Saturday, March 29, 2008

Smart Move Einstein!

I'm just kickin' it watching some o' the History channel's series "The Universe" and they just talked about Einstein's formation of the theory of general relativity. They pointed out that even as he was forming the theory that spoke of space-time being shaped by gravity, he resisted the conclusion that the universe must be dynamic. He wanted to believe in a static, eternal universe so badly that he rejected his own findings that the universe must be finite and dynamic.

As a church planter I see the same things happening in the emerging church. There are people who are re-reading the bible and proposing some great things about how we ought to do church, but they are not ready or willing to accept the logical end of their proposals. So churches and leaders may be speaking the words of the emerging church, but their actions do not reflect their words.

I wonder not if, but to what extent I do that. I know that I'm steeped in my traditions and it is hard for me to shed their bonds in favor of a completely fresh reading of the bible. I hope that I can offer something of worth to the conversation.


Mike Lewis said...

So churches and leaders may be speaking the words of the emerging church, but their actions do not reflect their words.

What would you say are the conclusions or actions that churches and leaders might need to realize?

Unknown said...

I'm with Big Mike, I'm feeling the need for a finer point on things. I think with any new movement, people move cautiously at first trying to work out the implications. I'm not a fan of entrenched traditions, but I've also unwittingly charged ahead with what I thought were "fresh new ideas" that turned out to be old bad ideas discarded long ago. That's the good side of tradition, rendered more positive by the phrase "best practices."

rich jandt said...

James, it's deep thoughts like this why you went to grad school. What a great thing to think about.
One thing I'm re-reading in the Bible is cultural status quos. For instance what was the cultural influence in the book of 1 Tim? What was that same influence for Stone and Campbell when they re-read it? What is it for us today? If we truly are an autonomous being could that mean different things? Duality is a scary thing.
In my own mind I can see churches being run in micro-breweries. Women Preachers and Elders. I don’t even think instruments are argued over anymore. (are they)?

KMiV said...

I have to agree with James a little. Evertt Huffard, dean at the school where you attending, told me once that most ministers do not get out into their communities. This is the key point in Emerging Churches--they are missional/incarnational.

I remember when I went to HUGSR I saw a lot of guys getting an M.Div. who wouldn't get their hands dirty. I saw a lot who were virtually paralyzed around non-church people. Now many of them have confessed to me that they work with church committees rather than the community.

I see many ministers who go weeks without sharing their faith with the "sinners and tax collectors." It is odd that this was the reputation Jesus had in his community--"He eats with sinners and tax collectors (thugs--mafia)."

And yet--I hear so many of them speaking at our lectures and conferences on "missional church."

I understand what James is saying here. Missional Church theology needs to be led by leaders, ministers, elders, teachers, professors, and Bible scholars. We all agree that the church is declining and needs to have a mission--but who is willing to do this and lead the way?

Ryan Woods said...

Great post James. But I just wanted to answer Rich's last question with a resounding YES. Sadly, yes, they are.