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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Entering the Conversation

Today, our District Ministerium entered the Emerging/Emergent conversation. I alluded to my role in this "panel" during a previous post and was shocked to see the number of comments and emails I received. Many wanted a full report as soon as I could comment (and quite frankly, were probably expecting the worst), so I thought I would put some thoughts out:
    1. No big deal.
Honestly, from the response I received, I think some thought this "panel" was a big deal. It was me, one other guy and a moderator speaking to about a dozen other guys (a couple who had to leave early). In all honesty, it probably was nothing but a "conversation."
    2. Very nice.
I really enjoyed being on the panel with Dale. He was prepared, educated, and cordial.
    3. Lots of Talk
I feel like I did most of the talking (maybe another reason I enjoyed Dale. He let me.)
    4. Too much to cover.
Honestly, we tried to cover the whole Emerging/Emergent distinction, presented Ed Stetzer's Relevants/Reconstructionists/Revisionists persepective, and Dale even had to cover what postmodernity is. It reminded me of cleaning my room as a teenager; you stand at the door wondering where in the world to start.
    5. Quite Doctrinal
Many might think this is a strictly methodological discussion. Yet, there needs to be a ton of theology incorporated for the discussion.
    6. Exegetical
During the panel, I only referred to three passages. I really wanted to address about ten. Anytime you're going to address concerns regarding pragmatism, especially if that affects issues regarding sufficiency and authority of Scripture, it is probably wisest to use Scripture in your discussion. Didn't really do this as much as I would have liked.
    7. "Clergy" only
Steve mentioned we'd like to schedule and evening ministerium some time, so that people who are unavailable during the day can attend. This would have been a good topic for that. It seems just as critical that "people in the pew" can seperate the urban myths and truth regarding this topic. (Please, don't think I am claiming to be the solution for seperating myth and truth...that's not my claim at all. But, for instance, it is nice to have a forum where you can make sure quotes are accurate and attributated to the right person.)
    8. Hanging with the Holmes-skillet
After the meeting, several guys were willing to carve out a little extra time to talk. Not only was the lunch great, but fellowship was even better. I enjoyed getting to know Dave, and getting to know other guys a little better. Many have stated to me that "conversations" like today can only happen in the context of relationship. I definitely see the strength in that, but also wonder what we are to do with guys we've never met, or guys who just aren't that accessible. As a fellowship, are we only accountable to the guys we know? Do I have the ability to say "Am I my brother's keeper?" about a pastor across the country? Honestly, this seems to be a major issue that must be addressed in our fellowship.
    9. Blog posts coming.
I know the electronic media cannot replace relationships. However, I do believe it can enhance them some. I believe I know several guys a bit better because of blogs, emails and web journals. It can be a decent way to deciminate material. Therefore, I do plan to post some articles regarding this topic again. Hopefully, those who have been frustrated at me before will understand it is merely an avenue to start the conversation. If I'm wrong, I hope they will share my error with me, rather than getting angry or resorting to name calling (both of which have happened before).

At the least, it can't happen anonymously anymore.

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