Thursday, January 11, 2007


Read an interesting blog at Jesus Creed this morning about "conversation".

The idea I talked about the other day - how we no longer live in community, ties into this idea of "conversation". I have been looking into the Emergent Church Movement for quite some time because as someone who thoroughly enjoys being challenged to consider ideas, I find it interesting to watch the debate over it among the body of Christ. Lots of loud and passionate voices on either side.

But instead of really looking at some of the concerns of the "movement", a lot of people (i.e. the traditional church) blow the whole thing off as blasphemy or bad doctrine or any other number of things.

But I keep thinking about good old Martin Luther. Hundreds of years ago, he had the audacity to point out the "church" of his day might be telling the masses the wrong thing - and it changed the course of Christianity. Most major shifts and changes get started by people who are orginally seen as troublemakers and traitors. Take a look at how the Pharisees reacted to Jesus. They were the ones that were angry because it was their "way of living" that was being raked over the coals. They were losing their power over the people and it made them mad. The "church", or much of it, is mad over this whole emergent movement because it has the audacity to say that maybe it's time to re-look at the way we go about church.

Now. I'm not saying that I agree with everything I hear the leaders of the Emergent movement saying. But I'm willing to consider the ideas, turn them over, inspect them, and search the Word of God over them. Like a good conversation (See, I did have a point!).

I submit that the church is terrified of real conversation. We love to take a stand and say that we are "standing on the Word of God". But what we are really doing is refusing to listen. I agree that the Word of God is God's very words, breathed by His very breath and absolutely trustworthy. But I aslo think that the Word of God can stand up to a good conversation. We don't have to be scared to ask questions, ponder or even not know. I also don't agree that we can know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, all that God is truly saying to us (at least this side of heaven). Oh, we can understand bits and pieces, we may even get close on some topics, but we are fallible humans. Churches don't have conversations about ideas. They split. Because instead of inviting conversation, leaders (in the general sense) basically say "Well, if you don't like it, go somewhere else."

And that is the crux of the problem. People just go from church to church, looking for a place that 'agrees with them". Churches (again, in general) are getting bigger and bigger. Building bigger buildings. Making budget decisions rather than people decisions. Being a business rather than a family. And there happens to be a huge number of spiritual people who are tired of not being heard. I'm one of them. But I see trouble ahead. For this "new" sort of church and the "established" church. Because at the end of the day, we need each other. We can't make this journey alone and we each need the little pieces of bread that someone else has. I need to share what I have and you need to share what you have. We need to have conversations where we can truly "reach the mind of Christ". God says it can be done, but it happens in the context of conversation - not in the context of "you go do your thing and I'll go do mine".

I don't want to just do my thing. I want to do His thing. But we need each other to do that.