One more post on this, and then I’m done . . . for now
January 30, 2006, 11:38 am
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Brian McLaren has posted a response to Mark Driscoll’s response to him (got that?). I thought it fair to put it up here. Interesting that Brian never uses Driscoll’s name in his response – seems like a wise move.

With that said, my intention is to back quietly away from this particular discussion. After re-reading my post a few times and thinking about it a bit, I don’t really like the things it brought out in me. While I didn’t say anything that I don’t believe, I came across angrily because I was, in fact, angry. And while anger in and of itself is not sinful, I am not usually as disciplined as I would like to be with how I handle anger. I entered into the wrongdoing of others with my response.

This is why I tend toward being a pacifist – and not just in the war vs. no-war sense of pacifism. The truth is, when I get mad, I want to break stuff – it almost never manifests itself verbally or physically, mind you, but that’s what’s in my heart. I don’t really want to be a pacifist, but I’m going on the assumption that I need to be one – in particular when it comes to my heart and words. The smartest teacher I’ve ever known once said,

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, “Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother “idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell “stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

‘Nuff said.


The skinny on Mark Driscoll
January 29, 2006, 12:45 am
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After my previous post on Mark Driscoll – which may have come across as overly angry to some, allow me to redirect your attention to the comments made by the international blogstar, Andrew Jones. Andrew is the reason I started this blog almost four years ago. He’s smart, witty, gracious, humble and he gets it in so many ways. He knows Mark, and knows Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt too.

For the record, this issue has become a big fat stinky mess all over the blogosphere. I would start naming off some of the sites that discuss it, but I don’t have the time.

Congratulations on being so humble
January 28, 2006, 12:46 am
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So, I saw a link in my feedreader a week or so ago that Mark Driscoll, pastor of Seattle’s hipster megachurch, Mars Hill, has started a blog. So far, he has 5 posts. Here’s a synopsis:
Post #1: Hi I’m Mark Driscoll, yada yada yada
Post #2: The day I had lunch with Robert Schuller
Post #3: The day I had lunch with Ravi Zacharias
Post #4: The day I had lunch with Chuck Colson
Post #5: My sermon podcasts have been downloaded over 1 million times

And then today, a rant in response to Brian McLaren’s non-statements about his non-stand on the homosexuality issue showed up here.

I’ve met Mark Driscoll multiple times, and I think one of those times involved lunch (file that under my future post about “The day I had lunch with Mark Driscoll”). I found him to be a personable, unassuming guy who genuinely cares about people . . .

. . . which is why I find the above rant so disturbing. In it, he mentions having recently talked to a young man who is apparently struggling with some homosexual issues – except that Driscoll describes the talk in some very offensive ways. I really hope that this guy doesn’t see that rant, because it’s humiliating. Feel free to state your case, really. You can even float your inappropriate sarcasm out there to get a laugh if you want – even if it is misguided, immature, and I could probably proof text some Bible verses that say it’s sinful (nevermind – who really cares about all that when there’s REAL sin like homosexuality to tackle?). But don’t mock someone who probably came to you with genuine concerns and say it’s all good because you didn’t say his name. That’s weak.

For someone who is humble enough to bio himself as having “been named one of the 25 most influential pastors in America by The Church Report, and one of the most influential young preachers in America by Christianity Today Incorporated with over a million downloads of his sermons a year, and one of the 25 most powerful people in Seattle by Seattle Magazine,” it’s clear he’s got his act together.

And now that I’ve said too much, I’ll go meditate on some Jesus words. Perhaps Mark will be kind enough to join me.

So now, let me get this straight . . .
January 26, 2006, 9:17 am
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. . . the U.S. went to war in Iraq in order to remove a “terrorist” from power and bring about reforms related to democracy. Meanwhile, in Palestinian democratic elections, a “terrorist” organization that the U.S. refuses to talk to was just elected to power. Yeah, right, good luck with that.

Theology in the emerging church
January 25, 2006, 4:54 pm
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Maybe I’m late in coming to this party or something, but it seems like there’s been a but more talk in the blogosphere about theological stands in the emerging church scene. Mind you, there’s not a lot of actual theology being discussed out there – mostly just references to theological positions that various folks are taking. When I first got into this conversation five years ago, it was mainly just the people that wanted to do regular church differently, and the people who wanted to do simple/organic/house church. Now we still have the simple church folks doing their thing (but doing it quietly as we simple church people ought to!), but the other category has developed several sub-categories. The sub-categories are actually mainly similar to the sub-categories of the rest of the mainstream church of North America – the emerging types just have various configurations of facial hair, tattoos, and they swear a lot. Some of the diversity represented is an expression of the postmodern ethos, where nobody wants to get pinned down to a specific set of standard beliefs/values.

I will say this about the emerging version of things, though – for the most part, we are taking more intentional ownership of the theologies we have come to embrace. We deconstructed the heck out of our former spiritual homeland, and in an effort to settle in a better place, made very serious efforts to define where we landed (obviously, there’s some fluidity to this, but even that says something about who we’ve become). For the most part, I think it’s very healthy – it shows that our protests of the old models were based on more than appearances and marketing.

However, I will say that there’s a certain segment of the emerging church that leaves me scratching my head, and that would be the Reformed Theology segment. They, like the rest of us, have done an admirable job of examining their faith, and landing in a place that seems good to them. That’s awesome, really. I have friends in this camp – some really super cool people. I’ll even say that much of what they hold dear makes theological sense to me. It’s just that an uncomfortably large percentage of folks in this camp are, well, a little too confident in the places they’ve landed for my comfort. It seems that they have become so convinced about their positions that there’s not really much wiggle room to consider other points of view. The problem with this, in my mind, is that it can limit conversation – I mean, why should they enter a dialogue with me about any given issue when they already know the answer and aren’t really interested in being persuaded otherwise? It comes across as arrogant, and little bit scary. The last time I encountered such absolute confidence was about the time I started rethinking everything.

I don’t mean to broadbrush the Reformed folks out there, really – like I said, I’ve met many that don’t fit the category I’ve just described. But I’ve observed this conversation/movement/Kingdom party long enough to see that this sort of attitude doesn’t pop up anywhere else with such regularity.

Am I wrong? I’m open to being enlightened. I just don’t have much of an interest in this emerging whatevertheheck we’re doing here becoming a younger, brasher, hairier version of what I supposedly left behind.

Mayor of "Chocolate City" . . .
January 25, 2006, 6:33 am
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Ray Nagin, the infamous mayor of New Orleans is having his words from last week – you know, the ones where he says New Orleans would some day be a chocolate city again – memorialized with some merchandice. Go to imnotchocolate.com for t-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers. Lovely.

Evangelism and Discipleship Class
January 23, 2006, 1:17 pm
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Ahhhh, it was a long couple of days at George Fox, but very good, as expected. Todd Hunter was, well, as good to listen to as I had hoped/expected. He’s not a big name dropper, but when a guy talks about the friendships he’s had with Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, John Wimber, George Barna, and on and on and on, it’s a little overwhelming. And as a very natural by-product, it’s clear that Todd is a deeply spiritual man, with a generous spirit.

Todd was gracious enough to remember me from previous conversations and follow up with where I’m at and what I’m doing. When I told him that I’m starting the DMin at George Fox this year (which is what he’s finishing up now), he gave me some hints as to what to expect. It both freaked me out and got me excited at the same time.

Now that I’m back home, I get to crank on some homework. Among the 12 books I’ll be reading over the next couple months are the following:
Post-Christendom by Stuart Murray
The Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins
Carpe Manana by Leonard Sweet