Monthly Archives: January 2009

Am I all alone here?

I am about 2 or 3 years into the emergent/missional conversation/movement. I come from a very conservative, evangelical background and have had to come to terms with the realization that a lot of stuff that I believed, a lot of things I said and did, and a lot of people I supported in the past were wrong. The journey has been exciting but also disconcerting and painful at times. I am thankful that there are people out there that have challenged my thinking/motives/actions/beliefs. I no longer think of myself as conservative or liberal but a follower of Christ – but since that can sound vague and like I am trying to avoid giving a straight answer (to some) I guess I would say that I am a moderate – although my conservative friends would probably think me to be liberal these days and my liberal friends would say I was still a conservative just not an extreme one :>) Anyway, on to the point of this post…

What concerns me is that so many of the very people who have challenged me and my conservative views seem to have gone soft and are doing some of the same things that they rightfully criticized me about.

For instance – when I pointed out that $170 million dollars would be better spent on helping people rather than staging an extravagant inauguration (I did this on facebook and twitter) I barely got a bite. My friends there are mostly liberal (sorry for the label) and supporters of Obama (which is fine with me – I almost voted for him) but I don’t think they would have given a republican or a conservative that kind of break (and I don’t think they should).

And then – when I pointed out that I thought the end of Rev. Lowry’s prayer contained racist speech (again on facebook and twitter) I got even less response. I was careful to explain that I wasn’t calling Rev. Lowry a racist (I know very little about him) but that I thought calling Native Americans “red”, Asians “yellow”, saying that “yellow needed to mellow” and saying white people, in general, are racist, was racist speech even if it was contained within a rhyme that has been around for a long time in black churches. I talked about racism lurking in people’s lives (no matter what race they are) even without their knowledge and that when we see or hear racism we should point it out and speak against it.

Now maybe I am wrong, but I got the feeling that I was breaking some sort of unwritten law, or treading on “holy” ground, or something. No one reprimanded me but the passion that is typically there was absent – the critical eye was missing – the silence said a lot (IMHO).

I don’t say any of this because I didn’t vote for Obama. I think there is a possibility that he will make a great president and do many good things. I was honestly worried about his lack of experience – particularly with the war and economics – but maybe that will end up being a plus – I can see that side of the argument.

I say this because I don’t want my wonderful new friends, who have challenged me for my own good, to go soft because Obama is President. I want them to keep examining and questioning and pointing out discrepancies and injustices – even if it is with people they support and agree with on most everything.

Am I all alone here? Or does anyone else know what I am talking about?

The Emerging Church In North America – Past and Present

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Stephen Shields has written “Ten Year Out: A Retrospective on the Emerging Church in North America“, a very good piece on the Emerging Church past and present.  In order to assess the state of the Emerging Church Next-Wave ezine interviewed some of the movement’s most notable leaders including Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Scot McKnight, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones and Jordon Cooper.

January Synchroblog – Faith and Ethnicity

SYNCHROBLOG

blogging in unity

thinking independently

I am not participating in the synchroblog this time around but wanted to link to the ones who are.  I love this group of bloggers – they are kind, talented, thoughtful, sharp and just all around “good people”.  Be sure and let them know what you think of their posts as they all enjoy hearing from their readers.  And if you are interested in joining the group go here for more info.

The following posts are part of a synchroblog on the general theme of “Faith and ethnicity”.

Phil Wyman (That’s me) on Seeing the Middle East from a Jewish Perspective
Joshua Jinno the Antechurch
Raffi Shahinian on Faith and Ethnicity: A True Story
Susan Barnes on Just a God of the West
K.W. Leslie on Why I went to an all-white church
Adam Gonnerman on Multicultural experience (and inexperience)
Matt Stone on Is the church ready for a multiethnic future?
Beth Patterson on Viva la particularities
Steve Hayes on Christianity and ethnicity”
Matthew Snyder asks What’s Your Nation?
Jeff Goins on Gypsies in Spain

True Woman Manifesto – Reading The Fine Print

 

 

The True Woman Manifesto is a document that was first presented at the True Woman conference in Chicago in October 2008.

 

The organizers of the conference describe True Woman as a movement.  In addition to the conference, the movement includes books, articles, a 30 day True Woman Make-Over, other resource material and the manifesto.

 

There is a three part process that women are invited to participate in when they join the movement.  1) Sign the True Woman Manifesto; 2) Start the 30 Day True Woman Make-over; and 3) Share the message.

 

I think you will be hearing a lot about this movement soon.  Women’s roles is a very hot topic in the church right now and I think we will be seeing a lot of activity on both sides of the issue in the near future.

 

Whatever side you find yourself on I encourage you to study both sides of the issue. This is an important issue that deserves a lot of discernment and wisdom.  My fear is that women will sign the document or join the movement blindly.

 

There is a good discussion about the True Woman Manifesto at the blog Evolving In Monkeytown  and a thorough three part response to the manifesto at Hevencense.

 

Let me know what you think.

Dreaming Quantum Dreams

This post is part of the January Interfaith Synchroblog.  The theme is “Religion and Science”.  Links to all contributors are listed at the end of this post.

 
Before I begin I just want to make it clear that anyone out there with the least bit of knowledge about quantum physics could easily prove that I don’t know a thing about it.  Sure I could talk a little bit about entanglement, which is the quantum physics theory that some form of communication, faster than the speed of light, allows particles that have become entangled to know and respond to what the other one does no matter how far apart they are, or I could talk a little bit about the amazing double slit experiment that basically says nothing is real unless it is observed – but like I said, just “a little bit”.  However, in my defense, even Richard Feynman, the American physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his contributions to quantum electrodynamics said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” 
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I first became interested in the connection between quantum physics and faith when I read the essay “Physics and Faith: The Luminous Web”  by Barbara Brown Taylor.   She absolutely astounded me with the way she allowed science to enhance her perception of God and his creation. Below are a few paragraphs from the essay that really spoke to me (you can find the whole thing  here):

 

“When I am dreaming quantum dreams, the picture I see is more like a web of relationships–an infinite web, flung across the vastness of space like a luminous net. It is made of energy, not thread. As I look, I can see light moving through it like a pulse moving through veins. I know the light is an illusion, since what I am seeing moves faster than light, but what I see out there is no different from what I feel inside. There is a living hum that might be coming from my neurons but might just as well be coming from the furnace of the stars. When I look up at them there is a small commotion in my bones, as the ashes of dead stars that house my marrow rise up like metal filings toward the magnet of their living kin.

Where am I in this picture? All over the place. Up there. Down here. Inside my skin and out. Large compared to a virus and small compared to the sun, with a life that is permeable to them both. Am I alone? How could I ever be alone? I am part of the web that is pure relationship, with energy available to me that has been around since the universe was born.

Where is God in this picture? All over the place. Up there. Down here. Inside my skin and out. God is the web, the energy, the space, the light — not captured in them, as if any of those concepts were more real than what unites them, but revealed in that singular, vast net of relationship that animates everything that is.

It is not enough for me to proclaim that God is responsible for all this unity. Instead, I want to proclaim that God is the unity — the very energy, the very intelligence, the very elegance and passion that make it all go. This is the God who is not somewhere (up there, down here) but everywhere”

Like Barbara Brown Taylor, I also dream quantum dreams – dreams of unseen connections and unexplained phenomenon, dreams of a broken world made whole again, dreams of unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation, dreams that allow me to imagine that when science and faith meet, secrets buried in the physical universe will be revealed, secrets that bear witness to the glorious attributes of its creator, secrets that will urge us to seek, to marvel and even to doubt in order that our theology will be edified.

At times science can be alarming for many of us, stripping away answers without providing new ones…and yet I sense that it may be from these uncertain places that a fresh and more robust gospel will emerge.  A gospel that is not just scientifically sound and spiritually alive, but a gospel for all things – a whole gospel for the whole world – a gospel that dares to imagine a world where God’s dreams come true.

Here is a list of all the contributors to this synchroblog:

Reality Isn’t What It Used To Be at Notes From Underground

Dreaming Quantum Dreams at Grace Rules

How I Taught Science instead of “Christian” Science at the Evening of Kent

Is Evolution Atheistic? at glocal Christianity

Post-Modernism: A Challenge to Science? at Fr Ted’s Blog

Faith, Reason And Unreason at The Musings of a Confused Man