SpiritFarmer


Quick Take Review: The Next Evangelicalism
June 8, 2009, 8:13 pm
Filed under: books, Christendom, culture, dissertation, emerging church, missiology, Seattle, theology

Last week I got a chance to sit down with a book that’s been getting a bit of buzz in the circles I run in.  It’s called The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church From Western Cultural Captivity, by Soong-Chan Rah.  I believe it’s a very important book, and one that I hope will find its way onto many seminary course readings lists – and not just in specialty classes like “Multi-cultural Worship.”  Rah has some good words to share, but they will be put to best use in a broad marketplace.

The book is an uncomfortable read, especially for a white midle class USAmerican dude.  I have attempted to sensitize myself and the people I have influence with to issues of race, power, and control, but I know I’ve fallen well short of ideal.  There’s still a lot more to be done in my own heart, as well as in the church at large.

I strongly recommend this book.  The way it approaches the issues of racism in the church in USAmerica are helpful and prophetic.  The chapter on race is a good primer, and the chapter on how the emerging church is perpetuating most of evangelicalisms same old problems is a stinging rebuke to a bunch of people who have been a bit smug about having rescued the Western church from all of its ills.

With that said, I do have a few points of critique.  First, I’m not sure the book delivers on the title – I get that Rah is riffing on Philip Jenkins’ genius work in The Next Christendom, but unlike Jenkins, Rah doesn’t spend his primary content on describing the new form that’s coming to replace the old.  I got a very helpful picture of yet another broken aspect of the previous, broken evangelicalism, but less of a vision of what the new way forward looks like.  There are some good examples, including one here in Seattle that I can personally vouch for, but I wanted more.

Second, I don’t know how excited I can really get about the dawning of a new “ism.”  Frankly, I’m not looking for the next evangelicalism – which may have more to do with my continuing flashbacks from the last one, but another ism sounds like another opportunitiy to institutionalize forms of thought that might work right now, but will be rendered obsolete by future generations.

Third, and I admit that this is entirely selfish, but this book came out about 9 months too late.  As I was writing and editing my doctoral dissertation, I knew full well that the day would come that I had just put my biggest, hardest writing project to bed, and I’d wake up one morning to find a new book/article that would have taken my work to the next level and made it really shine.  This is that book.  No hard feelings, though, Dr. Rah.  I’ll get over it.  I’ll take the opportunity to borrow your ideas the next time around.  Congratulations, though – this is a reall solid piece of work, and one that I hope will be influential in the near future.



Found: Panda Head
June 5, 2009, 9:35 am
Filed under: humor, Seattle, the purple door

Panda Head Found

This is a real ad in the classified ads in the University of Washington’s student newspaper, The Daily (found by a star Purple Door student, Rachel).  In case you can’t read it, here’s the text:

FOUND – PANDA head, appears to be a part of a missing suit.  Recovered near 45th and Memorial.  Presumably stolen by ill-advised sorority girls during their week-long, drunken stupor.



My new favorite job description: chauffeur
May 16, 2009, 6:09 pm
Filed under: conference, friends, San Diego, Seattle, social action

I got a chance to attend the first annual Pentecost Seattle event this morning.  Well, part of it, anyway.  It was a good, stimulating conversation on justice that included a very wide variety of Christians.  I had to leave early, though – I was tasked with playing chauffeur today.  Not a bad assignment, though.

Passenger #1 in my vehicle today: The Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney.  He has been the most significant civil rights leader in the history of this city.  He marched with MLK in Washington D.C., Selma, and Montgomery, and hosted Dr. King in his church.  I was honored to spend some time with him.  He asked if we could stop at McDonald’s for a fish sandwich on the way to his house.  Heck yeah!  I’m a part of a denomination that has an extremely poor history when it comes to civil rights, and I took the opportunity to express my sorrow for that, and my appreciation for the sacrifices he has made.  He was more than gracious.

Passenger #2 in my vehicle today: my San Diego friend, Matt Casper.  He flew in today for some work with Off The Map, and I was the airport chauffeur.  Always a hoot.  I’m looking forward to some more laughs later tonight.

I like driving most of the time, but with company like I’ve had in my passenger seat today, I couldn’t go wrong.



Major League Soccer in Seattle
March 19, 2009, 7:14 am
Filed under: Seattle, soccer

While the rest of the country gets geeked up about the NCAA Basketball tournament, I’m excited about tonight’s inaugural game for the Seattle Sounders FC.  I grew up playing baseball and baseball only.  But at the age of 15, my very small private school’s soccer team desperately needed bodies just to be able to field a full team.  A few of my best friends were on the team, and I knew that this might be my only shot at lettering in a sport, so I jumped in.  I stumbled my way through, playing defense my first year, given that I had exactly zero ball handling skills.  But I fell in love with it, and worked extra time in order to be ready for my senior year.  I got good enough to move to midfield and have a little more impact on scoring, etc.  Ever since then, I’ve loved the game.  Tonight’s game is sold out, so I won’t be joining in the revelry in person.  But, I’ll definitely be going to a game or two this season.  I’d consider buying a team jersey, except I don’t like the idea of paying 90 bucks to be a walking billboard for X-Box.  I’ll probably settle for a scarf or a sweatshirt.



Tweek, Dec. 19
December 19, 2008, 7:09 pm
Filed under: Seattle, twitter

Our tweet for the week comes to us from Seattlite Joshua Longbrake (blog here / Twitter here):

thelongbrake The weathermen in Seattle can’t even predict the past.
Wed, Dec 17 08:21:12



Nickelsville Resident Poet
December 4, 2008, 6:58 am
Filed under: friends, Seattle, social action, the purple door

My friend Jeff posted the following video of his friend, Beau.  He is one of the residents of Nickelsville, and tells a little bit of his story, and shares one of his poems.  For you non-Seattlites, Nickelsville is a homeless encampment currently located in the University District, just a few blocks away from The Purple Door.  The residents have been pushed around by the city leadership, with particularly aggressive moves made by mayor Greg Nickels – so they honored him by naming their little town after him.  These are not your “typical” homeless folks – many have jobs and families.

I’ve met Beau briefly, and as you’ll see from the video, he’s a pretty smart guy.



An Irishman, a Puerto Rican, a Texan, and a Californian walk into a pub . . .
November 19, 2008, 11:36 am
Filed under: books, conference, emerging church, friends, Seattle, theology

Yesterday was a fun, thought-filled (thought-full?) day with friends.  Church of the Apostles hosted a couple of theology pub dialogues with Peter Rollins from Belfast, Ireland.  I got a shout this past weekend from Ryan Sharp, who was interested in coming up from Portland for it – he jumped on a train, and I picked him up from the station.  We grabbed a quick bite, went to the Fremont Abbey for the talk, then went out afterwards to the Greenlake Zoka with Eliacin for some de-brief chat.  So there you have it – an Irishman (Rollins), a Puerto Rican (Eliacin), a Texan (Ryan – though he’s not a proud Texan in the way most are), a Californian (moi), and a pub (well, sort of – they didn’t have any actual “pub fare” for the afternoon thing we went to).

1118081341 Pete Rollins is the author of How (Not) To Speak of God and The Fidelity of Betrayal.  He’s also one of the founders of the Ikon community in Belfast.  He’s also  PhD Postmodern Philosopher.  He’s also quite funny.  He also has the ability to speak at blazing speeds with that Irish accent of his.  The last three of those things often left my head spinning . . . and yet wanting more.  Oh, he also keeps himself on time by continuously referring to his cool pocket watch.

I’ve not gotten a chance to read The Fidelity of Betrayal yet, so I don’t know exactly how redundant his talk was to that book, but there were so many good sentences – things I’ll be chewing on for a while.  Here are a few gems to start.  I’ll probably come back sporadically and pop a few more on here.

– “It’s not about convincing your mind to believe given truth, it’s about convincing your ‘social self,’ where the real belief resides.”  In other words, the belief resides in the actions of the body, not in the head.

– “The real question is not whether or not God exists, but ‘What is God saying to me?'”

– “Your beloved doesn’t meet your needs.  Your beloved creates your need.  ‘I never needed you until you arrived, and then I realized that I’ve always needed you.'”