Friday, October 23, 2009

Deep Church I

We begin our discussion of Jim Belcher's new book, "Deep Church." In the first part of his book, Belcher describes the current impasses or areas of significant disagreement between evangelical "traditionalists" and members of the "emerging" church movement. He also describes his personal quest to find a "third way" between these two perspectives, a way that maintains the strengths that each has to offer, while avoiding their inherent weaknesses.

So, what struck you as either insightful or off-base or otherwise worthy of discussion? It will help if you could be specific to Belcher's text--we're obviously hoping that you have read/are reading the actual book along with this discussion about it!

17 comments:

just joe said...

really good book -- I look forward to hearing everyone's comments on it.

John M. said...

I'm going to have to read along on this one. Can't read it at this point.

Brian Emmet said...

Reading Belcher after just finishing Flory and Miller's "Finding Faith" has been fun, and illuminating. In F&M's typology, Belcher is attempting to find a "third way" between resisters (F&M's term for Belcher's "traditionalists") and innovators (F&M's term for Belcher's "emerging church"). More later, after I get back from my innovative traditionalist worship conversation-event!

just joe said...

Actually, it strikes me that he is proposing "recoverers" as the "third way" between resisters and innovators. By-the-way, he does mentions "appropriators" (seeker sensitive mega church) but pretty much dismisses them with a few sentences. If I remember right, he calls them "pragmatics" or something like that. So, interestingly, all four "types" from Flory and Miller show up in Belcher, but he only focuses on three of them.

just joe said...

Sorry: I meant to say that Belcher's third way represents "Reclaimers" rather than "recoverers."

Brian Emmet said...

It's interesting that Belcher's analysis mirrors some of the discussion we've had here; not that we've landed exactly where B has, but still--makes me feel kinda smart!

I was also struck by Flory and Miller's assessment of the future prospects of their four types, and their sense that the resistor/traditionalist position does not appear to them to have much of a future. Of course, F&M's "resisters" and B's "traditionalists" aren't eactly the same, but close enough.

I thought Belcher did a good job of defining the emerging church over against the traditonalists, and found his "7 protests of the emerging church" a pretty fair summary of both sides' positions. Theemerging folks protest what they see as the tradiotnalists' captivity to Enlightenment rationalism, narrow view of salvation, believing before belonging, uncontextualized worship, ineffective preaching, weak ecclesiology, and tribalism.

John M. said...

Who is Fory and Miller?

just joe said...

Richard Flory and Donald E. Miller. 2008. Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

John M. said...

The Donald Miller of "Blue Like Jazz" et al?

Brian Emmet said...

No! An academic/sociologist/researcher, not a novelist/writer.

just joe said...

Hey John, we had a discussion about the Flory and Miller book back around August 24th with 48 comments on it... you were probably busy at that time and missed the discussion. Look back in the archives for the end of August ...

just joe said...

Brian: looks like this is a party of three so far .... :-(

Robert said...

I am here...the value of discussing Belcher to me would be in taking ideas off of a particular page and addressing them...i.e. Foundationalism, "bounded set" thinking, "corelationist model"...all significant concepts. These or any other ideas could help us get the best of his observations.

Brian Emmet said...

From Belcher, on postfoundationalism, pp. 84-85:

First, [we] must be postfoundational... there is no unassailable certainty, even for believers.. Second, the deep church believes in foundations... built on belief not reason.

Third, we stand in what Newbigin calls "proper confidence" [that is] chastened, humble, realizing we are sinners... [and valuing] multiperspectivalism...

Finally... we are not timid. Our confidence is not in ourselves... but in knowing tht God knows all things and has chosen us to be part of his story."

just joe said...

it is hard for me to disagree with that. I have to say it is refreshing to read something that is not angry, and not black and white, for or against.

just joe said...

I get the impression no one wants to put themselves out there and make an argument ... either pro or con about Belcher. You have all probably gotten used to me starting that ...
I certainly liked his book, although there are some things I am still processing. I think I am at about the 150 page mark.

I am temporarily without internet access at home ...

Brian Emmet said...

Pot starts boiling at next post...