It appears as if my post yesterday has caused a stir in some of my circle of friends. And out of that, all kinds of good questions have been put to me by these people (see some of the comments below). I think the stir has produced both positive and negative feelings as we all are wrestling with the Church, since we all are a part of it, and all love it. And my friends and I want to be a part of the constructive dialoguing that is taking place.
Good questions such as:
1) What exactly is the crisis in the church you are talking about? What needs to be reformed?
2) Is this paradigm shift you are talking about a fad, which is at the whim of the people, or a legit move into a new paradigm, led by God?
3) Is it possible that the very things you talk about as being a barrier to reform, such as arrogance and a clinging to power, actually a possible reality in those who want to reform? Meaning, there is as much a possibility that those who consider themselves reformers are actually trying to grasp for power in the new paradigm?
All good questions. Many of which I have thought about, and many of which I do not have answers. But this is a good place to dialogue on these things, and to critically inform one another as we attempt to bring light to the issues, in hopes of being a part of the great things God has been doing in the Church.
At this point, let me turn your attention to a few articles, and other bloggers, so as to create fodder for discussion.
What is the crisis?
One of the things that I see as a crisis in the church today is the issue of consumerism, church shopping, and the lack of commitment in community. All of which I struggle with myself, so as not to think I am only pointing fingers, when I am a big part of the problem. On this issue, check out the June 2003 issue of Christianity Today, Suburban Spirituality. Great critique of some of the issues that I believe are part of the crisis of the Church today. I would also point you to the blog of Tod Bolsinger, who is pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church. His site It Takes A Church has great material on it in regards to the purpose of community, “staying put”, and the Church.
Why do I think it is so important? I have grown up in the church my whole life, and being a part of church community is one of the most amazing agents in formation. I was challenged greatly by the January 2005 article, The Church, Why Bother?. It is a great look at the importance of being a part of a church community. Again Tod Bolsinger has great posts on the topic of community.
What is Emergent?
For those of you who don’t know what Emergent is, the November 2004 article, The Emergent Mystique, gives one a better understanding of what people are talking about. In regards to my own views as I mentioned yesterday. I am not saying, nor do I believe at this point that the “emergent movement” is the answer, or the next paradigm. But rather, it has been the one open place of dialogue for me where I can talk openly with other people who love the church, about the church. There are not many places you can do that without fear of some reprecussions, or with the fear of the Inquisition knocking down your door.
I hope these thoughts will give you food for thought. I would also point you to Cameron Jorgenson, who is a Ph.D. student at Baylor University. Cameron is interested in moral formation, and is one of the smart people when it comes to all issues. He will be posting some articles in the next few days and weeks on this issue of reform, innovation, etc. His site can be read at Summa Aesthetica.
Looking forward to hearing more….