Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What a Week!

Well, I didn't see that one coming.

I have occasionally visited the team pyro site and other similar sites in an attempt to understand their point of view. I have come to realize that, in spite of the fact that we are all in Christ, we do not agree in our perceptions of what God is like.

I find the strident tone of the conversations at some sites draining rather than life-giving. Therefore I prefer to spend my time at blogs that inspire and encourage me in my spiritual walk. And that's okay! There are zillions of blogs to select from, and I can't read them all.

When I came across the posters at team pyro, I was neither hurt nor angry. Rather the posters confirmed that their opinion of emerging/missional thought is well-established in their minds. When the writers at pyro made the posters, they wrote their honest thoughts concerning each of the topics.

The difference in the two sets of posters portrays a clear example of word association. With the same word, they hear one thing, I hear another. That is what triggered the inspiration to create my own posters. The same 20 words inspire entirely different thoughts in my mind than what was portrayed in the team pyro posters.

Honestly, I think it boils down to a matter of choice or preference. If you want the words to be meaningful, they can be. If you reject them as associated with something you oppose, then the words will invoke thoughts of opposition.

My posters are the result of what happens when you take a little spare time, a little inspiration, and a husband out of town for the weekend. I took each of the words, and in true word-association style, wrote down the first thought that came to mind about each of the words.

After the posters went hugely public, I was left to disclaim that they were not Official Trademarked Emergent-Approved Definitive explanations of the terms. Good grief, if I had known more than 50 people would see them, I might have put a little more thought into it. However, in the end, I think the word-association method is appropriate.

There have been over 100 links to the posters. Many of the early links came from my friends, and many people have written awesome posts about the two sets of posters. I tried to follow as many of the other links as I could and have added several interesting blogs to my blogreader.

Of course, not everyone likes me or the posters. Oh well. One of my favorite critiques is that they were overly positive. We certainly wouldn't want to be too positive about Jesus, the gospel, or salvation now, would we? And apparently Phil Johnson has accused me of being..... ...........sweet. I'm crushed!

As to my motives, both sides have given me too much credit. My intent was neither especially gracious nor malicious. They certainly were not a "back at ya" to team pyro. They were not a well-thought-out plan to make team pyro look mean. And in case anyone is worried that I might be too nice, they were not even a prayerful response to ridicule.

They were simply me expressing myself with little forethought to the results. I didn't realize that I had stepped into or inadvertently created a poster war. It caught me by surprise to suddenly be expected to defend the emerging movement and perhaps all of christianity.

My first reaction to some of the more harshly toned comments was, "Hey, what did I ever do to you?" It still surprises me when someone who knows nothing about me shows up with strong accusations. I don't understand approaching a conversation that way. It seems like a better approach would be to share your own point of view rather than attacking a stranger's point of view.

As for this blog, those of you who have been around know that things are pretty civil around here. We have had some great insightful conversations in the past. Agreement is certainly not a requirement, but for the most part, people share what they have to say in a sincere and respectful manner.

If you're new around here, I would love the chance to get to know you. Feel free to introduce yourself in the comment section. And tell me what you wonder about. My old friends can play too. I'll go first in the comments.

I have quite a few posts in process but not much time to write. I'm remodeling my kids' bathroom, and we have quite a bit of company dropping in over the next couple of weeks.

In the hopper:
Deconstruction
Winners and Losers
Why I'm Not Joining The Emerging Church

Oh my!.....stay tuned.

34 comments:

grace said...

Hi! My blog name is grace. I have been blogging for 2 years now.

What I wonder about the most is about how best to go about doing church and being the church.

Robbymac said...

Hi, my blog name is robbymac. I've been blogging for four years.

What I wonder about is (to slightly rephrase Francis Schaeffer's old book title) "how then shall we lead"?

P.S. Grace, not only am I REALLY intrigued by your 'hopper' post "Why I'm Not Joining The Emerging Church", I'd also love to put our digital heads together on that one, if you'd like.

If not, I'll just revel in your post whenever it gets written.

P.S.S. Thank God that I clicked "Preview" for once... somehow, my fingers got ahead of my brain and the comment originally said "old boob title". I blame the nakedpastor. :)

Barb said...

Hi, my real name is Barb (aka Former Leader) - yes I decided to come partially out of anonymity. I have been blogging for less than a year.

What I wonder about the most is how to walk out this new life of grace within myself and to those around me....especially those outside the walls of the institutional chuch.

grace, when someone said something on your comment about you hitting the big time, I wondered if that was a good thing or if it would bring all the hateful christians out of the woodwork. Have thought of you often this week. (my way of saying I've talked to the Father about you ;)

robbymac - not sure I'm going to have Husband look at np's last link. 0-0

Robbymac said...

Barb,

Can I call you Barb?

Nakedpastor is a cool guy. We met in "the real world" back in '99 when a band I was touring with played at his church on the East Coast. He and his church are the poster-children for "hospitality".

I wasn't referring to any links on his blog -- just a reference to the recent piranha frenzy he had to endure. :)

Erin said...

Hi I'm Erin and I've been blogging for almost 2 years.

What I wonder is how to best convince people that I hurt in the past with my legalism that I've changed.

Steve Sensenig said...

Hi, I'm Steve and I've been blogging for just a little over 2 years.

What I wonder about is why people continually create all kinds of extra layers around the gospel and then claim to be the ones defending the "true" gospel.

What I also wonder about (if I can have two!) is why I bother even engaging some of those commenters on blogs.

Keep up the great work, Grace. You're a blessing, sister.

Jim said...

Hi, I'm Jim, and I've been blogging less than a year.

What I wonder about is how anyone can read the Gospel and feel safe in their assumptions and comfortable lives? I don't. I am still trying to figure out what Christ is calling me to, but I do hear Him telling me to step out of the boat and onto the water, and it's pretty damned scary.

GIG said...

Hi, my blog name is GIG or Grounded in Grace. I'm a small town pastor and have only been blogging for a month or so.

What I wonder about is how to get rid of the legalism in the church and back to the grace and freedom which Jesus died for. I continue to try and open people's eyes to the unconditional in a conditional world.

Grace, Thanks for this blog. It has been helpful in my own walk and challenges me often on what church is and should be.

sonja said...

Hi my name is sonja and I've been blogging a little bit more than two years.

I wonder about many things
about saints and ships and sealing wax
and whether frogs have wings.

I wonder about how we can learn from history and therefor stop these cycles of hate ... perhaps begin some cycles of grace?

paul said...

Hi Grace, my name is Paul and i've been blogging for about 2.5yrs.

What i'm wondering about is why I often want to be mean to modern chrisitans for being modern chrisitians - the excuse 'cos they were mean to me' doesn't seem to salve the ol conscience as much as it once did.

I appreciated your posters - you inspired me and reminded me of the best of the emergent conversation can be like - i like that kinda hopeful reminder...

I also liked the original set too - as you so graciously put in your post, those words cleary resonate differently with them - i wonder how much i have done to contribute to that resonance with them...

And now i find myself thinking of that line in the prayer attributed to St Francis, to seek to understand more than I am understood...

So all in all thank you for your inspiration and sorry for having to bear the brunt of all the emerging churches many faults :(pl

Catman said...

Hi, my name is Catman and I do not blog, but my wife (Being Martha) has blogged a bit since we left our CLB.

I wonder how I can best live out my life the way that Jesus wants me to. It sometimes seems so hard (but then I wonder if I am making it harder than it should be)....

stephen said...

hi, my name is Stephen, and I've been blogging (poorly) for a few years.

Grace- thanks for the opportunity to introduce ourselves. I've been reading your blog for a while, but I often feel more like I am eavesdropping on a conversation, than participating.

I've been shepherding a small group of people for a year now and I wonder, often, how can we have the right perspective for what we are doing. We've left the traditional church, but many of us are still influenced by it. What's a shepherd to do?

grace said...

You have to know that I am loving this! I can almost envision us all sitting around a table talking over everyone's wonderings in depth.

Robby,
I put the list on this post so that when my mind went blank I would remember what I was thinking about writing. I think that I read all of my future posts today on my blogreader.

If you want to collaborate on something, I'm game. It's too bad that neither of us have time to do some sort of a group blog together. That could be interesting.

Since your last elder/younger post, I have some new thoughts about leadership rolling around also. Hopefully they will congeal into something coherent.

Barb,
You have been writing some awesome stuff. You have a great way of expressing the changes and struggles that occur in this journey, and it is so important that we encourage one another by sharing our experience. Thanks for your prayers.

Erin,
I have trouble believing that you have hurt very many people. However, I am convinced that if they were around you now, that your gracious, generous heart would be evident to them.

Steve,
One of my favorite things about you is that you keep the simplicity of the gospel front and center. We can't always know when engagement will be fruitful. I also suspect that your chivalry gets stirred when you sense an attack. I appreciate knowing I have "big brothers" in the blogosphere.

Hi jim,
I'm not sure if we've met before. I'll be sure to check out your blog. As to the dangerous call, I have to admit that at the moment, I have my hands over my ears, saying "I can't hear you."

Gig,
In the bigger-is-better culture, I think that small town pastors probably have the greatest potential to develop authentic relationships and community in their churches. I pray that your efforts are blessed as you pursue what church is and should be. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts.

Sonja,
I always enjoy your wonderings. I am positive that grace begets grace.

Paul,
I think the tension is the result of the fact that emerging is essentially a move away from a fundamentalist perspective of Christianity. That fact alone is somewhat polarizing.

I agree with you that it is especially necessary for those who are "moving away" to be gracious in our attitudes and responses toward those who still identify themselves as modern, reformed, fundamentalist or whatever word they might use to describe their perspective.

As to the brunt, I haven't borne much, but thanks.

Hi catman. I read your wife's blog. It is a difficult journey, especially at first. After a couple of years, I have come to a place of rest and trust in the fact that, as long as I am a willing participant, God can fulfill and accomplish the things He desires in my life, and that He will connect and place me amongst the Body as He sees fit. I pray for God's presence and grace to be with you as you walk out this season of transition.

grace said...

Hi Stephen,
I'm glad you jumped into the conversation. I would love to hear more about the group you are involved with and what you have learned together. I agree that traditional church is burned into our understanding of church, and changing perspective takes a lot of work. I think we have to just keep learning and growing.

Garet Pahl said...

Hi my name is Garet and I have been blogging (sporadically) for four years. I mostly lurk about other blogs, hoping to inject antithesis when necessary. I apologize for the strident tone in the previous thread, as I was not trying to attack anyone personally (especially you, Grace), just challenge presuppositions. I meant no personal offense. (I think I might be a kindred spirit with Mark Driscoll)

I'm a paradox, loving my Presbyterian Church by day(rock on WCF), and playing bass at a proto-emergent church by night (and hoping to steer the well intentioned "pastor" back towards good doctrine). Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump, sometimes like F.Scott Fitzgerald (reliving the same story repeatedly). Romans 5:3-5 is key to my whole life philosophy. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday helps me understand the book of Job, and answers many of life's mysteries. I prefer not to become I nicer guy, but a new man(in Christ).

I wonder what the Lord has for me next. I'm confident he hasn't equipped me the way he has to fade away into obscurity- or maybe he has? I just wonder what he is up to now... whatever it is, it is bound to be good (Romans 8:28).

ron said...

My name is Ron Cole aka the weary pilgrim. Live on the west coast of Canada, in Victoria, British Columbia. I have been blogging for 6 years.

Grace, I know there has been lats being said about the posters...and still being said. But I just wanted to add, what I really loved about yours were, " they were seeds of encouragement." Images and words, planted in heart and mind to allow the Spirit to cultivate our imagination...to dream like Jesus. You did that...and I thank you.

As for what I wonder. I wonder what would happen if we really caught a glimpse of the redemptive imagination of Jesus. What it would be like to live the imagination...how we would partner with Jesus in building that Kingdom.

Mary said...

Hi! My blog name is Mary, and I've been blogging for just a few months.

One thing I wonder about is how can the Church ever be one when we have so many divisions and interpretations that we are willing to die for.

Grace, this is such a great idea!

Cindy said...

Hi, I'm cindy. I've been blogging about 3 years.

What I wonder is why "I don't know" became an unacceptable answer to theological questions, and how can I learn to say it without alienating others and myself?

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Hi, I am Inheritor (Bill) and have been blogging about 2 years now. I too get tired of some blogs which endlessly argue over doctrine. I much rather read what the Lord is saying and doing with people here and now. How do they process what they read in the Bible and live it out with each other. Because I am a teacher by occupation, I think my writing tends toward writing about what I am learning on the chance the Lord may have someone in the same situation I am in. Hopefully I can be a blessing to someone else with whatever the Lord has been blessing me with.
I wonder what it will look like when the Lord brings the LOGOS and RHEMA word camps in the church together (as Larry Randolph believes will happen).
I also wonder what might be possible if we actually believed that we are a kingdom of priests and a holy nation who have the same power in us that raised Jesus from the dead.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Hey there, my name is Jeff as it says in my comment name.

I have been blogging for 3 years. My old blog got destroyed that was geared specifically for my emergent journey.

I wonder how to continue to show love to individuals and enter into conversations with individuals that hate church but still love Jesus.

My heart breaks and wonder in disbelief at how many people the church has destroyed.

Che Vachon said...

My name is Che, and I've been blogging for 2 months now.
Yep, a newbie. But I'm making up for lost time by devouring plenty of blogs!
What I wonder about:
What does God see when He sees me?
What does God see when He looks at my neighbour?
For all the things He has said that were recorded in the Bible, I wonder what was missed?
What creative endeavor did He engage in after He created us?

I loved your posters, Grace!
They truly were encouraging and uplifting, which I sure appreciate.

And, Ron, we're practically neighbours! I'm on the Sunshine Coast! Happy blogging!

Heather said...

My name is Heather and I'm an addict.

Oops. Wrong forum. :-D

I have been blogging for only a few months at Deconstructed Christian. I'm loving meeting all the crazy people who make up the blogosphere.

What I wonder about the most is why the heck people bother reading my blog. And God's reasoning behind turning my brain and life upside down. And why my children are incapable of keeping their bedroom clean. And whether I do any good in this world or if I'm just kidding myself and God. And the incredibly beautiful people honour me by allowing me into their lives, including those my mother would call apostate sinners. And what God has for me next in this insane, exciting, fantastic, scary journey. As you can see, life inside my head can be really worrying at times :-D

I second che vachon - those posters really are great expressions of what is obviously a beautiful, transformed heart.

~m2~ said...

hi, my real name is penni and i blog over martha, martha and am a devout, left of center Roman Catholic who adores the Sacraments but not so much the legalism.

i am wondering why you took so much flack for your posters as i found them to be truth and inspiring. funny that -- however, were the Gospels not synoptic in that they were different view points of the same event? must it always be a "my way/highway" event?

i am drawn here because you have a sweet aroma, the Spirit of Christ. so i will stay at the table if i am welcomed.

grace said...

Hi Garet,
It's nice to officially meet you. Thanks for sharing a little about yourself. I have to warn you that as you continue in becoming a new man in Christ, and the love of God is shed abroad in your heart, you might turn into a nicer guy. ;) It's inevitable, since God's love is incredibly kind and gracious; and as we allow Him to transform us, we take on His character. (I think I understand you though that the goal isn't just about being a nice guy.) I pray you are blessed in all that He has for you. Obscurity is sometimes the pathway to the kingdom of God.

Ron,
Thank you for your kind words about the posters. They honestly meant a lot to me.
Your wondering speaks to my heart. I share that dream.

Mary,
I wonder if some certain friends of ours will ever come "home" for good, and I wonder (worry) about if we might actually have to put some action to our wonderings if they did. ;)

Hi cindy,
That is a great question! As to the answer, "I don't know." :)

inheritor,
I have enjoyed your notes from the Holy Spirit conference. I am sure that your writing and teaching is a blessing to many.
One of the things about this conversation that captures my interest is the move towards recapturing our identity as the people of God. In doing that, we have to also come to understand the power that is available to us by His Spirit.

jeff,
That must have been so discouraging to lose your old blog.
I think if they still love Jesus, it doesn't much matter what they think of churh. As we continue to grow in Him, we are already part of the church, and in time, He will work out in us the specifics of how He wants us involved in a local community of believers.
While I don't hate the church, I have great concern for the systemic issues that allow the kind of hurt and abuse you mentioned.

che,
It's nice to meet you. Welcome to the blog world!
Those are great questions. It is so good to be free to wonder.

Heather,
LOL, I thought the same thing after I read the first few comments. Although most of us could probably finish the sentence with, "...and I'm a blog addict."

I'm surprised you've only been blogging a few months. I was immediately drawn to your voice the first time I visited your blog. You have a great way of expressing yourself, so keep on sharing from that jumble of thoughts in your head.

Hi Penni. I know you. That's a great point about the gospels. There are different points of view to the same event. I think much of the conflict among believers comes from the idea that we must agree completely in order to walk together. You are certainly welcome at the table. Pull up a cup of coffee (serving starbucks gold coast blend this morning, extra black.)

Garet Pahl said...

Grace,
Thanks. I actually borrowed the "nice guy" vs. "new man" from Lewis in Mere Christianity. He makes the point that we may be surprised who we don't see and who we do see on the other side of eternity, for while faith is indeed proven by our works, works do not necessarily prove faith. I receive your admonition, however. :-) Life is messy, and so is sanctification. I sometimes pray like St. Augustine", "Lord grant me chastity, but not yet", regarding many of the sinful attitudes the old man in me enjoys. I think such a mindset persists insofar as we are not looking to be staggered by the overwhelming glory of Christ...

grace said...

Yes Garet, but I prefer messy sanctification to surface-level behavior modification. I agree that it is an accurate understanding of Christ, his glory and his love, that produces within us the willingness to let go of the sins we enjoy.

Garet Pahl said...

Grace,
I don't know if that "but" was necessary. :-) Sanctification is messy. Surface level behavior modification is self-righteous asceticism, not Christ exalting living. If poor men like Ted Haggard would be permitted to live out their struggles, rather then gloss them over with a smile, some of these falls from grace we've seen wouldn't be so embarrassing to Christendom. I agreed heartily with the concept of your last post on this issue.

By His Grace, Garet

"To suppose that whateer God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect." -John Owen

grace said...

You're right, that was a totally unnecessary but. Just sloppy writing, nothing meant by it. I am prone to awkward phrasing unless I take time to seriously edit myself.

Garet Pahl said...

No worries Grace. Hey, I'm an English Teacher and still prone to make mistakes (I've been known to invent a few words too :-P).

My pastor buddy a makes a comment when exegeting certain passages that God always puts his "but" in the right place... unlike the rest of us. :-)

Pam Hogeweide said...

i'm pam and i've been blogging here and there and whenever and however. i wonder :

What would Jesus blog?

Alexander Fear said...

Hi Grace,

Late to the 'conversation' on this post, but I hope not too late for you to read it.

I consider myself being on the darker side of the light, but looking out in hope. I struggle with cynicism much like one would struggle with temptation.

If the church is the body of Christ then I consider myself one of the white blood cells that attacks harmful infections (false teaching for example). Of course, white blood cells do cause inflammation but they are working for the good of the body.

Perhaps this is not my true calling, however it is the only one I hear right now.

How about that for a self-characterisation...

Bill Kinnon said...

Hi,
I'm Bill. What's a blog? And why do you people spend so much time doing it? (Not you, of course, Robbymac. I keep waiting for YOUR next post.)
=8->

BTW Grace. Your prayers were most efficacious. (I love that word!)

andym said...

hi, my name is Andy, I've just found your site (because fo those posters!), and really like what I see so far...

what I wonder about most is that if Jesus was preaching His message today, would I be following His call, or throwing stones?

grace said...

Pam,
The first question might be, Would Jesus blog? Either way, I have no idea.

Alexander,
That was an interesting self-characterization. I can relate a bit. I think it is important for cynics to be cautious of whether there is a redemptive purpose to our "attacks".

Bill,
I think Robby may have dropped off the face of the earth, or perhaps just slipped south of the border. ;)

Hi Andy,
It's nice to meet you. I hope you would still be following Him.