Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"I hadn't thought of it like that before..."

With summer winding up (down?) and schedules starting to fill for the fall, I thought we could grab a moment for reflection. Thinking back over these intense conversations from the past few months, what is one way in which your mind is changing? You may not remember the post or who it was that made the comment, but could you give us a specific way in which your thinking has been changing as a result of these conversations? And perhaps it's not even that your mind has fully changed, only that it may be in the process of changing. How has something someone wrote made an impact upon the way you think/see one of the topics we've discussed?

50 comments:

josenmiami said...

ok, ok! I'm thiking, alright? Give me a few more mintues...this is hard!

Robert said...

I echo Joseph's comment...have to think about how things are achangin. I don't think we have had enough exchange to result in measured "change." We are still pulling up the bucket from the well of our journeys to process where we are. A lot of consideration has gone into this time of transition into the future. Multi-generational thinking, emerging church, cross-cultural strategy, missional focus, the role of apostolic ministry, etc...have served as an introduction to a needed conversation on the subject of ecclesiology. I think it will take a while...maybe a long while before we are ready to punctuate anything. I am ready to begin with Jesus is Lord. But that does not represent a change in my thinking...and that was the queston.

Sean said...

Hey everyone,

I'm back on the blog, more or less. I know there's no way to catch up on everything...

My wife and I just moved to Nashville, and I start classes at Vanderbilt Divinity School on August 27th.

John M: what's your email address? I've seem to lost it. My new one, for those of you who want to know, is:

sean.bejamin1066@gmail.com

Sean

steve H said...

I'm still processing how I've been changed -- other than having been challenged to think more broadly about some of the topics we have discussed.

I can say that I have been greatly encouraged by the interaction with the younger guys -- with your heart for God and for truth lived out, and especially that you are in numbers of ways ahead of where I was at your age.

And I am more convinced than ever that we need cross pollination within the broader context of what used to be the covenant or discipleship movement. That comes with interaction like this among a wider group of brothers. When the five teachers separated and many of us found ourselves relating almost exclusively to some group that used to be in "the movement, it seems to me that each group seemed to develop its own flavor and focus (or foci). I think the time has come when these various flavors and foci need the strengthening and adjustment that comes by cross pollination with different families in the same "species."

Obviously, we all need the rest of the body of Christ as well. But I, for one, rejoice at the signs that the time for finding one another within the larger family seems to have come!

Robert said...

Amen Steve...and gratifying to sense that men (and women) have continued to grow in grace and truth in the face of the dispersement of a movement. ACM was born 13 years ago to provide an atmosphere where these relationships...and now generations...could engage iron sharpening iron. This blog seems to be a testimony that the Lord has helped us.

Jeremiah said...

I've got a pretty big list for this, but I don't have time to put it down. I'm sure I don't come across as listening or being changeable, its just that I don't see any point in wallowing in self-doubt on an issue. The trick for me has been to stay certain on what I believe, but hold things somewhat loosely so I'm not rigid. Anyhow I've learned a lot and I'll post the list after vacation.

Brian Emmet said...

"Changing one's mind" does not always involve needing to say "I've been wrong"--sometimes, it's the additions and expansions to our thinking (and practice) that are of real interest and value. For example, we would never want to "change or minds" about "Jesus is Lord!"--but I also suspect that how we think about that sentence, how that word works its way into our lives and living, has changed over time.

I like this definition of "mystery" -- a mystery is something that is 'infinitely inteliigible,' in other words, as much as you've thought about it, you can't ever say you've finished thinking about it, because there's always more to it than you know, or can know. This definition does limit "mystery" to the intellectual sphere, which is a limitation of the definition...maybe better to say mystery is that which is infinitely intelligible, applicable, "experience-able"... but I think we've all had the sense that we're dealing with nysteries in these conversations, so it should not be surprising to find that we are being changed by them (the mysteries and the discussions about them!)

For example, these discussions have helped me change (refine? extend? adjust?) my view of women, the nature and practice of authority, and the ways in which the past is essential and problematic for the church's witness and practice. I don't feel that I've chucked anything out... more like the guy who disassembled an engine, then put it all back together, and then finds that there are still all these pieces and parts that must have come from somewhere and must belong somewhere...

...whether the engine actually works is another matter altogether!

josenmiami said...

Ok, I have had a chance to think this over.

While I feel I have received and edified from everyone in this blog, I have been most deeply influenced by my conversations with Brian, both publicly and privately. We have gone down through Richard McAfee’s classic levels of fellowship from information to opinion (lots of them!) to feelings (a bit awkward) and beyond to the levels of Truth.

The primary issues that has been clarified for me has been my sometimes critical views of the church. Brian has helped me accept all of the church with all of her spots and wrinkles. He has also helped me understand better the pastoral heart and the unique needs and concerns of the local church. I have come to see some of the limitations and downsides of the apostolic, constantly tinkering and experimenting with the church. There is a good reason why local churches should send out apostles before they tear up the pea patch at home!

I heard a man say that the calling of a local elders is a higher, more worthy calling that the apostolic. Apostles can move on and leave their mistakes and difficult people behind, but local elders are called to minister to the same group of saints and sinners for the long haul.

On the other hand, our discussion in the blog about issues such as pluralism, women’s roles and authority have sharpened my thinking, but probably has also intensified and strengthened some of my contrarian thinking – probably because I am viewing these issues from a secular context.

Robert said...

Joseph,

I am trying to connect your line of reasoning. I continue to be involved in the stuff of local church and how that relates to an apostolic perpsective. I don't see it as "tinkering" with local church matters. Those called to apostolic minstry are primarily concerned with conveying the Great Tradition...the faith once handed down. "Tinkering" with local church life has never been my practice...to a fault. Every local gathering...assembly...ecclesia has to contextualize what the Church looks like in their setting. Whatever form...liturgy...local church assumes, it should reflect Acts 2:42...a committment to apostolic teaching, fellowship (and I think Richard McAfee nailed it on that issue), breaking bread and prayer. If you don't have those elements, you don't have Church. Apostolic missioners are concerned with those essentials...not the particulars as to how that is worked out. Local elders have enormous responsibilty when it comes to conveying the values of orthodox Faith. How does a local presbyter...elder...pastor...stand in confidence or authority to represent to those looking to him unless he is "sent" with some authorization from beyond the local church? "Sent" is a key word for those in apostolic traditon. Otherwise, a local leader provides services based upon the approval and expectations of local constituents. What if the local leader tells local constituents what they don't want to hear? Where does he appeal? Is it approval from the local congregation or the wisdom of apostolic counsel respected by the local congregation? If that is not in place...the elder (presbyter) will be subject to the the current mood of local vote. Is there substance to apostolic counsel or should we dump that idea for a democratic vote?

I am committed to a view of the ascencion gifts that carry the word of the Lord for equipping the saints rather than the saints equipping the ascension gifts to fulfill the expectatons of local congregants. I know that is an either/or equation. It is never that simple.

josenmiami said...

hi Robert, at the end of your post, did you mean to say that it is NOT an either/or position? or that is IS? I was not sure.

You covered several good themes in your post...I have a hunch we will be talking about this for months to come...if not years, so I will not try to be comprehensive in this post.

You said: "Those called to apostolic minstry are primarily concerned with conveying the Great Tradition...the faith once handed down."

I think this reveals your definition of apostolic in contrast to mine: and I would hasten to say that I beleive both definitions are valid but need to be held in tension. You and I are both probably viewing the apostolic through our own experience.

I would say that those called to the apostolic are primarily called to extend the gospel to all the nations, and carry the witness to those people groups who have not heard.

This goes back to Dick Scoggins' paper on two kinds of apostolic roles: the pauline (entreprennural and missional) and the petrine (primarily focused on the covenant people of God).

Dick's paper adjusted my view of apostles and helped me to better understand your burden for the churches. I don't call that tinkering.

When I said tinkering, I was thinking more of myself and some of the other guys who grew large churches quickly which then imploded. There is a tendency among some apostlic types (probably more the missionary cp'ers) to experiment with wineskins...something that can exasperate the saints (ask Brian). I drove the people in my Spanish church crazy with constant change. Thats why I think normally, apostles should not be pastors. You and Michael Cook seem to have grace to walk in both worlds.

As far as applying the democracy discussion to church structure...let me come to that on another post. My earlier email was pointed at society -- not so much church structure. I am not holding up democracy as the "perfect" or "ideal" form of government...the article that I attached and posted puts that in context. I am just saying lets not be so quick to dis democracy as such a bad thing. Lets honestly consider the alternatives, not only in the light of scripture but also in the light of history.

church government in the church does not necessarily have to be congruent with societal governemnt. In our great democracy (Representative Republic for Jeremiah) there is room for Episcopal church government, Presbyterian chruch government and congregation church government (or no church government). Scriptural support can be found for all of the first three...our society and our democracy allows all of them, unlike some of the more closed and repressive societies that as recently as the 19th century exercized religious monopolies, such as Colombia, Greece, Russia or the Middle East. These are exactly the same societies that are struggling with democracy and pluralism today.

When it comes to church government, especially in an open and free society, people ultimately vote with their feet...even in the most Episcopal type church structures. certainly a form of democracy. I don't see how that can be changed regardless of what we believe about spiritual authority.

Brian Emmet said...

Uh, Joseph and Robert (and everyone else), let's keep our focus. THIS post is for "ways we might be changing ourr minds as a result of these discussions." The "Organic CP 6" post is the venue for this other material...

... the lowly administrator said with the greatest respect and in all due fear and trembling.

josenmiami said...

yes sir...my bad! anyone who wants to talk more about democracy can come over to my blog. back to how this blog is helping us change...

Bama Stephen said...

Thanks to Jamie J for telling me about this group and inviting me to participate. Obviously, I'm way behind on reading everyone's comments, but this note from steve h really caught my attention:

"I am more convinced than ever that we need cross pollination within the broader context of what used to be the covenant or discipleship movement."

I wholeheartedly agree and I commend you all for being a part of that healthy and needed process. Again, I appreciate the opportunity to read, learn, and dialogue, and pray that all of this not only facilitates philosophical discussion but also to tangible action. Blessings to each of you.

josenmiami said...

BAMA STEPHEN!!! welcome...so good to have you join us in here.

cross-pollination is one of the blessings of this group... we have people participating in here from at least 4 different streams of churches, and 3 generations.

the cross-pollination factor is a little like the blood circulation in the body...it is necessary for health.

thanks for showing up.

Brian Emmet said...

Bama Stephen...? Is that like from Africa or something? Anyway, I add my welcome to Joseph's. Read along and fire away!

Although there are only a few of us engaging this current post, I'd still like to hold onto it for a bit. I've realized (a) the importance of reflection and (b) the infrequency with which I engage in it. Reflection does not automatically mean "changing my mind" or "admitting I've been mistaken/wrong" (although it may include that)... I like the connection between reflection and reviewing, "reviewing" in the sense of "seeing it again" or "taking a second (or 3rd, 4th, etc) look" at something.

Ooops--Dr Daughter is on the phone...gotta go! I'll reflect later!

Robert said...

Welcome Stephen...and "roll tide"

If you have not been to the string on the other blog, it will help you get a grip.

Brian...got the point. We invest you with the badge to police this thing toward a proper response. Otherwise a stream of consciousness out of nowhere can hijack the conversation.

One way I have been helped...changed is by being encouraged that so many are processing matters I tended to think were unique to my world. Everyone participating has given me some good things on which to chew.

Brian Emmet said...

Robert, could you give one example of somethihng that you're chewing on as a result of all of this? I'm pressing for specifics because I think that is helpful for all of us. I think many of us would say, "Yeah, this conversation has been nreally great, changed my thinking a whole bunch," but that leaves us out of the specific tweaks and leaps that we are each of undegoing.
For example, Joseph has challenged me to think more deeply about reproduction... I haven't come up with anything--feels somewhat like staing down into a way deep well--but it is something I've given fresh thought to.

John M. said...

Brian, I've been thinking... still thinking... It's hard to nail down. I think there have been several dozen nudges and tweaks that have moved my thinking a few degrees one way or the other, but it's hard to pull them back -- for me they just come out of me when I start processing either verbally or in print. Sometimes when I'm teaching I realize that I'm phrasing something differently or nuauncing it where in the past I would have stated it as absolute and black and white.

The one thing that I can say clearly is that the discussion about the nature of the Church and church structure has called me back toward the center and back to a deep appreciation for the whole church in all of it's forms and with all of its warts. I had allowed my critique of her to overshadow my love for her.

Robert said...

OK...specifics. Joseph and his university setting has challenged me in the area of communication. His setting is not isolated...we are all dealing with it as some level. It is not a matter of abandoning historic thinking I believe merits bringing forward into the present...the future. The challenge is in the area of symantic discourse...taking a message delivered in a particular context and bringing that forward into our context in language that effectively communicates. If certain ideas and concepts provoke reaction because of assumptions as to what those ideas and concepts mean...I must engage their presuppositonal thinking by not closing doors or shutting windows of access by insisting on certain terminology that means something to me but something else to them. Patriarchy is one of those areas. I believe in fatherhood...in the family and in the Church. If that means an oppressive system to the hearer...it does not matter what I intend if they shut down. So I am exercised to think deeply about the language I use and what is communicated. How do I get past their flash point to continue the conversation in a way that is meangingful without just playing to the audience at the expense of truth. I think that represents a change...a willingness to hear that I need to find a better way of engaging...communicating. In that way, I think I am changing...growing...I hope.

steve H said...

It's hard to be specific about what has changed or is changing from our interaction, isn't it?

Here's one for me: I am en-COURAGED by our fellowship. It is strengthening to know that we are seeking together how to faithfully live and share what we have received and are receiving. (Bill Livingston and I were talking on the phone yesterday. He hasn't had time to write much but has been following the conversations and he also expressed his appreciation.)

Here's another: I'm not sure how much my mind has been changed yet, but the recent interaction about democracy / theocracy as well as the larger discussion that stemmed from Joseph's paper on church planting has caused me to perceive things more broadly and to sharpen up my language choice. It is altogether too easy to develop in-house language that does not communicate clearly outside a particular set of relationships -- or even worse, language that actually causes miscommunication. If that happens even within the streams we represent coming from a common history, how much more do we fail to communicate (or even cause unneeded controversy) in the larger body of Christ, let alone with those outside of Christ.

Thanks for helping me wrestle to put my thoughts into words that say what I intend for them to say.

Brian Emmet said...

Thank you, Robert, Joseph, Steve, and John. I appreciate the challenge of trying to nail down some specifics/particulars, but feel it is worth the effort, not only for ourselves but for the others who read our reflecting. My "amen-er" was ringing away as I read what you wrote.

Anyone else? Time to move to a new topic? Any suggestions?

Patrick said...

Ginormous greetings to all of you diligent warriors and men!

It has been many moons since I have joined in the threads. I am writing this one to lock me back into discussion.

Without going into detail, I will say that I have enjoyed this blog immensely. It has provided me with much sharpening in my own mind and life, helping me see where I fall short and where I can improve. I am drastically humbled by the caliber of men that participate and from the hundreds of years experience (combined, of course...Joseph isn't THAT old!) that is made readily available to me as a younger man.

I have also benefited greatly from the camaraderie developed among the participants. There is a unique synergy here that is not found in other circles.

Generally, it has been a huge blessing. Sometimes I would prefer that we all decide upon a solid resolution, if the topic permits. My present aim is to re-involve myself with you guys so that when ACM rolls around, I'll be on the same page.

josenmiami said...

amen to the previous comments...I feel myself being sharpened as well. thanks to those who have patiently put up with my constant agitating, prodding, questioning, etc.

I feel like we are pressing toward some important things...at least in my case like the blind men who were feeling the elephant and trying to describe it (by-the-way, I just realized that no one has ever told the elephant's side of the story!).

I think what we are wrestling toward as we grapple with these issues (definitions-concepts), with the scriptures and with one another, is to try to apprehend that 20 to 30% of truth that we don't yet know.

Someone mentioned several threads ago that John Wimber said that the best systematic theology only accounts for 70 or 80 percent of the truth...and the rest (the 20 to 30) has to be crammed into the systematic framework to "make it work" ... a little like the Procrustean bed...

What i am after is to find truth in the 20% that I don't know... the only way to do that is to wrestle...is to question and test our assumptions...in a sense, a type of deconstruction.

Hegel was a "dialectical idealist" ... he believed in the dialectical process leading to greater apprehension of the truth through history... Marx took that and changed the idealism (in the philosophical sense) to materialism.

I am an idealist in the sense that I believe that ideas have more social power than simple economics... I suspect most of us are.

What we are doing here is a dialectical process...

thesis <--> antithesis --> synthesis...

Very similar to what the liberation theologians did in So. Amer. in the 1970s. they also had their 20% error factor but they changed the whole conversation about the poor and brought to light the scriptures in a new way (and the KoG by-the-way--a central theme for them).

down the road we need to continue to broaden the discussion to include other Jesus-loving truth seekers in different contexts in order to get at that elusive 20%...I have conversations with some Jesus-lovers (not necessarily 'followers' yet) on the U. Campus that would curl your hair...

thanks to all

boy with a ball said...

Guys,

This entire conversation has impacted me most in confirming and challenging our ability to respond to much of what God is leading us into. I deeply trust your voices and am impacted by your sincerity, humility and your example.

This conversation is "grounding" me in a way that has allowed me to process through our current work with my wife, Kathy, with our team here and in the U.S. and then with many of you individually.

I am still in the process of reading and rereading all that has happened so far. It could take me several more days to even do so on a superficial level.

josenmiami said...

Jamie: I am thinking about copying and pasting all of the "organic cp6" emails into the same word document as I have the "metaphors of the kingdom" discussion (30 pages) from last Spring and creating a Table of Contents and Index to make available in a hard copy for whosoever desires. A living document on "doing theology"

however, I have to first finish a 25 page translation from Spanish to English that I am doing as part of my TA work for the chair of the history dept... hopefully, I will get to it this weekend.

I just received a thoughtful email from a friend who is reading along in here with us...and had some excellent things to contribute...I hope he will come back and engage us. We need ALL that EVERY joint supplies for the building up of the body in love...

Brian Emmet said...

Hey, younger men: William, Sean, Patrick, John, Jimmy, Matt, and others I've missed: we're missing yourr voices here. What's up: just busy? Prefer email? Prefer something more practical, a discussion that occasionally actually arrives at something approaching a conclusion? Intimidated by the dazzling brilliance and profound insights that drop like pearls from the grizzled brows of the old boys (now there's a mixed metaphor!)?

Anyway, we need and want your ongoing input, at least as much as you need ours...maybe more. So chime in: where would you like to see us head next?

steve H said...

You may not hear much for me for a few days. I have a new computer. It will take me a while to get proficient with the things I do already, let alone do new things.

Where are my techie friends?

josenmiami said...

same here Steve...trying to get used to a new-fangled laptop before school starts on Monday.

Robert said...

Pearls dropping from grizzeled brows are actually beads of sweat. We are still working and still perspiring. Join the journey...

josenmiami said...

the key word there is "grizzled"

Hey Brian, are we losing steam in this post? By-the-way, welcome Jeff! I appreciated what you had to say in quoting Mumford.

I too am traveling light these days...casting aside every hindrance....

Robert said...

If traveling light means casting aside every hindrance...Lord Jesus help us.

William said...

This blog has done more in me than I can put a finger on. I will say that one of the things it has done is open up the doors to a branch of covenant-living men that I had not been introduced to before, and for that I am greatly appreciative. I enjoy reading and learning from your thoughts and past experiences. I need it. We need it.

As for topic suggestions I have two: 1) Walking in the Prophetic
2) Deliverance.

I dont know if those are suitable...but, they are just suggestions.

Robert said...

Because folks take time for a breath does not mean there is loss of steam...just a need to refuel the boiler. I sense there is an abundant supply of hot air building. No pejorative intended. From another time, you need steam to drive the engine. Bring on the steam...

Robert

boy with a ball said...

Hey....didn't know where else to post this but in today's CNN review of the new movie, "Resurrecting the Champ," the following statement is made:

"But this isn't so much a film about journalistic ethics -- and certainly not a sports movie -- as it is a film about fathers and sons; a male weepie, in fact...In their different ways, both of (the main characters) are still carrying scars from their own childhood -- and inadvertently inflicting new wounds on the next generation."

That last line packs a punch, doesn't it.

In the generational transfer...there exist dangers on both sides. Youth with insecure and then proud hearts without the wisdom or humility necessary to see the need for the bridge of cross it if it has been built for them. Older leaders who have gone through the grind of self-denial and crucifixion so long that they for sure don't need some kid to provoke them to get in on any more pain on the other side.

Carnality, as always, a great threat. Faith being the bridge.

josenmiami said...

hi Jamie,

I thought you were talking the movie "Rocky Balboa" ... I just watched last night with Deb.

You said: "Older leaders who have gone through the grind of self-denial and crucifixion so long that they for sure don't need some kid to provoke them"

sounds familiar! :-)

John M. said...

Jamie, as you said generational transfer is a mixed bag. Along with passing on good stuff, wounds and weakness are also inflicted. I think one way to help offset the wounds and baggage is communication.

I know Joseph and Debbie have done that with their children; Vicki and I have done it some with ours. It's painful when one realizes that his own zeal has sometimes inflicted wounds on those he was trying to build for.

This dynamic happens, not just with biological children, but with spiritual offspring and young disciples. I think when it can be admitted, forgiven and talked about, that much healing takes place and hopefully a little less pain will pass on to the next generation.

It's when we leave the elephant in the kitchen and act like it's not there that the problems are perpetuated and magnified in the next generation. At least that's how I see it.

PS Obviously, prayer and ministry are part of the healing process as well as just communicating about it. But the prayer and ministry will be much more effective if coupled with clear communication. And communication between fathers and sons/parents and children, both natural and spiritual, even without prayer and ministry, will be very fruitful.

boy with a ball said...

So...it would be great in the midst of talking about how we hadn't thought about it before...to discuss the things that make change difficult, or even, quite possibly, impossible.

I am not sure if we are up to the task...whether we could really be sincere, broken and honest enough. It is kind of high stakes poker.

The thing about change is that everyone likes talking about change but the price to pay is very often to high. Like a woman who orders a whole house full of new furniture and then turns away the delivery truck when the guys show up to put it in the house and start to take out her old stuff. She wanted the new stuff but just can't let go of the old stuff.

We certainly have shown the ability to run rings around the intellectual track. We have shown great ability to read books and quote them. We have shown significant ability to extrapolate on what we have read or what others have said. But are we a group of men who can act on it? Can we change?

What keeps us from doing so? Certainly being pleased with what we have, pride that keeps us from facing any thing we might be lacking, disliking the weakness of starting anew?

I am right here with you. I am continually amazed by my inability to "go" with Him. He is working on me.

What will keep us from changing?

Brian Emmet said...

Thank you, Jamie. (Deep breath...then one more). I think chnage is difficult for two reasons: first, it represents loss. Second, it represents threat. These two are of course expressions of fear--I fear the losses that change will bring (even when the change is a good one, ala Jamie's example of the woman ordering new furniture). I also fear the incompetence and potential for failure that change offers, instead of seeing the possiblities. So I fear the work of the cross, because the cross in the first instance represents loss (complete) and failure (total). That's not ultimately what the cross is, but that is all I see initially.

Robert said...

Change is good...until it happens.
Good comments from Joseph, Jamie, John.

What does change look like? It does not seem to be in the essentials of the Faith. So what is it?

Robert said...

In my haste, I did not mention Brian. I continue to look for particulars. One thing is evident...there is a commendable desire to be pioneers rather than settlers.

Cowboy wisdom: Most folks are like a bob-wire fence, they have their good points.

Thanks for your's....

John M. said...

Jamie, thanks. Change means letting go of things that have been valued in the past to embrace what you're now being called to.

Personal examples with specifics:

In 1980 God called me to move from the small town of Lancaster,OH to to Lexington, KY. In order to embrace the change, I had to leave behind a community of bros. and sisters that I loved. I had to leave the rather blue collar/country culture in which I was very comfortable for a more sophisticated, upwardly mobile,preppy, city culture in which I was very uncomfortable. I had a lot invested in raising my children (then two, one 5yrs. and one 2 1/2 yrs.) in a small town atmosphere, in a small covenant community, and in the Christan School that we had started. I had to let go of that and be willing to raise them in the larger, more urban city,environment. My wife was nearly full-term with our third child -- so it was a bit of letting go for her too! :)

Most people change jobs or locations because of greater financial advantage. My experience has been that usually when the Lord has called me to change it has included some degree of financial "sacrifice" and the need to trust him more fully for provision. That was certainly the case during my last major change in which I moved out of my vocational pastoral situation to become a full-time teacher. It was a salary cut, but a clear call from God to the emerging generation. It was actually a rather difficult transition on several levels, but I am daily grateful for what God has done in me in embracing the change and am daily grateful for the opportunity to hang out with "my" kids and teach them the scriptures every day, while at the same time learning much from them.

By the way, it dawned on me today (Sunday), Brian, as I begin thinking about school tomorrow and my lesson plan, that I was excited about going back to school after a too short weekend. The primary source of my excitement (besides God's grace or maybe because of His grace) was this blog and the context it has provided to keep the big picture in mind and the opportunity to hear from and interact with the younger guys. It has given me fresh vision to instill the values in my 7th graders that God has instilled in us and that we are seeing reflected, sometimes way more clearly than in our own lives, in the lives of the Gen-next people we're hearing from on this blog.

josenmiami said...

change? hmmm.... whats that?

I realized this week that I have crossed over some kind of invisible "half-way/point-of-no-return" mark in my journey out of a "church" based career into a secular academic focus. Caused me some anxiety...

Robert: Don't ever squat with your spurs on!

Sean said...

I want to thank everyone for their input over these many months. The biggest thing I have learned is character: authenticity to be exact. Everyone seems to be striving to follow Christ authentically. You simply cannot buy what I have learned in this blog.

Shalom,

Sean

Brian Emmet said...

Please visit and respond to the new post "You're Invited" from Aug 28.

Jeremiah said...

Here is my list of things I've learned:

1) That words (like Jesus) have a subjective side as well as an objective side.

2) That all of thought can be classified into three categories, (Authority, Relationships, Distinctions)

3) There are others "out there" in my generation who share my passion to see the Kingdom of GOD come from Heaven to Earth.

4) The warrior nature of GOD is eternal and manifests in the Trinity through the Life of the Cross.

There have been tons of other smaller things but those are the most significant to me.

Jeremiah said...

Joseph,

You have made a number of comments on this thread that I don't understand. You commented that "...probably has also intensified and strengthened some of my contrarian thinking – probably because I am viewing these issues from a secular context."

I thought we are supposed to be "Transformed by the renewing of our minds..."? You seem to champion thinking secularly and I don't understand that.

You go on to champion Hegel's philosophy. Hegel's dialectical approach has done more to destroy this world and bring Hell to Earth than most things I can think of. This is the very clear point that Schaeffer makes in "The God Who Is There", "He Is There and He Is Not Silent" and in "Escape From Reason" I personally have not studied Hegel's work directly, but I have read Schaefer (as well as a few others) and he very clearly details how that thinking has resulted in the Society of the West coming to the break of complete moral implosion.

We are now entering an age of Barbarism. Paganism is the result of Post Modernism and Barbarism is Paganism's sister. The chaos seen in much of Africa (i.e. Rawanda, Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan etc.) is our current future unless GOD intervenes. I am extremely hopeful and anticipating that there will be men in my generation who will be that intervention.

When GOD converted the Barbarian tribes of the Vikings, Picts, Irish, Scotti, Angli, and Saxons in Northern Europe, they had strong Family & Tribal bases HE could work with. We are entereing a society that doesn't even have families as a base.

If we accept the thinking of Hegel as a base to work of we have not just shot ourselves in the foot, we have dropped time bombs into our pants.

I have probably completely misunderstood what you were saying, and will happily hear what your clarification is. I do think the discussion of the philisophical roots of the wests deterioration is useful though.

josenmiami said...

Jeremiah: you are engaging in "reductionism", which is just another way of saying “oversimplication.” I did not “champion” Hegel’s philosophy. All I said was that I agree with Hegel that ideas are more important than economics in driving society and culture…I did not endorse all of Hegel’s philosophy but I do prefer Hegelian philosophy over Marxist.

You are basing your critique of my sympathetic comments about Hegel when you have not even read Hegel…but rather on something Francis Schaeffer said. Read him (Hegel) before you dismiss him based on what someone else said. If you are going to quote Schaeffer attacking Hegel, then give me page numbers please. Jesus did say something about “loving our enemies” if I am not mistaken… I would not necessarily consider Hegel an enemy, but since you so clearly do… at least have the respect to read what he actually says rather than what someone says he says.

Regarding my attempt to view the world through secular eyes… this is simply incarnational missions. St. Paul said that he became a “Greek in order that he might reach Greeks”… In order to reach Congolese, one must view the world through Congolese eyes in order to best communicate with them.

The church is completely failing to reach secular people…mostly, in my humble opinion, because the church relates to secular people in an adversarial fashion, as you seem to indicate you do. As a missionary to secular people, I feel that I must become “secular” in order to reach “seculars”…1 Cor. 9. By understanding the way they think, I can more effectively communicate eternal truths with them.

Jeremiah said...

Excellent point regarding becoming all things to all men in order to win a few. I'm skewered on that! :)
I suppose I'm always afraid of losing my moorings if I think too much like those who are lost. Fear is a terrible excuse though and I really should have more courage there. I do often find myself nearly weeping though when I talk to people who are "harrassed and harried like sheep without a shepherd" and touch the pain they carry. I met a guy like that this week and it was a rather depressing day.

I know I've heard "reductionism" before, but I would be a liar if I claimed to know what it means.

Regarding Hegel's philosphy, there are a lot of philosophers who I could and probably should read, but I have found that as a full time engineer with 4 kids and responsibilities in the church, I really don't have time to track down all of the sources and so confine my studying to essentially "taking the word" of men or authors who I trust. It tends to make me rather selective in what I read or expose myself to as I don't want to waste time on crap. Indeed when you look at our educational system, people don't usually read the original source authors until masters doctoral or post doc level anyway. I do wish I didn't have to make such a concession, and I do recognize the gap it leaves in my education, but it seems to me that Francis Schaeffer is a fairly trustworthy source. Viv is reading those books, I'll have to hunt down where she has them stashed and get the specific references.

Regarding "enemies" I do not regard secular people as our enemies. The enemies are unseen and most people are simply unwitting accomplices. Exhibit A of that would be the devestation wreaked by the writings of Kirkegaard who was a devout believer but unwittingly opened the door to existentialism through his complete misunderstanding of faith, in particular, Abraham's faith. There are those few individuals, however, that just absolutely take the cake in terms of their hatred of Jesus and all HE does. You are right, I really do have to guard my heart.

good response, thank you

josenmiami said...

I have found that it is often possible to get to Nassau as cheaply as South florida, and the hotel prices are occasionally lower...

If we do this, I would personally prefer "not" to be hosted by families in a local church. More of a retreat setting would better serve our purposes, although I appreciate the gracious offer from Jer.

josenmiami said...

darn! my computer did it again!

I composed a lovely response to your comment, and my computer (windows VISTA) dumped it and replaced with another one from memory.

anyway, aren't you supposed to be at camp?