Abductive Columns

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sabbatical Here

This blog needs a rest

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Theology and Old School Practicum (3)

The Evolving Practicum of the Future

A Reconstruct

Connectedness, the first avenue of a practicum upgrade
It's essential that we reinvent the concept of connection and connectedness. God is the ultimate connection, but before culture will ever connect with God we must connect with them.

If our home base is going to remain in a church building let's remodel our sanctuaries and restore our ministries with user friendly meeting places that are digital, inviting and luring.

Reinvent the feeding of the five thousand, the second avenue of a practicum upgrade
Discover the twenty-first century fish and loaves equivalent.
Credit Card Debit Revival: Take the fifth Sunday contribution and give someone $400-$500 toward payment on their credit card. Mind map, brain storm and come up with new and innovative ideas for the broader community. After all they are the ones Jesus misses the most.

Storytelling, the third avenue of a practicum upgradeThe language of Scripture is story. You can tell a story and never use words.

Participatory, the fourth avenue of a practicum upgrade
Every person in the body of Christ is a minister; not a consumer, not a spectator, but a participatory activist. Lots of work to do here, but it can be done.

Think Missional, the fifth avenue of a practicum upgrade
Blow up the traditional mid-week Bible class and create space and time for apprentice training and formation in practicing the way of the Kingdom via creative alternatives. One possibility for meaningful training is to expose the Christian community to other points of view through interviews and discussion. Find a homosexual/lesbian and pay him/her $50 to participate in an interview. A trained facilitator asks questions and the gathering listens for feelings and thoughts on their perspective on the Christian faith. Invite someone with an alternative view every week. Listen to learn. Move the new Wednesday format to a location other than a church building.

If we are going to build bridges across the chasm that separates the Christian community from the broader culture it will require us to blow up most, if not all of our traditions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New Theology and Old School Practicum (2)

Progressive School Practicum

In these chaotic times it’s not surprising to find countless leaders clinging to what they are most familiar with; a static modernistic (old school) practicum. Curiously I have watched leaders combined their static modernistic practicum with a dynamic progressive theology. Read on...

The old school practicum built the church around the bible class
Originally the bible class was used to educate the illiterate. Later churches began to use the bible class as an evangelistic tool. The Bible class was responsible for church growth through the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Times have changed.

The old school practicum believes churches are built around the pulpit
The educated and sophisticated audiences of today are so accustomed to digital information and instant entertainment that the typical modern era three point sermon does little to make a lasting impression.

The old school practicum believes churches are built around a pastor system
You can read all the church history you want but amazingly you will not find one debate or controversy over the right of this system to exist. Yet, give the churches of Christ credit. The early restorers denied the pastor system from a theological standpoint but fell to its temptations when they adopted it on an emergency basis to prop up the weak churches after the Civil War.

A century later leaders and church staffs continue to live by a system enabled by the demands and expectations of church members.

The old school practicum is church building-centric
Replacing the catacombs and forest glens with building, pews and pulpits may have been the biggest blunder the Christian church made. In the early church everyone was a minister, no one a spectator. Spirits were lifted, problems were solved, hurts were healed, and hearts were fed.

more to come (time to reconstruct)...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Progressive Theology and Old School Practicum

As culture transitions from a former era to a new era, remnants of the old era trail alongside as new ministry practices are spawned along the transformational journey.
Unusual? Actually normal fare for cultural transitions.

• In the first century the Jews carried circumcision into a new era.
• In this century snail mail and email co- exist while electronic files and paper files live side by side in the offices of America.
Living in a portal between two epochs is about constant, discontinuous flux and the birth of strange cohabitations; one offspring of this transitional journey is the bedding of progressive theology and old school practicum.

One day, in the not too distant future, we will step out of the portal and into the fullness of time and the two will never again co-exist.

More to come...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Missional Church

(1) A missional church is externally focused.
(2) A missional church is culturally engaged but not absorbed.
(3) A missional church is incarnationally not institutionally driven.
(4) A missional church is about discipleship not church membership.

Read Larry Chouinard's excellent post on what a Missional Church looks like.[...link]

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Wednesday Night Service

Is it being overly optimistic to believe leaders of local churches can resurrect a Wednesday night service to the same level of the 70s, 80s, and 90s? Or was the 7 PM Wednesday night service simply something out of another era?

Here are my thoughts on that.

The biggest difference between the 70s, 80s, 90s and today is then we were able to move people (via guilt). Today we have to learn what moves people.

The first example I think of is 9/11. What a moment we missed!

9/11 moved people to return to church. They came looking for something of substance and found ‘church (ritual, tradition, etc.)’

Sunday, January 01, 2006

You Might be Emergent if...

You Might Be Emergent if you score a 7 or higher
If you score somewhere between 4 and 7, at best you’re a pre-emergent
Any score below 4 assures that you drink an anti-emergent herbicide

1)You have tipped hair (+1)
2)You have gray hair (0)
3)You have televangelist hair (-1)

1)Your congregation meets in homes (+1)
2)Your congregation meets in a converted strip mall (0)
3)Your congregation meets in a structure built in the 1960s (-1)

1)You worship with candles and homemade songs (+1)
2)You worship with a projector and worship band (0)
3)You worship with a hymnal and song leader (-1)

1)You’re an image-smith that uses Media Shout (+1)
2)Your sermon is expositor and aided by a PowerPoint Presentation (0)
3)Your lesson is build around three points and a prayer with zilch visual aids (-1)

1)Your hero is Brian McLaren (+1)
2)Your hero is Bill Hybels (0)
3)Your hero is John MacArthur (-1)

1)Your church is missional (+1)
2)Your church is “seeker friendly” (0)
3)Your church is “mainstream” (-1)

1)Your church emphasizes relationships (+1)
2)Your church emphasizes attendance (0)
3)Your church emphasizes precise and exclusive doctrine (-1)

1)You like mystery (+1)
2)You like systematic theology (0)
3)You like black and white categories (-1)

1)You preach wearing sandals (+1)
2)You preach wearing tennis shoes (0)
3)You preach wearing wing-tips (-1)

1)You consider yourself emergent (+1)
2)You’ve heard of emergent (0)
3)What in the hell is emergent (-1)

If you understand what's going on with the photos you might be emergent.

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Good discussion @ Starbucks yesterday. Questions revolved around how to utilize the digital technology, understanding that it will be a small beginning but prayer is it will be an effective beginning.

Another conversation will revolve around a Wednesday brainstorm—

The print era's traditional bible class and closing prayer has long exceeded its usefulness. —are we being overly optimistic in hoping to revive a Wednesday evening 'church-thing' to the same level it once held for God's people? I wonder if it was simply something out of, and for another era.