Powerful post by Nathan Barnes

(Don't worry... part 4 of "heaven and the Kingdom" is coming)

Nathan Barnes; a pastor in Thunder Bay, Onterio in Cananda, posted THIS POST. If you're anything like me, if you're interested in emerging culture, you will not want to forget this powerful post.



Agent X said…
I am wondering about your thoughts on this, Wes. I could have commented on Nathan's post, but I feel a little more a part of the community that hangs out around your blog. Nathan's post calls the bluff on Emergence, and you have made it a topic here as well.

I have never identified myself as "emergent" or as part of the emergent church. I am familiar with Campolo, McLaren and even Bell a little. I see how the Wright gels with this crowd to a large degree, but I think I see some differences too. Nevertheless, I empathize deeply with Nathan's post. And I am inclined to say that "leaving" a community is practically always the attractive solution on the front end and practically always perpetuating the deep roots of what ever problem you had to begin with in the long run. (I am a child of divorce, I do not think it was the answer.)

On the other hand, no matter how attractive, brilliant or even RIGHT the split off community is (the new bunch that grew out of the division), they can never claim the utterly self-sacrificial love of those who stayed (and probably died) with the old group. Even if the old group is dead and dying.

Remember you recent post series on how Jesus came to a broken down has been of a nation - Israel. We might even call it a broken down has been of a plan of God to save the world, because that is just what Isreal really was when Jesus showed up as an infant. And he stayed and died with/for them (with/for us all really.) He came to Israel to be Israel on behalf of Israel and for the world as Israel should have been but was not. (Thankyou Mr. Wright)

If it can be shown that Emergent has or is missing the boat in the realm of loving self sacrifice on behalf of the community, then I will be happy to glean the finer points it has to offer but not identify myself with it. The world does not need anymore half measure solutions.

I hope that addresses the post decently.

Many blessings...
Dolores said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dolores said…
Thank you, Mike. What say you, Wes?
Nathan Barnes mentions that he has no church home where he can "fit" in... Well I fit that category too.

Hmmm.... Wes, why are you showing astrological and zodiac signs on your profile??? Is that compatible with your theology school???

Just wondering...it just doesn't fit with you.

If you hide your birthdate in your profile...

wellis68 said…
Wow... sorry I haven't been by my computer...

Nathans post is very convicting and that's why I wanted my readers to read it as well. I don't really consider myself "emergent" either but I know I fit the mold very well. I agree with what you say, it's not good to divorce yourself, that's not the answer. I haven't disconnected myself from the traditional church but I do feel much more at home with people who think like me (don't we all). I don't ever wish to be a branch or a brand of Christianity, I don't want to make a "new Church" but I do feel strong conviction that the Church has to continue reshaping itself and resicovering its role in the world. Consider Martin Luther. Luther opposed the Catholic Church, fought their theology and their authority, but he never wanted to make a branch... he wanted the Church to realize some things. This is the reason I'm hesitant to associate myself with emerging church; because it's become a new church... a branch. The struggles that Nathan shared with us are similar to my own... I have alot of trouble putting myself on one side of the tracks or another. I'm not sure I have any really helpful thoughts on the subject. I'm still dealing with it myself. There are things about the emerging Church that resonate with me... there are things I adore. But I can't imagine abandoning my roots. I love the church I attend, it's very traditional and I do sometimes feel alone there but I love it. You said "The world does not need anymore half measure solutions." I, with a broken heart... broken because I don't know what to do about it, agree with you.

Dolores (AKA: mom),
I don't know what kinds of thoughs, exactally, you're looking for but I hope I gave them above.

I think Zodiac signs are just a buch of groundless superstitions. They're not reasonably a thological idea, and my school doesn't really talk about them because there's not much to talk about. But I'm sure they do not buy into them either. They're on my profile because I don't mind having my birthday there and I don't think its a big deal. What are your thoughts?
Agent X said…
Thanks Wes, Good response. Very thoughtful. A thought provoking essay huh? I know I wrestle with it.

I have not left my tradition either. I hope I am making it better and more loving with the contribution I offer there. I actually would love to see it dissolve, but that has been tried and failed from within my heritage once already. So now I call these flawed people my family (as long as they will have me) and I prophetically call them to be more loving all the time.

Sometimes it is me that needs to be called to it. But I have made that call a centerpiece of my ministry and so usually it is me doing the calling there.

I do however reach out to other traditions very purposefully all the time. If I had it my way, we would all be Methodists or even Anglican so we could be closer to Wright, and theologically, I often feel very distant from most Baptists. But you know what? I actually share in ministerial partnership with Baptists in outreach and evangelism here in Lubbock. I even take instruction from one of them, regularly. Wes, I listen to this guy preach all the time, and I find upwards of say 70% of his stuff disagreable to me. But he loves Jesus and claims Him as Lord and so do I. Plus, he is a good guy, and I love him too. The rest is small stuff, in my book.

So, if Emergent has done anything good, and I am inclined to say that what ever faults we find with it, there has been tremendous good as well, it may prove yet to be a way for folks like you and me who are staying in our traditions to reach out to each other in Christian love and humility. God help us! If a trend got started, perhaps one day we would just not really care much about the little things that seperate us, for all the charity we share in Him. Pray for it...

So, the irony here is, or so it seems, that I am with you - even as we stay with our seperate traditions. It is a paradox. But a beautiful one, I trust.

I love this blog. Keep it up. You are doing good work here.

Many blessings...
wellis68 said…
Thanks for the encouraging comment. There's one thing Rob Bell once said and I won't quote it cause I'll mess it up. He said something like... as Christians we are not pointing out all the things that make us different but we embrace and celebrate all that we have in common. That concept has been ringing in my ears...

I'll indeed pray for that kind of unity, but until then I will continue to call people to a life that is in rhythm with God's heart. We're not always going to agree with each other but we will always be able to learn from each other.
For me, sharing birthday info is too much public knowledge.

My biggest thing though--allowing the zodiac signs up is a like an endorsement of their inaccurate portrayal of my creatively orginal nature. And that I follow superstition rather than G*d.

For those who do follow "astrology" one's Zodiac or "sun sign" is not enough of a description of one's personality. I had an entire planetary sign personality put together once. Rather uncanny how much it "seemed" like me. Still the Maker of All Things has made each of us all way more uniquely even than that nearly accurate description.

Now if you don't mind folks knowing your birthday and age, a way around blogger showing stuff you happen to actually think is a bunch of groundless superstition?? Control the info by putting your birthday and age in the profile paragaph...

Just a gentle thought about following one's convictions.

Shalom and Kind Regards,
wellis68 said…
Thanks Reni,
Maybe I'll change it next time I chnge my profile.
wellis68 said…
Pastor Art,
very good thoughts!

Yes I do knoe Nathan from the YLI conference. I will be checking out your blog. thanks for stopping by.
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