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God-Notes: “10 Questions that are Transforming the Faith”

09 Feb

[The first half of this post is basically an update on this blog as a whole.

The second half explains and sets up the following series of posts on Brian McLaren’s book A New Kind of Christianity. 

Please plan your post-reading/skimming accordingly… and remember to hydrate. ]

 

As I have made a return to the blogging world, I have been looking for an opportunity to jump-start the conversation on here.  While I’ve wanted a more focused and intentional blog, I’ve found that without a little flexibility allowed on my own end, my blogging ceases function altogether.  I am, after all, a P on my Myers-Briggs.  Like, I’m not even a little J.  So don’t even try to fence me in. [Little sensitive, aren’t we?]  For me, discipline must be interwoven with choice. 

Seriously, when I started the new blog kickoff this past July, I wrote about 30 (!) “half-posts” on various topics.  You see, my idea for the blog has been to discuss “God-language” (i.e., the “notes” of the faith)…. how words are used/misused, why they may need to be re-conceived, etc.  For example, I still have half-posts [as I was apparently only half-inspired] on my hard drive dealing with the following words: 

justification

God

church

symbols

tradition

knowledge

forgiveness

love

emergence

conservative/liberal

simplicity

violence

effort

conversion

success

etc. etc. etc… 

Can you imagine the possibilities for describing how we/the church should begin redefining these terms/concepts?  There’s, like, 80 utterly fascinating blog posts in here.  [Really.  This stuff actually is compelling…. No joke. ]

I know that those of you that know me will immediately point to my oft-failing attention span and my ADHD for not completing…. [wait, what am I doing again?]

….

..

.

[oh, yeah…]

Anyway, the thing is, I’ve got TOO many things I want to say, but I haven’t been sure where to start.  So lately, re-introducing a little flexibility into the blog has been helpful— So, in other words, I can and will continue to blog about all kinds of things, usually somehow connected to faith and theology, but perhaps not always.  Typically, however, I’m still going to put most of my “shared material” through Twitter, and some through Facebook. 

AND, I have some ideas to help me on the focus-end of things, one of which is to label my posts dealing with specific words or phrases as “God-Notes”…. hoping that I’m not taking the metaphor (of language=music) too far.  “God-Diction” just isn’t that catchy, anyway.   So such posts will be tagged as “godnotes.”

HOWEVER…. the original problem remains—- where do I start????


So another one of my ideas is to use a book to begin my posts—preferably one I’ve been meaning to read but have been putting off—thus killing two goal-birds with one productivity-stone.  For this, as well as its relevancy, I couldn’t think of a better book than Brian McLaren’s 2010 work A New Kind of Christianity.  (Even though he’s coming out with a newer book soon.)

Plus, all along the way, I’ll be dialoging regularly with two sources:  First, my good friend Kyle, who has also been meaning to read the book, and with whom I have long-plotted to work collaboratively on a theological project—so maybe this can jump-start that process.  [Yes, my tendency for a lack of follow-through runs deep and wide…]  Second, the church at which I presently work as an interim pastor is beginning a Sunday School class regarding this very book.  While I probably won’t be hanging with them every week (pastors are sometimes busy on Sundays, I hear…) I will be in there every once in a while to get their perspectives on the book.   So, over the next few weeks/months, you’ll not only be able to read my thoughts, but also the insights garnered from conversations with others beyond the interwebs.  You, of course, will be welcome to join the convo and post your comments as well. 

A few points of clarification:

First:  Don’t be expecting a summary of the book.  This is NOT a book review!!  You can find oodles of ANKC reviews by just Googling for it… it’s not a new book, so a book review is a little pointless.  Really, even though I’ll be talking about specific parts of the book, you won’t even really need to have read it, in order to follow along with the conversation…..

Because, as the book is organized into ten questions that McLaren has isolated as key questions that Christians and the church need to ask in order to usher ourselves into this new emerging epoch of history with grace and humility, I will thus simply be trying my hand at taking the baton from McLaren and continuing to ask questions (usually centered around our God-language), and to attempt to offer possible “ways forward,” as he likes to call them. 

Second:  Let it be known that I like McLaren.  There.  I said it. 

Seriously, I have never understood all the controversy.  There are FAR more controversial characters in Christian leadership who are not lambasted with the same level of vitriol as McLaren…for whatever reason he has for some Christian groups become the poster child of everything that’s wrong with emerging Christianity, and frankly, I don’t understand why. 

I say this here to a) admit that I read with a bias (although this a bias of the kind where one so thoroughly relates to what they’re reading they cannot help but connect with it…although isn’t that the goal of most writers?)…. and b) although I don’t expect to agree with everything McLaren says (as if I needed to), and I don’t expect my blog readers to agree with everything I say, THE POINT IS CONVERSATION.  So if you have another perspective or goal, feel free to add your respectful comments.  If you have serious concerns for whatever reason, feel free to post, but I may not answer if it gets too personal.  And if I think the comments are offensive, fuggedaboutit. 

At any rate, the book is mostly a conversation-starter— so if you didn’t like the book or don’t like McLaren, just ignore the source of inspiration and dive into the conversation itself. 

With all that negativity out of the way, I look forward to seeing what transpires!  Stay tuned. 

 

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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in church, theology

 

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