lj – emerging theologian 2

Tonight, LJ is haveing a hard time falling back to sleep so we are looking for a picture of Jesus with a blue sash on the internet. We find one, but it’s not exactly the one we are looking for. Then LJ explains his theology of salvation…

That Jesus is my savior…he’s my favorite one…he’s my savior. Blue Jesus is in my heart…walking around trying to find his friends. And his parents are going to come and pick him up.

Thank the Lord LJ isn’t a Calvinist…then he’d be really screwed up…kidding…mostly.


NPC – CCC#4 – Leron Shults

It seems it is taking me quite a while to work through a lot of my thoughts that developed at the National Pastors Convention. That’s good – dang good – because my church fronted dolla’s (that’s rap for a bunch of cash) to send us. So, of course, they hope it’s somehow worth it.

The fourth presenter at the emerging critical concerns course was Leron Shults. I had never heard of him before, but he would be THE reason I would consider going to Bethel Seminary. He is really smart (his blog is here), but he helped me to further develop my beliefs about process salvationism (combined with what Campolo taught about Einsteinian physics…more on that much later) and he writes killer books. He’s also just one more reason why I keep thinking it sure helps you to be emerging if you are Wesleyan…

From the titles of his books you who think I am a little too deep can see why I am going to be buying them when my book buying fast is over:
The Postfoundationalist Task of Theology
Reforming Theological Anthropology: After the Philosophical Turn to Relationality
The Faces of Forgiveness: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation
Reforming the Doctrine of God &
Transforming Spirituality: Integrating Theology and Psychology

So here’s what I heard and learned and thought…

> His main point was to talk about Decentering the Renewal: the disturbing spirit in the emerging churches

>the emerging church must be driven by a centrifugal force (out of control)
>examples of Jerusalem against Antioch as major centers of the early church

>the natural response to loss of control is fear (my thoughts: is that what the Spirit of God does…instills the fear of God?)

>Acts 9:31 =

>the secret to church growth is the FEAR of the LORD (we should fear no other) and comfort…these two conditions lead to vulnerability.

>salvation: the reordering of a community because of the presence of the spirit of God. (my thoughts: not only does this help me explain process salvationsism, but it is also a commentary of communal salvation…which I beleive in but don’t totally understand, yet.)

Challenges from the panel…

> our theological categories must change because they are based on theories of understanding which are no longer contemporary.

> my notes: this is the massive underlying truth about the emerging movement – the old ways of knowing are leaving because the things that people believed were true are simply not anymore. It’s very similar to the times when they found that the world is not flat…only now we are finding that the universe is not infinite, just curved. Funny thing is…some church leaders think that this is a load of crap, a fad. I wonder if that’s what they thought when they suppressed Galileo for saying the earth wasn’t the center of the universe…

Harambee this summer

Through a wildly God-ordained series of events, our high school group is following God’s lead on a summer missions trip to Harambee Ministries in Pasedena, to serve God in the greater LA region.

It’s so funny how, no matter how hard I seem to try, God gets His way and always has a GOOD way. So, is this a conincidence (LACY FOX!), nope, I don’t think so. But I could be 90% wrong.

Either way, I think I might be more excited about this missions trip than the previous two (and I get pretty worked up about student missions) for a couple reasons:

1. We are not going in with YouthWorks. I love, absolutely love, YouthWorks, but we sensed God leading us to go it a little more on our own, so we are partnering with local organizations and just going in. This makes me nervous because I will really need to have a handle on things and I will need the best possible leaders.

2. We are going to LA, the furtherst this group has gone (since the South Tremont days…inside joke alert) since over a decade ago when they went to Mexico with Oregon City. This makes me nervous because of raising gas prices and long drives for my excellent leaders.

3. We get to meet and work with Rudy Carusco. I really love what he is about and the way he is engaging the emerging church in an urban setting, when so much of it seems to be happening to white suburbans…it’s really a cool thing. This does not make me nervous.

So – all in all – this is really big….applications are due on Wednesday night.


Doug Pagitt, an early leader in the emerging movement, presented third at the seminar. He opened with some nice remarks that I thought were humble, about how this isn’t the “new cool thing” that should make all pastors feel guilty because they don’t know what is going on. Also, Doug’s presentation was the most informal and “anti-notes”, he began with a video and explained how his feelings mirrored those expressed in the video. Here’s some great stuff I gained from his time:

>> this whole thing has to be felt before it is thought

>> The culture and the gospel is inseparable – both for moderns and pomo’s

>> we need to understand the reality of the world so that we can know the good news for it; this is a sublte difference from repackaging for relevance

>> Doug called himself a traditionalist…from the first century

>> He expressed a desire for a non-church-centric view of the kingdom of God (free from dogmatics and the “who’s got the gospel” issues)

>> He also noted that the way that we form our beliefs is, in fact, a practice. This is where the real differences in modernism and postmodernity exist. Modernism neglects the fact that the medium of spiritual formation carries a large message – perhaps is the greater message.

Challenges from the panel…

>> a call was put out to a community who will form into a gathered worship group?

>> the relationship between Luke 4 (Jesus in Temple) and the beatitudes (Luke 6) was discussed

>> I thought that I cannot become a pastor who is just waiting for grandma to die so that we can have the keys to the car. And I know pastors my age who are like this – we need to go out and get our own car. And not PIMP it.

>> I thought of this also: I wonder how these relationships work and if I need to read some on this:

Covenant/Kingdom Relationships

Abraham (all people) ——–> Moses (Jews)
Jesus (kingdom) ——–> Paul (church)

Where is that chart going? Is there a relationship? Can we learn from the Old Testament tales of the Jews in order to make our churches a better representation of the original ingredients?

Free for All

I’m on a new keyboard today and it’s rather noisy…yesterday I baptized my keyboard with a Frapachino that a student bought me. That was frustrating.

Tonight, at youth group, we are having a Free for All (much like everyother youth pastor who is enamored with Rob Bell…Aaron Swank is partly right about me…). We are going to focus the questions on relationship issues.

During some worship times, we are going to use some visuals and questions that I have downloaded from Dropping Knowledge. We’ll use these and talk about the role of questions in our relationships, especially with Jesus.

It should be a great night.

Here’s an example of what we’ll use for our prayers:


Ryan Bolger, (on the left; Gibbs on the right) a professor at Fuller, has recently published a new book, with Eddie Gibbs, called Emerging Churches. It is a scholastic survey of emerging movements around the US and the world that gives some definition to the movement and shows some of the areas that the church is emerging. I haven’t read it. Here’s what he had to say at the conference, with a smattering of some of my own thoughts…

>> going to a church, in our culture, evokes the same emotions that going to a gay bar did in the culture of 1990.

>> we do not need to gather the disgruntled, we need missionaries

>> belief: a person shouldn’t have to cross cultures to find God.

>> new: the church today is toxic to spirituality; it is a different culture…we desire an indigineous congregation.

>> “post” churches:

*must overcome dualisms
– a truncated theology of either/or moving to both/and

*must overcome linearity
– “God is in a book”
– we are not forming our culture the way that our
culture does…we use words, our culture uses pictures

*must overcome body/mind dualisms
– Christianity is not about believing right things while not living right things.
– increased desire for holism

*overcome homogenity– God is NOT about conformity and control
– we want diversity and shared practices while not having to share theology
– success vs. faithfulness in measurement and evaluation systems

*overcome individualism– “my” to “His”

*overcome “my needs getting met” (fed)
– we are not economically driven

*overcome spectatorship-consuming vs. producing: the benefit is in the participation
-clergyvs. laity; noting relationships between hierarchical and network systems.

>>also, ryan brought up not speaking into a culture for the first three years, instead learning that culture…

Challenges from the panel…

>> we are a consumer culture if we are not thinking theologically
>> We are not all disgruntled; many of us just want the freedom to go beyond

MTV saved my life

For various reasons, MTV has saved my life. Most recently, it is the advent of the broadband online channel called MTV Overdrive. I have an insaitable desire for Coldplay songs right now, and Overdirve allows me to get all the music I want and save my allowance at the same time!!

God bless MTV!

ps. comments that blast me for praying for God’s blessings on MTV are more than welcome. That is definitely a theological discussion that I want to have!