Monday, November 10, 2008

where do i fit in?

i love life! my wife and two children derek and grace. what a gift to be held by each of them, and warmly. i have great and real friends who share an understanding of God that can't be articulated only lived.

i'm sitting here doing my favorite activities, indulging in some belgium beer i picked up from a liquor store in san diego, Corsendonk an abbey ale. i was drawn to the picture of mary holding jesus, what better sales ploy could you have really. i've got my incense burning as i'm listening to Duke Special, suggested from my friend and mentor who doesn't even know me, peter rollins. all the while reading and sitting here wondering.

last week i attended, at the invitation of the synod office and our new assistant to the bishop for outreach, an outreach national conference in san diego. little did i realize how i've grown to be anti-evangelical, that is, those who i have determined to be driven theologically more by propositional concerns than matters incarnational. i had a stirring conversation, albeit short, with dan kimball. even though i was a bit agressive in my questioning, probably too judgmental (sorry dan i just yearn for conversational parnters). from my perspective in what i was wanting to talk about the conversation boiled down to heeding jesus call to make disciples. dan's claim was that peter rollins and others like karen are not doing that only gathering people together with no real leadership development into discipleship. i think we'd all agree that discipleship is key, the question for me becomes what does it mean to learn from jesus and what are we actually teaching people from jesus? do we teach all the biased perspectives from scripture as truth or could they be contextualized. is there a formational, character building piece, in isolation from being missional in service to God's world? what does it mean to cast your nets? i've always thought about it in relationship to his first words about his primary mission "repent and believe, the kingdom of heaven is at hand." what does it look like for us as disciples to learn that we are caught in God's kingdom net? is it merely a propositional venture? this is where i love peter rollin's ideas that propositions are the very aftermath seeking to articulate the very encounter we've had with the holy.

i'm wondering recently about the pursuits we have in life. i've been listening and learning about the emergent conversation and heard a lecture from the 2007 aar event, the second emergent forum at the event. the event had scott mcknight, diana butler bass and tony jones. tony mentioned an interesting thing about those who are pursuing this thing. he said essentially, 'you know, a lot of those who are involved in this are involved because this is their last ditch effort for being involved in church. if this didn't exist they will be joining the 125 million who are predicted to be leaving the church by 2050.'

wow! so where is my home? i want to be a part of a church that isn't afraid of critically thinking about absolutely everything. that learns to live the very grace oriented life it so eloquently articulates and celebrates.

ya know in my own wondering and discerning for going to get a phd i have had a lot of people tell me that i shouldn't do it because i'd be missing out on the very thing i was trying to create, an alternative church. the other thing i hear is that you don't want to do that because you'll become too aloof, esoteric and elitist from the very people you want to help and make a difference for. this all has me thinking because that's how i've often experienced a lot of those phd people too.

but on the flip side maybe it has something to do with what tony jones says, this is the only way they would ever be connected to church. you know, me and my judgmental ways, i wonder why is would it be that one of my professors whom i admire so much through my dmin program at luther, why does he not attend a local church, why is he himself not connected to an incarnational community of faith? even as he helps others to be church, how is he being church? maybe this is the only thing keeping him alive as in any way connected to the church and if he didn't have this outlet he wouldn't even be involved.

i admire tony for at least being connected to his place solomon's porch, even though i've had a bad experience years ago with their pastor. maybe at some level we're all just doing the best we can with where we are and what's available and for how we're trying to make a difference. maybe that's just what a lot of this comes down to. maybe its the best way to deal with the depression for the immensely systematic mess and enigma we find ourselves in as the transitioning church and how God is trying to work through us to birth a new reality. maybe. all i know and all i really hold on to are the thoughts from bonhoeffer's "i am" poem...wherever i fit in, wherever my place is in this world even as i'm still discerning what i should do and where i fit in..."whoever i am, i am thine."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You said:
wow! so where is my home? i want to be a part of a church that isn't afraid of critically thinking about absolutely everything. that learns to live the very grace oriented life it so eloquently articulates and celebrates.

Is it really necessary that we think about everything?

Do we have to question everything?

I think part of the process of this 'think and question'phenomena is that we are possibly insecure in what we believe or have been led to believe?

Perhaps it is because what we have been taught or heard that just seems to not ring quite true that we have all these 'questions'?

Perhaps it is time to get back to the old masters and hear what they said about issues?

I do not trust a book if it is less than 100 years old, general rule, but there is space for movement. I find that despite our ability to access so much information courtesy of the net, we have even less answers and my theory is that we have indulged too many false one liner preachers and have forgotten the old guys who had time to really think things thru - guys like Bullinger, Gillham, Schaeffer etc. (okay, so 2 of those three are less than 100 years old but what they say started out back then.)

Dunno if I am making sense - i need to go sleep!