are a little removed from the mainstream. Truthspeakers post "Open Call to all ex-IHOPers" and the comments it generated, was an important read whether you agree with them (Charisma Mag doesn't) or not.
For a better summary of global missions, see Bill Bray's Top Indigenous Mission Trends of 2012