With A Wink And A Nod…
Back in November of last year I wrote some new goals for this blog. One of them was to devote less time to the Emerging Church (which, in part, might explain the fall in traffic and linkeage to this blog). My goal was to devote less time to “… the conceptual debates around what is, […]
Back in November of last year I wrote some new goals for this blog. One of them was to devote less time to the Emerging Church (which, in part, might explain the fall in traffic and linkeage to this blog). My goal was to devote less time to
“… the conceptual debates around what is, or is not the emerging church and the conflicts between supporters and defenders of the movement.”
What comes through in the rest of that post was a desire to sidestep a lot of negativity, name-calling and abstraction from lived reality that frames so “Christian” debates about ecclesiology and mission. That is part of a growing realisation of how to orient my participation in Christian communities on a whole bunch of levels – from academic writing, discussion and future study, through local church involvement, to virtual connections. Lately it has iformed decisions about Facebook and today, it was the main reason behind pulling the plug on my involvement with a Christian forum where I have posted for some years.
I’m a weary guy – tired of the namecalling, tired of the bullies, tired of felling compelled to choose sides in debates that are tangental to the everyday reality of my mission and spirituality.
So, why am I even bothering to comment on the recent fracas over Mark Driscoll’s latest rant? Well, simply because I’ve put his name up on this forum in the past as a guy who said a few things about mission that I agree with. Although subsequent posts on Driscoll reveal a downward trend (here, here and here).
Part of me wants to join the absurdity-embracing wink-brigade (Doug, Josh and Joshua – love the buddy Jesus wink dude!!!). But, the truth is this just makes me feel sad at a very deep level – so I’m joing the post-winkers (like Steve and C. Scott). It also reminds me of some profound experiences that have marked the journey towards the emerging and missional conversation.
PoMo Pirate was at the conference (HT to Steve) and comments,
“Right now I think the last thing the Church needs are white dudes with clinched fists, especially when what they are clenching is “God’s Truth.””
Amen. Back in the mid-90s I recall a number of times where the unresolved anger of people I had respected around me in the church started to weigh very heavily. When that same anger started to appear in my own thoughts it was clear that a change was needed. The Driscoll-affair kind of maps the experience I had back in the 90s church of Sydney, on the edges of the Evangelical movement. It reminds me of The Briefing versus The Baptists, the whole “how to have a Godly controversy” mindset, of ministers who were “happy to see the back” of Sydney evangelicals in their congregations. It also reminds me of the horrid convolutions some friends went through to be seen as a “safe pair of hands” – invited on the right programmes, and welcomed into the career-advancing networking opportunities.
On a not unrelated tack, Anthony Smith has come out of blog-retirement at Musings of a Postmodern Negro (HT again to Steve) to comment,
“I’m tired of choosing between white Christian males in my arbitration of truth. Some things just don’t end. 500 years of presumptive white male theologizing is just too deeply wedded to Western Christianity.”
No single experience at theological college cut to my soul more devastatingly than an Urban Mission class where I had to sit through a lecture on racial integration – it was Christianity as a tool for social and suburban normalisation. From that point on it became harder and harder to accept Anglo-Celtic (white) guys desribing to me how I should interpret (or reject) my “ethnic” and “multicultural” experience and how important for my pastoral “career” it was to be seen as a steady Anglicised, suburban guy. In other words, I was being encouraged to lie.
Finally, Brother Maynard at Subversive Influence goes into nice detail about what is ultimately wrongheaded and un-ecclesiological about the debate and maybe even about the way I’ve posted on it here. Please read his thoughts and consider them.
I’ve always been at the extreme edge of the emerging/emergent/missional “conversation.” I’m not much of a joiner, networker of conference-goer. I’m not that guy. But, I’ve been attracted because of the warmth of some of the people I’ve met, both online and in person. I’ve also been attracted by the honesty and non-combativeness. I stay connected because of the desire to talk about everyday faith, everyday spirituality, everyday mission. The sad realisation is that there seems to be no way to avoid the name-calling and intellectual violence.
[tags] Mark Driscoll, Angry White Christians, Evangelicalism [/tags]