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Posts from March 2006

Blogs and the Emergent Church

It may not be news to you but its a good article and its great to see the North American Church acknowledging blogging and the emerging church.

"NCC's 2006 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches cites two 21st century trends: blogging and the Emergent Church

New York, March 30, 2006 -- First it was the mimeograph machine and the Ediphone. Then radio preachers. Then, in rapid succession, the television, desktop computers, e-mail, CDs and mobile phones.
Almost from the beginning, American theology and church communication have been intricately linked with emerging technologies. Preachers have often sensed God's call to spread the word as loudly and as widely as possible, and many think electronic media are divinely inspired.
Now the National Council of Churches' 2006 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches examines the latest electronic miracle -- the blog -- and considers its influence on the Emergent Church (EC)."
Read on for more HT: ChristianPundits.

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Religion and Blogging

Got a phone call yesterday from BBC who are thinking about a piece on international religious bloggers from many faiths. They are most interested in Muslim bloggers, especially those high-profile Bahgdad related bloggers, and Christian bloggers. I wasnt able to give them many names of key bloggers outside the Christian faith. One or two came to mind but not the full sweep of Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim bloggers. Let me know if you know something that might help.

My observation is that the vast majority of religious bloggers are coming from the Christian stream. Are there any scholars out there who can speak with authority on how all the religions line up when it comes to blogging?

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CriswellTR on Emerging Church

Emerging Church is the theme of the latest Criswell Theological Review. No online copy now but probably worth buying an issue (or a one year subscription for $10 more) One of the essays is "An Ecclesiological Assessment of the Emergent Church", by John Hammet which is a heavily revised version of the original. In fact, it has been changed and edited so much that it is not worth me linking to the original document. John had a lot of good discussions with us and has been one of our most congenial critics.

The Kiwis get a few honorable mentions in the revised essay that John Hammett sent me a few months ago (I am assuming this copy is the same or almost the same as published by CTR) including the results of the Christ and Culture poll that some of you contributed to [thanks], and the incredible complexity that now surrounds this movement:

"In fact, the difficulty of definition is compounded by the diversity of the movement. Andrew Jones cites the recently published Lausanne Occasional Paper #43, “The Changing Expression of Church,” as listing twenty-three such new expressions (i.e., cyberchurch, house church, coffee shop), many if not all of which could be argued to fit some definitions of emerging church. Steve Taylor gives six “emerging church types” (house church, labyrinth, art collective, weekly participative communities, festival spirituality, and postmodern monasteries), but would make no claim that these types exhaust the possibilities. Thus, anyone who speaks of emerging churches as a whole will find it difficult to avoid misrepresenting some emerging churches." John Hammett

HT: Justin Taylor

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What is the Gospel?

Tim Challies is hosting a conversation based on the question posed by the Together for the Gospel Blog - "What is the gospel? What is the most serious threat to the gospel in the evangelical church today?" There are a few good thoughts but I am surprised to hear nothing about power, or the gospel as gift, no reference to the Old Testament, and no immediate return to the message that was "received and passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3-4)

(Image found on Ishmael's 'emphatically apophatic')

The emerging church as I have witnessed it, does not deny propositional truth in the Bible, despite what the article says. But a proposition-only gospel is not the full story - where is the resurrection power, historical narrative and missional obligation that the reception of this good news demands? The story behind the good news is just as important as the good news. They depend on each other. Its a both/and - the propositional AND the narrative. I dont feel the trauma of choosing between narrative or proposition. To me, the gospel ("good news") points to an actual historical time-space event (story) and an understandable message to represent the meaning and promise of that event (proposition) that will demand a response - either reception or rejection of the gift.

(Door to Heaven, 1941)

But the question still stands. What is the gospel and what threatens it today? How does the emerging church threaten the gospel? How does fundamentalism threaten the gospel?
If the emerging church has attempted to restore the Good News back to a full and healthy state by its stubborn insistence on accompanying it with a holy life, power, justice for the poor, beauty under opposition, then we have failed to be heard, at least by the men in this corner of the room. So, if you are part of the emerging church or the global non-western church [we REALLY need your voice] then go over to Challies and join the discussion. I hope the conversation over there will not become a hyped-up Calvin Kleaning of modern evangelicalism nor a nostalgic party in the Sola-torium without a fresh return to the Christ event.

Related: Internet Evangelism Day is May 7. Andrew Careaga tells me the emergent bloggers were not very involved when it kicked off last year. Should we jump in this year? What would be a good contribution?

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Complusive Bloggers

Jolly Blogger just posted his 1000th post and Adrian Warneck his 2000th. Tim Challies has completed 879 consecutive days of blogging (time for a blog-fast?). As for me and my blog, I have 1450 posts on this Typepad blog and 1077 posts on the previous blogger version (2001 - 2003). Jordon Cooper probably has more than all of us put together. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Navigation Bar R1 C1For you bloggers too stingy to buy Ecto (shame on you), Matt recommends Qumana for PC and Mac. Looks sweet.

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What Are We Still Getting Wrong?

Jordon has a conversation with Stephen Shields [of FaithMaps] I include it here for vanity reasons - my blog makes his Top 5 reading list. And also because its the freshest piece of wisdom I have read for a while.

Jordon Cooper: A couple of decades from now, when we look back at this time of new thoughts and emerging forms of church, what do you think our regrets will be? What do you think we are still getting wrong?
 Blogger 537 87 200 Copy-Of-Stephen SfStephen Shields: We will regret missing the magnificence of God Himself and his Son Jesus. We will regret not having prayed more, not having cultivated our personal and communal relationships with God. We will be sad that we talked and read and learned more than we could possibly ever do. We will regret getting lost in the issues rather than getting lost in Him. We will believe that we spent too much time in the propositional and not enough time in the transpropositional. [more]

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Mark Palmer is Gone

Mark Palmer died yesterday in Ohio. Many of us got to know him through his blog where he allowed us into his life and his battle with cancer. He is on my "Vintage Theoblogians" hall of fame. I think i will leave him on it. Mark was an early blogger to the international Christian blogosphere. He was at our gathering of emerging church leaders in pasadena last year. We sure will miss him.

Palmer Healing Button-1A while ago, Alan Creech made this PayPal button for Mark so that bloggers could remember to pray and also donate towards the medical bills. You may remember it on this site. Alan - you taught us all about how to be a good friend. I guess Mark finally gets his complete healing but his loss is certainly felt on this side.

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Being Transparent

Break time from my study and writing. Looking for quick and mindless diversions.

Transparency International is the most searched for word on right now. A German blogger named Moni has started something off with some posts about a friend - a working mother who apparently got a raw deal from her organization, which just happened to be Transparency International. Linky-dink has the links to language translations including a good place to start to understand the issues. Funnybusiness has a good post called "Whats all this fuss about Transparency?" Ahhh . . . just got myself a coffee.

Businesses should be transparent.
People should be transparent.
Churches should be transparent.
Here is me . . . being transparent:
Am I making myself CLEAR?

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