Friday, September 7, 2012
the night started off fairly mellow and then a woman dressed as a go go dancer came up and joined us. she was on her way to her dancing gig at the local club but God seemed to have other plans for her evening. i'll call her samantha. now, how often do you have someone in a black pleather micro mini, black knee high boots and matching top that is quite provocative at your church gathering? not often i bet! most everyone took it in stride since hey we're on the street and we're in their turf and she was dressed for her gig after all. samantha was quite a funny woman and very talkative and lively. the great thing about being a part of a group that is missional is that we don't wait for people to come to us in a church building who probably have no interest in "going to church" anyway. rather, we go to them. we hang out where they hang out and try to love on them and share christ with them and serve them.
a little later some of us went down the street to see who else wanted to come to our church gathering. each week we serve a meal and have a time for our leader antquan to preach the Word, and we invite those hanging out at the corner to join us. we don't have any chairs or anything we just sit on the curb in the parking lot or on the window sills at the laundromat that we meet in front of. a certain amount of activity and talking is expected, even during the sermon as we are meeting in a 7-11 parking lot after all. last night was one of the more interactive, and active, evenings though. about halfway into the sermon almost half of "the congregation" takes off and runs over to the sidewalk, including antquan our preacher! it seems a fight was about to break out and our friends from the street went over to defend their friend, and antquan of course went over to see if he could help prevent a fight. so, the rest of us are sort of on pause waiting for our preacher and much of our congregation to come back. i leaned over to holly, our urban missionary who regularly blogs about the street, and said "this is the craziest ministry" with a smile and we both laughed. fortunately, a fight did not break out and then everyone came back and the sermon resumed.
the congregation were interrupting antquan's sermon and interjecting their comments and questions and it was becoming rather interesting, distracting and entertaining even. our go go dancer, samantha, wasn't too receptive to the sermon and said she felt that people could for the most part live and do what they wanted if they tried to be good people. some of our friends from the street chimed in though and the next thing we know our friends are giving short testimonies of how God has helped them through their personal temptations and struggles. one person shared about God helping them get off crystal meth and how God has really been there since they've gotten out of jail. another guy, who is a strong believer, shared how he was concerned when he came out of a mental hospital years ago how he would do without his meds. well, he is just fine and i would have never known from the conversations we've had that he had any mental illness in the past. God has obviously healed him. after the sermon antquan said we'd have open mike night (we don't actually have a mike) and some of the guys got into discussing their various beliefs about God. i only caught a little of that but it was quite interesting to hear the various perspectives and it was great to see the guys engaged and discussing God.
at some point in the evening i had leaned over to samantha and asked her if she had anything she wanted me to include on our prayer list for her as she mentioned that she'd be moving the next day. i thought it might be a way for her to stay connected to us as she really did seem to enjoy hanging with us after all. she wasn't at all receptive to wanting prayer and even looked slightly annoyed i'd asked although i had sort of felt God wanted me to ask her. well, less than 5 minutes later she motions to me to lean in and asked me to pray for her son. she shared with me some difficult things happening in her life and hard decisions she had to make, and i assured her we would be praying for her and her situation. she commented to me that it was strange that she had met us the night before she was reluctantly planning to move far away. i don't know if we'll see samantha again but she certainly was a fun and lively woman and hopefully she got to experience a bit of God's light and love as we all hung out together.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
In his book, Exit Interviews, William D. Hendricks demonstrates that most of the dechurched (those who formerly attended or even served in a local church but have since left church-life altogether) have not lost faith in God. They have lost faith in the church. They have "grown disillusioned with the church and other institutions of Christianity" and have "lost the energy and enthusiasm they once had for programs of spiritual development." Consequently, they "are now looking elsewhere to meet their deepest spiritual needs" (Exit Interview, 11).
The dechurched leave primarily because they are disillusioned with the church. They claim it is not "spiritual" enough - that it is stunting their growth.
Perhaps we should take their criticism seriously. Maybe the dechurched have exposed a very real weak spot in many evangelical churches - a stunted model of spiritual formation that leaves little room for questions, doubts, and rediscovery. Could it be that the stunted growth of the evangelical church comes from a stunted model of spiritual formation?
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Friday, March 2, 2012
Monday, August 29, 2011
If we tune in carefully, we can detect this growing desire for authenticity all around us. ... A culture of care is advertised and celebrated and cherished. Values are important once more: the values that the artist puts into the making of an object as well as the values that the consumer takes out of the object. And all of these striven-for values are separate to the naked commercial value.
We've moved into a new phase of society. One that emphasizes participation in culture and society and and technology and politics. If it weren't such a mouthful, I'd suggest we call it participatism.
a common positive theme of current attempts to define post-postmodernism is that faith, trust, dialogue, performance and sincerity can work to transcend postmodern irony.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Why do post-liberals (e.g. The Ekklesia Project) look so different from liberals yet nothing like evangelicals, while post-evangelical Emergents look alot like liberals?
maybe they actually look like post-liberals? i'm not sure, but as i understand it the emerging conversation was originally a postmodern critique of modern forms of church (evangelicalism/fundamentalism and liberalism). for the ec to revert to a modern form of church rather than retain its postmodern stance is why i believe many have jettisoned the conversation.
“We’ve taken a pastiche approach to church and theology — we take a little bit from here and a little bit from there. The benefit of that is a great deal more freedom than many leaders in the church feel. The other side of that coin, however, is that we inevitably disappoint anyone who comes from a particular camp, because we’re never really enough of anything.”