Beside the release of my interview with Brian McLaren on the Homebrewed Christianity podcast [link] (also available on Itunes), I have been busy reading all week. I have gotten a pretty good survey of all the big discussions going on in, around, and because of the release of Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”.
my fellow student Bill Walker has a very insightful take, asking “is this really about theology?” at the end he quotes a buddy
“In such a climate, is it really possible to be moderate? Is it possible to have deep convictions but be willing to change your mind? Is it possible to believe you need the voices of those you disagree with? I’m often told that the moderate sits on a slippery slope. That’s fair enough. But I suspect those criticizing moderates for being on the slippery slope have already slipped down…some to the left, some to the right. I don’t mind being on the slope. It’s when I’m not on it that it makes me worry. Maybe we need more people on the slope.”
The Red-letter Christians site asks “is this is the beginning of significant split that is coming?” [link]
The most vocal factions of leadership of Evangelicalism have increasingly been wary of—and even rejected young Evangelical leaders over the past several years as being too liberal or not reformed enough. Young leaders who for the past several years who have clung to the title of ‘evangelical’ (simply because that is who we are) are growing increasingly uncomfortable with being associated with much of the conservative leadership.
Patheos has a article with Eugene Peterson that is WELL worth the time! [link]
I knew that people would jump on me for writing the endorsement. I wrote the endorsement because I would like people to listen to him. He may not be right. But he’s doing something worth doing. There’s so much polarization in the evangelical church that it’s a true scandal. We’ve got to learn how to talk to each other and listen to each other in a civil way.
This is interesting stuff I have skimmed up in the sea of controversy that has been stirred up. I know that some folks just don’t care or see why this matters very much. I get that. BUT if I say anything to them I would say “you will care about this in about a decade or so.” With the Mainline liberal church in a collapse narrative, the emergent conversation increasingly dispersed, the conservative retrenchment and the unbelievable rate of attrition (loss) of our young people across denominational lines… this will become a real issue that will really impact the way we do and talk about church.
I will be honest with you: I am ready to fight over this stuff. In fact, if it weren’t for those pesky teaching of Jesus I would become very aggressive about this. I am just so tired of the tight-fisted control and suppression by those who consider themselves the self-appointed ‘Gate Keepers’ of evangelical theology.
But alas I will not get aggressive. I will love, I will listen, I will learn, and I will serve. My plan is to continue to minister in the church and to continue my theological education in order to help the next generation navigate this tricky water with integrity.
March 19, 2011 at 11:52 am
I often get put in the “heretic” or “fallen away” or “turned away” category simply because I don’t concur with a lot of other Christians… but that’s OK because I’m willing to ask the questions that many don’t dare to ask.
March 19, 2011 at 11:59 am
I’ll admit, questions can be Terrifying. When I first started asking the big questions about a decade ago…I was SO scared of the ‘boogey man’. I had been told the the margin for error was VERY small.
But ya – I’m with you , we have to be willing to ask the questions.
March 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm
The day we stop asking questions is the day the church dies. Or starts dying. I honestly believe that doubt and question and preponderance and wonder and wrestling with the status quo and being uncomfortable with what you’ve been told to believe are all key elements to having a dynamic and vibrant spiritual life. I think back on all the great reformers and apologists and theologians and thinkers and philosophers and I notice one thing they all have in common: they are not afraid to ask scary questions. If you can’t sit down and ask yourself, “I’ve been told this thing my whole life, but do I really believe this is what is going on?” then you have no business
participating in the discussion. I think every Christian should be exposed to the most inflammatory and challenging and different information out there and ask some really really hard questions. If we aren’t thinking about this stuff, we aren’t growing!
March 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm
Two wise thoughts from my mother: 1) God is big enough to handle your most challenging questions (and by comparison, everyone else matters little). 2) Christians ought to be able to disagree more agreeably than anyone else (if the good news is really the highest priority). The Eugene Peterson article was amazing…talk about gracious. I especially appreciated the use of the words “true scandal”…could not agree more.