Saturday, April 09, 2005

today abu and I found broken beer bottles in the school yard. beautiful.

Since the schoolyard is mostly fenced in and seldom has children in it, I took abu there to give her a run and refresh her on the whole "come here" scenario. Apparently the run did her good, because instead of running back and forth across the house or mauling me every 30 seconds, she's passed out on the kitchen floor panting like she's gonna die.

Boy, can that dog ever run.

Personally, I think that throwing beer bottles into an elementary school playground is pretty low. That's just me though.

We took them home. Guess I'll go throw them in the dumpster now.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

By way of Leighton, who is proficient at summarizing complicated matters for non-detail minded people such as myself, I visited EmergentNo a christian site dedicated to the criticism of the emergent church.

Now, let me just say, that I haven't bothered myself with details about the "Emerging Church" mainly because I'm a word person, so I tend to think that the name tells me everything I need to know. The Emerging Church is a church which is emerging, thus, it is new, small, and has to do with fresh ways of looking at old things. That sounds good to me, because I am young, disenchanted with old, ineffective dogma, and hate large crowds. Am I part of the emerging church? I don't know, probably. Is my church an "emergent church?" Maybe, I couldn't say for sure. Am I familiar with doctrine or literature that influences the emerging church? No, not really.

I guess the reason I mention all this is because I find all the details bothersome. Christians will always throw stones at one another, simply because they don't agree on details, and they refuse to consider that maybe they could learn something from the people they understand the least. As far as the people writing at EmergentNo, I feel almost as though I know them, they are the people I was raised by, went to church with, was rejected and put down by, and eventually put behind me. They wanted me to sweat the details, and for a while I played along, debated their theology, and in doing so realized that correct or not, it somehow carried no power. Something was wrong, it had to be, because the the original church was an explosion, it grew by thousands a day. People were radically saved and changed and baptized...... but in the here and now, being "right" wasn't accomplishing much of anything, aside from more and more denominations, and more and more churches.

The town I grew up in was the "church capital" of canada, with more churches per capita than any other town, and most of those churches conservative mennonite churches.

The way I see it, every church movement that I have studied (my studies are brief, like my attention span, so my knowledge is far from complete) has been emergent. The original church emerged from the martyrdom of a heretical teacher, Jesus. The Catholic church emerged out of something, but I don't know what, because I don't see much of what they're doing in scripture. The Lutherans emerged out of another dude's "heretical" letter nailed to the door of the catholic church. The Mennonites emerged out of religious persecution, and at the time was an effective, dynamic, growing movement. Each movement slowed down, became stagnant, and then persecuted the following movement, which thrived and flourished and grew until it too became stagnant.

We have to consider the possibility that "church" as we know it has become stagnant, and that somewhere, somehow, the Church can become fresh again, and grow, and become powerful and relevant. Rest assured, however, that should you follow God into a fresh movement, the others will be there to criticize and persecute.

As for me, I don't like details, and I don't like living in a box. I believe that Jesus was telling the truth when he said that "true religion" is taking care of widows and orphans, and that the whole law and all the prophets hang on two simple directives, "Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself." I believe that my faith can be as simple as that. I believe that all the details will line themselves up when you put the horse before the cart. My faith as a teenager and growing up was a lot more complicated, but then, I was a lot more miserable, my relationship with God stunted and frustrating, and my life a cesspool of guilt and striving. The older I get, the less I know (scary, because I'm not very old, and it seems I know very little already) but it's better that way. I guess that Jesus was handing over a great piece of wisdom when He said "You can know a tree by the fruit it bears."

I went to the regional prophetic conference last night, and listened to Wesley Campbell talk about desperate condition of 75% of the world, the incredible population of the world, and the prophesied church growth that will come before the end, and I realized that the church is not in any way equipped to handle such a thing. Most of those people live in third world countries, and are starving to death, while the church makes precious little effort to help them. 30,000 children die of starvation every day. I learned last night that of the money that goes to humanitarian causes from the united states, three quarters comes from secular sources.

And yet, Jesus said that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans. Does the church think that the world will be attracted to their self involvement?

I welcome an emerging movement. I will wait to see the fruit of this thing before I attempt to chop it down, because I don't see the current movement bearing much fruit at all, good or bad. In the meantime, I won't sweat the details. I want to pursue true religion, and I want to seek the kingdom of God in simplicity and sincerity. I believe that if everyone did this, if everyone loved God with all their heart and took care of their neighbor, a good portion of the world's problems would dissolve.

I don't know. Everyone's got a piece I guess. Nobody wants to share.
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