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Thursday, August 10, 2006
Emerging Dilemma 2
In chapter eight of A New Kind of Christian, McLaren challenges his audience to consider whether or not Christianity is seen as a force of good in the world. In my experience, Christians are viewed as hypocritical, uncompassionate, and pushy and yes, even materialistic. As an “emergent” I aim to redefine Christianity and, for the sake of evangelism, hope to convey the opposite of those listed above. How drastic though, are the means by which these things should be accomplished? Should we sell our fully loaded luxury vehicles for reliable, though less fancy modes of transportation that may or may not be as aesthetically pleasing or complete with all the top notch convenient amenities? Do we listen more and share less? In taking our ministry to the clubs and bars are we merely becoming bystanders of unethical and immoral behavior; when and how, if at all, do we speak up? To the first I personally am apt to say yes. To the second and third some might question whether or not this movement is too laid back. Are we accurately portraying the urgency of becoming a follower of Christ, or out of a reactionary response are we teetering on the side of passiveness? Are we compassionate, empathetic and inviting, or are we “winning by popularity”?
Would love to hear your take.

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posted by Tiffanie Lloyd at 1:44 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 8/10/2006 04:49:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    well it all is wrapped up in what you mean by following Christ. how we live our lives often is a result of how we see christianity. If its about getting saved and then being as good as you can be until you go to heaven - then to accuse other forms of following christ as trying to be popular fits the worldview. Others see following christ as trying to live by kingdom values. so most rules created by american evangelicals aren't the focus, but serving others, loving others, and caring for them is the focus. If by loving my friends I drink with them in bars I am working for christ's kingdom (but I also see nothing immoral about drinking in a bar).

    but anyway, there is a lot more to be said in response to your question. I'm eager to read what others think and will add more later.

  • At 8/10/2006 11:50:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    At this point, my thinking in general is moderation, and to be observant of my surroundings. Ex. I have people in many camps that I am surrounded by. Some, I can openly discuss many topics with and they are open to "emergent thought" or at least are willing to converse about it. Others, I have had to tip toe around and try to express my opinions and thoughts less "obviously". I don't do it to "hide" what I think, but I know that the transition that occurred in my thoughts were not overnight. I try to remember that there is a lot to consider for some people and little doses may work better than overwhelming them. What I have gotten from "emergent" is to remember that I could and will evolve over time in my thinking. To remember that God works with each of us in different ways. To be me and seek God's guidance, knowing that I will not always do what's right or I will even miss the guidance I am given. We are all right and wrong somewhere...I just try to keep that in mind. So even if I don't connect as well with the previous views I had, I realize that God has still worked within those views. I know that the basis I had got me here, and now I can have an impact some way also.
    As for the comment on the immoral behavior happening in bars and clubs, the bottom line is, everyone is in control of themselves. Those places are not the only places that immoral behavior occurs...it occurs within church circles all the time, we just don't see it as obviously.
    I just think at this stage, there is and will be a lot of open ended questions etc. We are used to "bullet point" rules and steps to religion and faith, so not necessarily having it anymore is hard.
    The continuing conversation is a great way to keep these thoughts processing with in us.

  • At 8/11/2006 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Joanne

    There is certainly much to be siad on this post, and I am often loathed to add further reading to what are becoming burgeoning bookcases. However, for testimony and inspiration on missiological approaches in the pub/club hinterland then I point you to Pete Grieg's books 'Red Moon Rising' and 'The Vision and the Vow.' The first is the story of the 24-7 prayer movement, the second one of the best books I have read about community and covenantal committment.

    From my experiences in the UK club scene, these can indeed be the very places where God can work most powerfully and prophetically.

    For a different context, a quick flag for Michael Volland 'God on the Beach' who looks at the surfing culture of the UK - although I am sure that it is transferable wisdom.

  • At 8/11/2006 01:38:00 PM, Blogger unmuzzled

    I guess it depends on the condition of your heart and your maturity level. Some can go into thee places and do good things for the Kingdom others can’t. Has God called you? If so go for it, He did.

  • At 8/11/2006 04:27:00 PM, Blogger soldiermom

    Such good responses people. I love reading your ideas. It is inspiring. I picked up on:

    "...are we merely becoming bystanders of unethical and immoral behavior..." I guess if we are called to enter into where non-believers dwell we are to be bystanders of immoral behavior. What else would we find there? First God changes the heart, then the behavior follows. Don't ya think? Could our reactions be less focused on the behavior and more focused on accepting people in spite of their sin? Let God worry about calling them a sinner in his own time. We need to call them "family" and "well loved" first. Which is of course, a horse of a different and really hard color! But it may scream loudly to those who God has called to listen.

  • At 8/15/2006 10:13:00 AM, Blogger From the Margins

    Taking off on the 'sin' issue ... what if sin is not a God Problem anymore, having taken care of His issue with ALL sin on the cross? What if God calls NO ONE a sinner anymore, seeing all things through blood of Christ? Was The Cross a complete work or not, from God's perspective? What if He can only see Through the Cross of His Son ... no going around? Sort of flirts with what Billy was alluding to, I do believe.

    Do we like actually like the label, sinner? Does it make us feel better? better than?

    What if the Divine 'They' are Finished with the problem of sin and are now actively participating in the ballgame of life with all humanity to help us see the affects of sin on ourselves and one another in this time frame?

    What if the 'urgency'(as stated in Tiffanie's original post) is human driven ... a Greek philosophical mindset that hijacked the Good News and continues to provide the high-octane fuel for the evangelical, modern frenzy of perfomance based salvation?

  • At 8/19/2006 10:56:00 PM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    Just listened to New Kind of Christian on audio, so sorry this quote is from memory. Doesn't he also say something about Christ focusing on redeeming the culture and taking the sin out of the culture. It was in reference to the story about the Ugandan dance troup and a discussion of missional transmission of western european christianity rather than transmitting Christ to a culture.

    So, my thought is this - does it matter where we are and what we do, as long as we do it to draw closer to God and do not ourselves sin in doing so? Kind of like what Paul says about meat sacrificed to idols and how it bothered some and not others. Shouldn't we refrain from sinning ourselves, and also not assume that other's actions are also sin for them. Please don't take me to be saying that there is no right and wrong, no ethical lines. But I've been thinking a lot lately about the purpose of the law (which I am currently defining as guidelines for restoring relationships people to people and people to God), the meaning of sin (what damages relationships P2P and P2God), and the idea that the overwhelming principles at work between P2P and P2God are love and freedom from control. If we don't try to control other's behaviors, if we love them and hope to nurture who God created them to be, then my thought is: musicians can make music, dancers can dance, clubbers could club and it is all redeemed from sin for Christ as God transforms them.

    I guess personally I mourn the loss of the martial arts I used to do. When I became a Christian, I was told Christians don't do that, they convinced me it was sin. I've lost that entire community that could have been redeemed, instead it was just thrown away as something "sinful." I'd love to go back, but that experience has tarnished my joy and I haven't had the determination to overcome it yet.

    Hope this wasn't too rambling and incoherent...

  • At 8/21/2006 07:47:00 AM, Blogger Nanci's Musings

    This is such a good conversation. I think we just need to be and be out there 'in the world.' We need to not be afraid of being tainted or anything like that. We need to get out there and live and be the aroma of Christ to the world. I love in the margin's comments about sin and how we focus too much on sin.

    We are living in the resurrection and how can we all flourish? What is it to have life more abundantly and how do we encourage those we encounter, in bars, at raves, at the museum, at the U.N., at the grocery store, etc. on their spiritual journey. Everyone is on a spiritual journey even if they don't realise it.

    How can we really love and accept people for where they are at and also learn from them. I learn more from my nonChristian friends sometimes about God and spirituality....we are all pilgrams. I think Jesus is such a great model---he hung out with the 'sinners' and they were compelled to change by his love and his character, not his preaching.


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