Abductive Columns

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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Monday, May 30, 2005

The Skinny on Emergent and Other Stuff Emergent-Related

Among the group many would consider leaders within the emergent conversation (the list is even controversial and elusive) Andrew Jones stands inches above all the others. He has clear understanding of what he means when he talks emerging and articulates with the best of them. (That would include McLaren and Sweet)

By "emerging church" or "emerging-missional church" I refer to the new church forms that are being started as a response to effective missional work in the global emerging culture.

When the emerging church considers the idea that there is more to being church than just programs and events and what happens on a Sunday morning – does that mean, we in someway, hold a "low" view of the church. I answer the opposite is true. With a focus on Kingdom thinking and seeing the invisible church as well as the visible, we have an understanding of the church that is higher and deeper - a "deep ecclesiology"

The Emerging Church
by Andrew Jones

Vocabulary - “Emergent” is a name that is being used at the moment, to describe the church’s response to the current emerging culture, and the peculiar aggregation of believers being called up out of this culture to follow Jesus back into it. [more]

History - "The emerging church has fermented on the fringe of society. Over the past 40 years, and around the world, the alternative counterculture has been the context in which new forms of ministry have been birthed. Today, the movement is less alternative and increasingly mainstream, as a wider strata of young people adopt the new cultures. Although the countercultural values are still present. [more]

Context - "The emerging church is a response to a culture sometimes characterized as 'post-modern'. . . The post-modern shift was an experiential shift in our perception of time and space and motion. [more]

Mindset - "The minds of the emerging generation are being shaped by the computer screen more than the television screen. We see things in layers and loops and links and labyrinths. We do not see new things replace old things (like video clips in a linear movie) but we see them find their place in nested layers. We expect motion and navigability. We distrust anything static. Emerging churches normally reflect this." [more]

Church - I have described the understanding of the nature and ministry of the emerging church as "deep ecclesiology". A link to a fuller explanation than I gave you in my notes is forthcoming.


The following was written after the Emergent Convention in Nashville, TN and published in the Tennessean

“Emergent” folks are Christians who are impatient with rigid megachurch formulas and noisy doctrinal in-fighting. They want to nurture a “vintage Christianity” that promotes the love of Christ for the emerging (non-churchgoing) generation. They're hammering out a theology that's friendly to ancient faith practices (contemplative prayer, labyrinths, hospitality) in a postmodern world of quantum physics, 24/7 media and coffee-house culture. [...complete newspaper article]

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Leadership Thoughts by David Fleming

If you’re not familiar with David Fleming and his writings you need to visit his blog. He has continues to post scintillating thoughts on leadership. He just posted Part 1 on Narrative Leadership. Here’s a snippet:

Over the past several decades, leaders and organizations have come to terms with the fact that change really is here to stay. Now it is time to move on. Truly successful leaders and organizations of the future will progress beyond the mere recognition of the constancy of change to cultivating the qualities and skills that can maximize the potential hidden within the change itself. Yesterday's mantra of "Change or die" will evolve into a new mantra for the future: "Live to change." Organizations must stop characterizing change as a mere event to be endured and learn to tap the possibilities that emerge from change as teacher and transformer. Herein lies the future — allowing change to shape the organization so that the organization can shape change.

Change requires leaders and organizations to embrace paradox and process — ambiguity and opportunity. In other words, for organizations to remain open to new possibilities and opportunities, they must learn to capitalize on the role of uncertainty and ambiguity. These forces form a cyclical pattern that successful leaders welcome as they pursue their organization's mission. In addition, it is incumbent on leaders to provide ways for their organizations to navigate and be transformed by this ambiguity-opportunity cycle. In doing so, they create organizations that tap the power of change with flexibility and vigilance.
[…more from David Fleming’s The Deep End Blog]

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Searching for the People Jesus Misses the Most

On June 4 we’ll take a small film crew to Appalachian Uprising (outdoor bluegrass concert) in Scottown, Ohio, stand at the front gate and give out free Starbucks Cards to interview the folks coming and going. This ought to be an honest crowd. Three questions we’ll focus on and then go back to the faith community and share with them what the people Jesus’ misses the most had to say. Here are the questions:

What is the difference between religion and spirituality ( in your mind)?

If the nearest mall and the church both disappeared tomorrow which would you miss most?

Has a Christian ever tried to save you? Tell us about the experience.

We did our first interview this past May. Turned out to be wrong location and wrong crowd. Nevertheless, if you want to view the interviews he can by following this link. […link]

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

You Could Very Well Be a Member of the Church oF Christ if...

If you think "tithing" is wrong, but that you should "give at least 10%"

If you believe Jesus turned water into grape juice!

If you've heard of Jule Miller, but not John Wesley

If you check out Acts 2:38 before buying a new version of the bible, you're
definitely a member of the church of Christ!

If you refuse to accept that you are in a denomination.

If you believe that Acts 20:7 sets a clear pattern for every Sunday, only
Sunday communion.

If you believe that instrumental music in worship will send you to Hell but
that God approves of it in Heaven.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Thoughtful Answers on Christianity

At my latest high school question/answer period I was asked two different questions that helped me explain Christianity more clearly than I probably would have on my own. One Muslim girl wanted to make the point that Christianity was a religion for lazy people. It didn't demand enough from them, she said, and she pointed to our lack of hundreds of rules for day to day life, dietary laws, strict social rules, etc. as proof. Another question was from a young man asking why there were so many denominations in Christianity. Wasn't that, he said, a sign that there was something wrong with it; some inherent flaw? [...read the complete post]


It was Sunday morning, a week ago. For several weeks I had been lamenting; mad a God, disappointed in the very life he had given me. Yet this morning was different; awakened before dusk by uncontrollable tears. I didn't understand why. I had never cried this way. Nevertheless, throughout the day tears filled my eyes. While lamenting decisions are much more difficult to make but on this day God helped me get in my car and drive three hours to my mother's grave. Off and on I cried as I drove; sometimes out loud but always in a steady stream of wetness.

After placing flowers on my mother's grave I drove to Barnes & Noble to spend a couple of hours doing what I love to do most; browse the isles looking and skimming every book of interest. Yet within the first ten minutes God led me to Michael Card's newest book Sacred Sorrow. I read the back cover, skimmed the Introduction and immediately made my way to the cashier. It was a gift sent by God.

With intermittent periods of lamenting I exited the ramp and began my journey back home. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm, a perfect day to drive and allow the uncontrollable tears to cleanse my soul.

I stopped at a rest stop to spend a few minutes reading Scared Sorrow. Hours later, in tears, I finally put it down. I was given a whole new appreciation for the idea that timing is of the Lord. On this day, God gently led my heart, at its deepest level, through the final stages of lamenting. All this to say, thank you Michael Card, for what it must have cost you to write this book.

Eugene Peterson said, "It's an odd thing. Jesus wept. Job wept. David wept. Jeremiah wept. They did it openly. Their weeping became a matter of public record. Their weeping, sanctioned by inclusion in our Holy Scriptures, a continuing and reliable witness that weeping has an honored place in the life of faith.

But just try it yourself. Even, maybe especially, church where these tear-soaked Scriptures are provided to shape our souls and form our behavior. Before you know it, a half-dozen men and women surround you with handkerchiefs, murmuring reassurances, telling you that it is going to be alright, intent on helping you to "get over it."

Why are Christians, of all people, embarrassed by tears, uneasy in the presence of sorrow, unpracticed in the language of lament? It certainly is not a biblical heritage, for virtually all our ancestors in the faith were thoroughly "acquainted with grief." And our Savior was, as everyone knows, "a Man of Sorrows."
From the back of the book:
God desires for us to pour our hearts to Him, whether in joy or pain. But many of us don't feel right expressing our anger, frustration, and sadness in prayer. Our personal worship experience is not complete unless we understand the lost language of lament.

In Sacred Sorrow, author, musician, and Bible teacher Michael Card takes you through the Scriptures to show you what your worship life has been missing.

From Job to David to Jesus, men and women of the Bible understood the importance of pouring one's heart out to the Father. Examine the stories and expand your definition of worship. Let your pain, questions, and sorrow resound with praise to a God who is moved by your tears.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Blog Inactivity

Sorry about the inactivity. I’m having difficulty with atrial fibrillation. Traveled to Lexington, Kentucky to meet a doctor who specializes in pulmonary vein ablation; the only certain cure for my problem. Also have some family problems. Be back soon. I need your prayers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Prevalent Convictions That Tell On Us

1. Denial is the unpardonable sin
2. Figure things out
3. Avoid mystery
4. Become personally healthy
5. Define your goal as spiritual maturity and disguise the ugliness of your selfish pursuit
6. We are the point and God is primarily there to remind us of our value
7. Don’t settle for postponed fulfillment. Claim it now.
8. Ignore the darkness of the mystery you’ve been invited into where there is no plan of action that guarantees darkness will be turned to light
9. Value resolution of pain over learning to love

Monday, May 09, 2005


How can we know if we are mastered by our money? Maybe a few questions are in order.

1) Is the cause of God in the world better off because I have been entrusted with money? Or does God only get my spare change?

2) If I were to suffer a financial reversal and my personal budget had to be adjusted would God and His work get eliminated? What stands at the top of your budget?

We all serve something. You can serve money in reality and God in pretense or you can serve God and use money, but you can't serve them both. That's a statement of fact. When a man ends up serving two masters, he will eventually turn his back on one of them. The demands of the job make it impossible for him to honor both. You can't dance to the music of two orchestras at the same time. You can't be married to two people simultaneously. And you cannot serve God and money.

Do you serve God and use money, or do you serve money and use God?

Blog Discovery

Dave Fleming, author, speaker, consultant, coach, spiritual mentor and thought leader in the areas of spirituality and organizational leadership has a blog worth giving your careful attention. Read it, absorb it and think along his line of thought for the next hour... [link]

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Only recently have I begun to hear lessons on money; but “mind-you,” they are few and far between.

I’m generalizing but I don’t think I far off when I say money, power and sex are taboo subjects in the church. Pray tell me when you last heard a lesson on the evolution and effect of power-centers in the church?

Will you take on the taboos? When I say “take on” I mean “stand against” not “walk alongside.” The Christian community is here to destroy fortresses, not build them. We need to talk about power, money and sex.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

New Blog

George Welty, a friend and Youth Minister at the Norway Avenue Church has a just put up a new weblog, Picture, Places and Simply Pleasures. Take some time to peruse his blog. All the images on the site are the result of his photographic talent. And the content is evenly balanced between thoughtful reflection and humor.

I love the picture of G-Dub and G-Dub.

Check it out [link]