Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Less Futon, More Reform

So there I sat in Good Friday service, Struck. As I heard the charges against Jesus read from Luke I was amazed at the idea of Jesus as a revolutionary.

They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am." Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king." So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man." But they insisted, "He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here."

He was so vehemently flying in the face of the established Judaisms that they had to kill him. He was a radical. I was resolute. Upon returning home after my Easter vacation, I would be more subversive. More radical. More Christlike.

As soon as I got home, I went to my friend Shawn's blog and found this: The Pentecost Project.

I was struck. My wife and I had already decided to pay down some debt with the entirety of the money. But I think that we should do something more. What if we decided to give a percent as a community to one unified goal. What if everyone at my church gave 10% of their "Bush Bucks" to a single purpose. We would be easily giving nearly $10,000. What could this do for our community? Not just our church but Myrtle Beach as a whole.

I need to be involved in this.

We Need to be involved in this.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Well Needed Self-Critique and Apology

Let me begin by saying I don't think that anything said in a blog can be taken back. Once it is said, it is said.

That being said, I was a bit harsh in my critique of some of the groups in the emergent church in my last post. I was particularly unkind to Brian Mclaren's A Generous Orthodoxy. Though I am quite sure Brian will never read my blog, I offer a heartfelt apology for my unkind words. They were not the language of constructive conversation. I am sorry, I really am.

My intent in many areas of the blog was to be a bit more playful, but that did not come across affectively enough. I would probably be lumped in with many in the emerging church. I have dark rim glasses and strong opinions on church. in the minds of most, that puts me square in their ranks. I don't agree with many of the strands of emergent thought, but they are brothers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Five Types of the Emerging Church

So in my continuing analysis of the Emerging Church, I have decided to assign scientific names to 5 different categories of the movement. I have heard that Mark Driscoll has done the same thing. I haven't heard his lecture on the subject, so anything found here is no reflection or purposeful subversion of his categories.

Type 1: Emergentus - Destructicus

This first genus-species of the emerging church is one of the earliest forms. This category includes the early emergent thinkers who first began to see the need for change. Many, if not most, of these thinkers have a decent knowledge of philosophy and began to apply the postmodern rubric to the then modern church. They looked around and said, "everything must change". Their early work was met with considerable hostility as they sought to take their congregations on a spiritual journey. Brian Mclaren is probably the prototype for this group. The previously reviewed ANKOC is their banner. On the positive side Emergentus Destructicae tend to emphasize the discontinuity between the American evangelical church and the church of the first and second century. The problem is that their solution is less than satisfying. The closest they have come to putting forth a theology is A Generous Orthodoxy which is in the end, gobbly-gook. It says nothing constructive and does not affectively push towards a solution. These are the nay-sayers, the doomsday prophets of the evangelical movement. This group sells unrest and mistrust in the system.

Type 2: Emergentus - Savvae

This second group is by far the savviest of the crowds. Included in this classification are the ermergent folks with good hair-cuts and decent theologies. This crowd tends to be at least a decade younger than Emergentus Destructicus and are far better looking. Rob Bell is the archetypical Savvae. The leaders of this crowd have a degree of education much like the Destructicae, but tend to spurn their degrees. Many of these pastors are seminary grads who were disenchanted by the process. They are the strongest theologians of the Emergentus genus. Their theology, though, tends to be deeply influenced by late 20th century post-liberal and post-conservative writers. There is a touch of N.T. Wright, Hauerwas, and even Jurgen Moltmann. They have a bit of the ideas of corporate justification and liberation theology. This causes them to be some of the most socially conscience of the Emergenticae. They combine style (of which they have a ton) with a skewed sense of substance. This substance is very fluid and can quickly devolve into relativism. It is difficult pin these leaders down. What would they die for? What would they change their haircut for? They tend to sell cool as well as an intellectualism that has difficulties at the core of their beliefs.

Type 3 Emergentus - Megas

This third group is an odd development. This group has taken all the trappings, theologies, and methodology of the mega church movement and given it cooler clothes. They have moved their service from Saturday night back to Sunday night. They still have the goal of getting as many people as possible into the doors of the meeting place. (They wouldn't like the word Sanctuary or even Worship Center). Dan Kimball is the clearest example of Megas. This group has style but is completely devoid of substance. They like to think of themselves as Savvae but are in fact poor parodies of the others. The focus is completely on the weekly worship service and nothing more. They sell cool and just cool.

Type 4 Emergentus - Shruggus

Next we have before us the least vocal and active of the Emergentae. This groups is part of non-emergent churches and is simply sympathetic to the plight of the rest of the genus. They read emergent books and still go to traditional or seeker churches. They would change churches, but don't really fell like. It as if they say, "But I'm le tired..." Donald Miller fits tis category nicely. They are taking the "We'll outlive the rest of our church, so lets just wait until then to do anything" approach. This group looks at the plight of evangelicism and shrugs. They sell a nonchalance and low level cool.

Type 5 Emergentus - Paedius

This last group is the scariest of the Emergentae. They are the children of the revolution. Many of the leaders of this crowd have no theological training or very little. They simply didn't like the church of their youth and wanted a cool church. These church are youth groups who have never grown up. They attempt to recreate the buzz of a youth group with all the feelings of a "big people" church. They completely lack depth but love the idea of depth. They are socially active, because they see their Savvae cousins are socially active. Everything they do is mimicking one of the other Emergentae. They are the little brothers trying dearly to fit in. Unfortunately for all involved this church causes the most danger. They lack theological training and accountability. They are a law unto themselves and are in danger of trampling the sacraments under foot. (I know I show a bit of my bias with that statement) They sell style above all, yet the lack the depth of Savvae and the thought-out shallowness of the Megas. I have purposefully omitted a picture here to avoid overly vilifying any one person or church.