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The ramblings, meanderings and stream of consciousness of a middleaged, short guy.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Been reading the blog of a guy in New Zealand (Did I spell that right?). He's a really sharp guy. I respect what I 've read of his thus far. I'm a bit troubled.

I'm troubled by the times when PostModernity is presented as a response to, or reaction from, modernity. I'm even more troubled when writings on it become an 'us vs. them' proposition. Too often I read something and it feels more like the mudslinging of a political campaign, than the articulation, even speculation, of what it means to live in a postmodern world.

Yes, I know. I have been flamed, attacked, libeled, besmirched like many others. I have been accused of watering down the gospel, not believing truth, being (dare I say it) a liberal when it comes to my theology (whatever the heck that means) and on and on. And many, not all, but most of the people spewing their rhetoric and judgements have been people of a modern mindset.

That doesn't mean I return in kind. In fact, I think my best response is to just keep doing what I'm doing the best way I can and not allow those words to influence me positively or negatively. This often means that I can't type for a while, because sometimes I want to tear off their heads and spit down their windpipes. (See, I told you I was a spiritual giant.) The other thing I am determined not to do is explore the mysteries of God and our culture with a view of what I am getting away from. I'm glad to know from whence I've come, but I don't want to live my life as some conscious rebellion to it.

It's late. I may not be making a lick of sense, but let me try to land the plane. I don't want the people I respect, like this guy in New Zeland, or myself for that matter, to live in reaction to modernity. Nor do I want us to become like the people that I don't respect, angry, attacking, pergorative (sp).

I want us to be better than that.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Rob Graham responded to my thoughts, so I post his here with permission. I wouldn't want anyone to form a wrong opinion of Rob (and I strongly encourage you to read his parable at levistable.com).

"Ron - I absolutely think you are right!  I often speak or
write drawing sharp distinctions to slam home a point.  It
confuses people a bit when I then turn and agree with them
on what they thought I was "against", etc., not that I think
that's where you are, I don't.  It's pretty clear you knew
I'd see your point and that you saw mine.

I gave a specific example (Willow) because specifics do
make a point resonate - but the honest truth is I haven't
been to Willow (that's really sad isn't it?!).  But I have
of course been to really big churches with the same approach
but if I'd have said "really big churches" it wouldn't have
sunk home.  Westminster - cool analogy, you make me want to
go back, been there.

Anyway, I really appreciate you dropping a note, your thoughts
are the type that keep me in balance and that's really important.
As John Wimber once said, "Jesus is comin' back for His bride,
and she's a b-i-i-i-g woman."  I hold the paradox, like many,
of loving so many aspects of the various community values (read:
Orthodox; Pentecostal; etc.)while at the same time being thankful
for the screwy little interpretation of practical theology I am
trying to live out!"

Thought this would be helpful.

Grace and Cigars,
I was reading a parable about a microbrew at Levistable.com, written by Rob Graham. It got me thinking about why people visit places like Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, IL, one of the largest churches in ConUS. This is some of what a wrote to Rob in an email:

"I'm not certain that people listen to Hybels or go to Willow to be big, famous and grow up to do shaving commercials. Maybe some do, but that's the whole boomer-wanna-be deal, I suppose. I think that some go to Willow, not to emulate or imitate, but to just stand in a place where God did something big. Too often the closest many of us get to big is in a book, so to at least make a trip to South Barrington and stand where God has been present in a way that has changed thousands of lives is pretty heady stuff. Maybe that makes me silly, or a mystic, or a silly mystic, but pilgrimmage from time to time, just like a little revolution, is a good thing.

If I were to make a pilgrimmage to Westminster in London and stand where Campbell-Morgan or Lloyd-Jones (what's with the hyphenated names?) stood, I'm not certain that it would follow that I would come back to the states and try to reconstruct the chapel. But for me at least, I suspect I would somehow be better for the going. Even if I am simply connecting with a not-so-ancient heritage and asking God to do it again."

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

What does it mean to follow Christ?

The church in Antioch was the first group of people to be called christians. It's an interesting word, it means 'little Christ'. Evidently, these people so resembled Jesus that people named them for Him. In that day and age, it was no big deal to find people who were following someone, even devoted to them and their teachings. But I can't help but wonder if these Antiochans (is that a word?) weren't so radically changed by the love of God in Christ that their character, their words and attitudes, and then finally their behavior resembled Jesus more and more as time went on.

I know, I know, christian was meant as a term of derision. It was a slam against them. But even in criticism and ridicule there often exists a kernel of truth.

I don't know if that's what people see in me. I often wonder if I am really making progress in this journey of faith. I don't mean based on my own observations and feelings, because they can be so skewed, but what I exhibit, demonstrate, live out in front of the rest of the world.

Little Christ . . .

Such a nice label.

I wonder what it takes to be able to wear it with honesty.

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