Abductive Columns

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Perspective: Yesterday and Today

In my twenty-five years as a Christ-follower I’ve been a shepherd, a deacon and a pulpit minister. The biggest difference I find in church then and now is there doesn’t seem to be a grassroots movement pushing leadership for change. In the 70s (when I was in my late 20s/early 30s) there was a group of us constantly pushing church leadership.

*When the leadership built a stone wall against a hillside on the church parking lot we called it the Wailing Wall.

*We pushed to reallocate monies toward the needy.

*As ridiculous as it may seem today, the only Authorized Version that could be read from the pulpit was the King James Version. Of course, we challenged them and before these men died they gave in to our screams and allowed the NIV to become the 'second' Authorized Version.

*I preached a sermon titled “Pioneers and Settlers,” (imagine that motif). The Monday evening 'after,' the elders all crowded into a car on the church parking lot to get a second hearing. They spent 30 minutes listening to the tape and then asked to speak to me. (imagine what they said)
I preached “Pioneers and Settlers” in 1992 and the sermon was published by Mon Valley Ministries as one of the twenty best sermons of that year. The tape circulated the area and when someone from upper Ohio discovered it I was invited to speak at the Kent State University Lectureships in 1993. Words hated by the leadership at my home congregation but honored by others. What did Jesus say about home town?

Grassroots are essential to change and growth. It appears missing in church life today.

No longer do I busy myself with church. I assembly once a week in a church building. My fellowship is two to three meals a week with other Christ-followers. I spend my time exploring the spiritual with those outside traditional faith boundaries. For the first time I have more 'non-Christian' friends than Christian.

My last book, “A Mobile Church for EPIC Times” never sold as well as my first book, “Tradition, Opinion and Truth.” The best explanation I have is the latter sold well because it exposed many of the sacred cows my tribe lived and breathed by in the last century. The former is a better book though. Len Sweet wrote the Foreword and there is a series of interviews with current leaders in the emergent conversation as well as a series of emails between Andrew Perriman and myself in a disscusion on future church.

I found Keith Lancaster’s blog.


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