Just hit the ball


Just hit the ball


Dash has an interesting post on the “bad” of the emerging church. While I don’t find much to disagree I’d like to add a point.

He identifies

Angst

Doctrine

Gospel

Fear over tackling some issues

Unwilling to critique post-modern culture

The “modern” church might be overly obsessed with numbers and dollars but the EC is way too concerned with looking smart, creative or cool. There is a big problem with this because the gospel is foolishness to the modern and post-modern mind. Despite this the gospel is to be proclaimed. If we ever re-brand Christianity so it there is no leap of faith in to the seemingly absurd we will have emptied the gospel message of its power. We can deconstruct church and theology forever and sit content because we think we are the vanguard of the church. In the end we are fooling ourselves because we’ve been tricked in to thinking we are something special because we read more books and have more creative gatherings while we still aren’t making any real difference.

We are willing to look down at the establishment when on most measures that count we really aren’t doing much better.

A friend of mine recently told me that my blog seems less post-modern than it used to be. I think that remark is true. I think I hit a point where I realized I’m never going to figure it all out. I should just go with what I know in faith. Any belief system, ideology or theology can be deconstructed in to some kind of fuzzy paralysis.

I also recognize that I should be willing to be look stupid or crazy or confused just because I believe in Jesus.

I think one of the major weaknesses in my walk is this desire to look intelligent or cutting edge. The more I’ve tried to be cutting edge the more I’ve realized that most ministry that makes a real difference isn’t flashy at all. Most Sundays I spend an hour or two hanging out with my oldest son reading through the bible together. He absolutely loves it and so do I. I’ve seen real progress. I’ve begun to wonder whether the easiest and most productive change the church could make is parent’s properly investing in their children. It is an interesting revelation to me. Making a change in this area is easy; spend time with son, open bible, read together, talk about it, pray.

I’m thinking through a golf analogy related to faith. Hitting a golf ball is simple but the mechanics of your swing are complex. One has to:

Stand an appropriate distance from the ball

Aim in the right direction

Correct for wind, hazards and hills

Tee the ball up correctly

Use the right club for the shot

Use a full length or shortened swing

Grip the club the correct way

Don’t let the club slip in your hands during the swing

Don’t let your feet slip

Bend your knees appropriately

The club must hit the ball evenly or you will slice or hook (ball veers to the side)

If your wrists move the club too fast or slow you will slice or hook

If you look up you will top the ball sending it along the grass

Don’t be too tense or too loose

And more

One can be so worried about all these things that it has a paralyzing effect. In the end you just have to go up and hit the ball. You can only correct one thing at a time. It takes a lot of practice.

I think that is where I’m at these days. I just want to go up and hit the ball. If I worry too much about my swing I’ll just screw things up.

  1. #1 by Rev. Mike on April 30, 2006 - 8:05 pm

    I say swing away and still go chase your ball out into the woods, regardless of how well you execute all of the above!

  2. #2 by Dan on April 30, 2006 - 8:34 pm

    I would like to hear what specific “emerging churches” you have actually been to in making the claim that they are “way too concerned about being creattive and cool”. I know many leaders and don’t hear that at all from them, so when someone makes a statement like you are making – can you please back it up with specific expereinces of churches you have been to that have led to that conclusion? i’d like to hear what led you to that conclusion from specific examples, even if you don’t name the churches – where have you seen this to say what you are saying. thank you.

  3. #3 by Leighton Tebay on April 30, 2006 - 8:49 pm

    Dan:

    I’ve been part of the EC movement for years. I have personally met people from EC churches/gatherings from across Canada and Australia. I’m part of Resonate, and have been a voice in the blogging conversation. I’ve been an outspoken advocate and defender of the EC, and this post is as much self-reflection as anything else.

    I don’t know if I’d be willing to identify anything specific because I’m addressing a trend and don’t really want seem like I’m trashing any one person.

  4. #4 by Darryl on May 1, 2006 - 4:45 am

    On the creative and cool thing: It’s anecdotal, but someone’s been blogging on this at Out of Ur:

    http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2006/04/image_isnt_ever.html

  5. #5 by emergingBlurb on May 2, 2006 - 12:03 am

    I wouldn’t use the word trend but that’s just me! A trend implies that all data points are captured by the regression analysis and can be seen to oscillate either side of the trend line…with some outliers. I hope this isn’t the case as one of the beauties as I see it is the EC has no template and is free to challenge a worldview and a religious culture that has influenced how we live and express our faith. I think questioning is great if that entails deconstruction and then putting it back together piece by piece, working out whether all the pieces still need to be there or expressed in the same way. This is great for getting rid of any religious traditions that have become ‘doctrine’ that shouldn’t be.

    But being hip or cool would to me seem a copy cat approach which doesn’t then involve the deeper journey of question. I have noticed copy cat approaches with cafe styled churches which are invariably attractional rather than missional and consequently modernist spin offs.

    I hope you’re wrong…but hey..its your personal experience.

  6. #6 by Toni on May 4, 2006 - 8:03 am

    This post looks to me like wisdom and maturity speaking.

    Emergingblurb – I’d say that the EC has a clear pattern, not in its meeting format but in its thinking. The pattern is usually along the lines of “modernism is wrong/liturgy & mysticism are good/women should govern churches/liberal theology is correct theology/good worship is a bit off-the-wall.

    Actually this is a little tongue in cheek, but it’s a *trend* I’ve seen in most of the EC-style voices I’ve heard on the net, and have been guilty of some of these even when I had never heard of the EC.

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