Abductive Columns

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Back Home

I spent lot's of time in conversation with my father, brother and two sisters-in-law all in one local--Daytona Beach, Florida. No, this vacation wasn't heaven but it was close.

I had time to browse a few blogs. Here's rwo or three I feel are worth your inspection.

I read a good piece Andrew Jones (Tall Skinny Kiwi) wrote on Emerging Church 2.0

Emerging Church 2.0 might be those emerging churches that are shaped by new media values rather than old media. They write blog posts rather than articles, PDFs rather than books, start churches without buildings, and lack a vertically hierarchical leadership structure. Hierarchy is modular and dynamic, rather than vertical and static. I am not talking about cyberchurches that migrate to the web. I am talking about alternative faith communities that emerge online and then seek physical meetings, new aggregations of believers that connect with each other and the world through the complex networks that make up their World 2.0
Jesus 2.0? No . . . SILLY . . . He's the same yesterday, today and forever
Gospel 2.0? No . . . same timeless message but the message has always been delivered and distributed in a particular context. And I am talking about . . . . yes . . . Context 2.0
Church 2.0? You bet. [...read more the complete post].

And then two post I felt were above the average fare


Larry Chouinard posted Seek the Peace of the City

In a recent sociological study printed in the Journal of Religion and Society (www.creighton.edu/jrs), Gregory Paul surveyed 17 of the most developed democracies in the world to determine the role that religion played in the societal health and wellbeing of each nation. He gathered data over the past ten years and interviewed over 23,000, and his conclusions are startling. By far the United States, the most religious country in the developed world as measured by church attendance, prayer, and belief in a Creator, was overwhelmingly the most socially dysfunctional. […read the complete post]
Patrick Mead’s Little Tyrants, Little Kings is ala Patrick, thoughtful insight couched in Mead's unparalleled charm, whit, and humor.

How many kings are involved in your life? Here is what I mean: the bank has a call on my life. It is a king over my life because I cannot just decide not to pay the mortgage. I HAVE to go to work and I HAVE to pay that bill. There are other kings: my wife has some authority over my movements and decisions as do my aged parents and my children. My life is not my own; there are kings involved.
[…read the complete post]

Monday, November 28, 2005

"Take-a-Clue" Mod Church Manifesto: Six More Thoughts

1) The Internet is facilitating organic conversations along a spiritual scale that was simply not possible in the print/broadcast era.

2) By way of a growing digital network, the gathering conversation allows people to speak openly, honestly and in a powerful new way.

3) As a result, participants are getting smarter, more informed, and more organized. Participation in the network changes people fundamentally.

4) Christ-followers who are networked and communicate daily in the gathering conversation have discovered that they get better and far more relevant information than traditional church leaders know, much less provide.

5) There are no secrets. Networked participants in the gathering conversation know far more about cultural engagement and the future of the conventional church than the conventional church knows of itself. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

6) What's happening to the people Jesus’ misses the most is also happening to people engaged in the organic church conversation. A metaphysical construct called "The Conventional Church" is the only thing standing between the two.

Vacation--Almost Over

My wife and I have had a great time with family. Plenty of food and good conversation. Our last two days in Daytona are for us, alone in a hotel. Tomorrow we drive to Orlando and fly back to Columbus, Ohio. We remembered our winter clothes.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Will the Church Claim its Moment in History? (1)

Churches don't understand the digital era if they think they can throw up a Web site, add a few cheesy congregational pictures and then comfortably sit back thinking they've done their web thing. Actually they've routed around it, wasting time and resources. Paying someone to throw up a web site with a church header and a calendar with a picnic date and a few outdated church functions is little more than advertisement born of the print era. Flying beneath the radar screen of ninety-percent of the churches in America is a gathering digital conversations taking place in news groups, emails, instant messaging, and blogs. While leaders browse church web sites the digital church grows. It's everywhere.

Here's a suggestion. Stop using the web as an information library and begin thinking of it as a community where conversations gather.

Churches that neglect a strategy for the future will not realize the importance of retooling to root itself in the gathering digital conversation. Unfortunately many churches will find themselves standing in the wake of a rapidly emerging church.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"Take-a-Clue" Mod Church Manifesto

1) Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

2) Networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.

3) Churches do not speak the same language (or with the same voice) as the emerging church. Conventional churches sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.

4) In just a few more years, the conventional-homogenized church "voice" will seem as archaic (even contrived) as old King James' 16th century version of the Bible.

5) When churches share the concerns of their communities they will become part of the community.

6) But first, they must belong to a community.

7) Churches must ask themselves where their culture ends.

8) If their culture ends before the community they're planted in begins, they have neglected Jesus' commission.

9) There are two conversations going on. While one goes on inside the conventional church--the other gathers beyond.

10) The conventional-traditional church and the emergent church would do well to begin talking and listening to each other.

11) Forward thinking (conventional) churches become 20/20 visionaries when they help the inevitable to happen sooner.

12) What’s emerging is relevant and better. In fact, the current conversation is creating it.

13) We'd like it if you got what's going on here. That'd be real nice. But it would be a big mistake to think we're holding our breath.

14) The boundaries that separate our conversations look a little like the Berlin Wall did twenty + years ago, but they're really just an annoyance. We know they're coming down. We're patient and willing to work from both sides to take them down.

15) To the conventional church, our networked conversations may appear disorganized and confused. But the conversation is gathering; movement will soon follow. We have the tools, more ideas, and no rules to slow us down.

adapted from The Cluetrain Manifesto

Monday, November 21, 2005

Jesus the Emergent Pastor

Let me raise a hypothetical question. Now, this is just imaginary: would God---Father, Son, and Spirit---cease to exist if every Bible and every form of the Bible (tape, CD, chiselled stone, ancient manuscript, etc.) on the earth vanished? Think about it. Your thoughts and feelings will indicate whether or not you have a relationship with a Book or a Person. Could you maintain a vibrant and growing faith without written words?John Frye
Whoa! Good question.

John Frye, of Jesus, the Radical Pastor, has done a six-part series tilted “Jesus the Emergent Pator.”

Good stuff. Check it out […link]

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Beach Blogging

Drive to Columbus, Ohio tomorrow. Spend the night at the Staybridge Suites on Airport Road. Do they have wireless internet? Of course!

Tuesday morning my wife and I fly Southwest Airlines to Orlando, Florida. We'll rent a car at the airport and drive to Daytona where we’ll spend the next nine days with my father and my wife's two sisters. All live in Daytona.

I’ll be blogging from there. Check out the ten forcast...No hurricanes--only nine days of sun and seventy degrees.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

God's Concern

God’s concern has always been for the poor—-poor in spirit, poor in hope, poor in food, poor in connection, and poor in love. God is not only concerned but present with the poor, for blessed are the poor. When we join the activity of God, we join those who go without. Our prayer is not only for the poor, but we pray as the poor—for we are all lacking in what we need. In this recognition we find the life of God.

from the book by Doug Pagitt and Kathryn Prill; Body Prayer: The Posture of Intimacy with God (watch for my review of this book on New Wineskins and Next Wave Magazine)
The House of Representatives narrowly passed a budget proposal (217-215) that, if enacted, would make severe cuts to our nation's most vital anti-poverty programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and child care. “Woe to you legislators of infamous laws.....” Jim Wallis.
from Greg Taylor's blog

Is God speaking to the His bride? Is He telling his people something about opportunity and responsibility?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Only Jesus Could...

When I was fifteen my mother and father divorced; later, while in college, they remarried. But during my early years my mother, nobly and solitarily, raised three boys on less than $200 a month.

She began dating. During this time she met a man she seemed to like. Every evening he would come and spend time with her at our home. They never married and even though I was angry and confused I grew to like him.

Now three decades later, I gather in a faith community one-hundred miles from my childhood home with the son of the man who dated my mother. Only Jesus could bring us together.

He is the only One capable of bringing people together—people who never talked, people who never ate together, people who never drank together, people who never touched each other—yet scarred by a painful common experience He gathered and rearranged our lives. Only Jesus! Only He could show us both a way of greater sanity, and a way of greater sanctity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Listening To Our Prayers

The next time you assemble with the body of Christ pay close attention to our prayers. What I find is that the majority of our prayers revolve around blessing new babies and healing the sick. Seldom, if ever, do I hear us name the names of the those Jesus misses the most asking God to open doors of opportunity. Pay attention this Sunday.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Three Hardest Words

Len Sweet just sent me an unedited copy of his book; “The Three Hardest Words” The book is due for release in March 2006.

Be watching for the review.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The P in EPIC

1950s through 1970s
All looked to the preacher/pastor. He was the final arbiter on all theological questions.

1970s through 1980s
The preacher/pastor was bumped off the authority stool as education spreads through western society. Individualism grows.

1980s through 1990s

With the spread of wealth, entertainment ushers in a consumer society. The spiritual by-product is a presentation/consumer/seeker movement among churches.


A cultural tsunami begins to force and spread change through the institutions of western culture; while, at the same time, sifting the weak and the strong.

Churches are forced to retool

There is a Major shift in mission: from crossing foreign boundaries to the mission field at home - a particularly difficult mission field.

There continues to be a shift in the gatherings of faith communities (the rate of understanding and change seems to be geographically dependent). The Major shift will continue to be from a Presentation to Participatory format.

Douglas Rushkoff in his soon to be released book, Get Back in the Box, says:

…businesses are inviting participation - from Adobe inviting users to create plugins via their "Studio Exchange" website, to John Fleuvog soliciting shoe designs from his customers. Those who are confident in their own core competency have nothing to fear from employees or customers with good ideas.

The market for products enabling the do-it-yourselfer is still growing. Home Depot and Lowe's equip the consumer with professional grade tools, while Vitamin Warehouse and herb shops supply the self-healer. Amateurs are now more responsible for formerly expert-only aspects of their own lives, and they're comfortable with it. The "no user serviceable parts" warning on the back of a radio or TV set is now taken as a challenge.

It's pure renaissance. Like gamers learning to play, then use cheat codes, and then finally program for themselves, people feel they can be trusted with the code. And they are willing to go ahead and do the hard work of learning it if they feel they can improve upon what already exists…

This renaissance ethos of authorship isn't limited to some isolated group of “cultural creatives” in New York, San Francisco, and Cambridge. No, it's a mainstream "red state" American trend, as well, emerging as crafts fairs, a NASCAR culture of car modification, gun kits, backyard farming, and even home schooling. For every Northeasterner musing on how he would have drawn up the plans for New York's street grid to include bike lanes (and then working through the city council to create some) there's a Midwesterner challenging the curriculum of the local school system, and rewriting his own version based on the facts and values he thinks are more important to teach a young person

Churches that do cultural math early begin the process of change by extrapolation. This shortens the time and decreases the pain-intensity that always accompanies change within a community.

The majority of churches will allow the natural transitional path to be the itinerary for change. But reactive churches increase both the intensity and time a church struggles with transitional pain. This type of pain (acute) can lead to chronic and unforgiving hurt among members, which can mean a loss of members.

Think Participatory

The Gathering Conversation

The question came up…who coined the word “missional?”

Here’s what was said.

Pretty sure it came out of the Gospel and Our Culture Network and perhaps directly from Newbigin himself.
Stephen Shields

Good question. The first time I ever heard the adjectival term "missional" was from Darrell Guder. I am fairly confident that he was not the first to use that form of the word, but I couldn't tell you precisely who used it first in that way.
Will Sampson

I think it was Darryl Guder and George Hunsberger
Doug Pagitt

I don't think anyone can "claim" coining the term since it's a standard grammatical form of a common word----like who coined "incarrnational?" or who coined christological? There are, however, some coinages of "missional" that are significant, like, for example, "missional imagination" (Will Samson), etc.
Len Sweet

Continue the conversation...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Science & Religion

With the help of his assistant, Albert Einstein was preparing a final test for his university students. The assistant was dismayed to discover that the test was exactly the same one he had given the previous semester. The assistant explained to Einstein that the questions have a way of circulating among students and that everyone would know these questions. Einstein said there was nothing to worry about because even though the questions were the same—all of the answers would be different this year.
Science never has the last word. It’s always subject to change (pending new evidence) which means the answers might be different next year.

I find it interesting that what the Enlightenment (modern era) did to religion the emerging era did to science.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Body Prayer

I was sent a copy of Doug Pagitt's book Body Prayer: The Posture of Intimacy with God to review. When I write a a book review I read, circle, underline and make copious notes throughout the book. I read the introduction and briefly looked at the chapter titles. I have to admit this is new ground for me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Emergent Gobbledygook

1. Emergents interact with culture—far-be-it to become a subculture rooted and known for the buildings they assemble in
2. Emergents emphasize the visual and performing arts and acknowledge the enormous influence pop culture has on society
3. Emergents believe in the communal and missional aspects of the church
4. Emergents connect with those of faith but above all their desire is to connect with those outside the faith
5. Emergents believe that as we draw closer to God, we draw closer to each other, despite the denominational boundaries that divide us
6. Emergents draw on the rich traditions and practices of the diverse streams of Christianity, believing that by genuinely living where our common faith intersects, we can surpass the efforts of even the most successful ecumenical programs
7. Emergents believe faith is a journey rather than a destination, and each community of Christians needs to find its own way of continuing on that journey.
The above list is the view of one Christ-follower…emergents are anything but uniform in beliefs and practices

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Oral/Print Culture Architecture

The differences between Gothic-styled cathedral architecture (left photo) and Protestant Church architecture (right photo) are quite dramatic in the move away from symbolic (oral-period) to a rational and linear construction (print-era).

In the print culture (reformation/restoration era) the building no longer embodies the story, as the cathedral did with its spires reaching toward God.

Reformation/restoration churches reflects rationalism. The setting inside the reformed church is ideal to address an audience and make a rational case on behalf of the gospel.

Adapted from Rex Miller’s Millennium Matrix

Thursday, November 03, 2005

God Oriented Assembly or Self-Experiencing Assembly

Your weekly assembly may be an experience of itself if:

1. There is a hyper-scheduled worship format with little to no room for spontaneity

2. The majority of worship songs drive from one to the other

3. Little opportunities for the assembly to interact outside of singing

4. Avoidance of silence (a constant stream of singing and speaking)

5. No witness or confession

6. Presentation format as opposed to a participatory, experiential format

7. Little to no Christian symbols or art in the midst of the assembly

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What Half-a-Century Has Taught Me (2)

Give people space—and most importantly—acceptance in all their dysfunction, stupidity, and addictions.

Spiritualist Anthony De Mello says…
I’m an ass, you’re an ass. That’s the most liberating thing in the world. When people tell me, “You’re wrong.” I say, “What can you expect from an ass?”
from the book Awareness by Anthony De Mello

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

From the Church Voice Blog

Cool, I'm a 'noted emergent.' [...link]