The theme for this batch of links is “Questions” — post your answers below, but I warn you, none of them are easy or straightforward!

  • Matt posts a good question at FTM, this one for those engaged in the de/re-construction areas of theology. He asks, “Beyond the things stated in the Nicene Creed (this comes from a recent debate about Dan Kimball’s thoughts in a book), is there anything else that defines a Christian? Is there anything NOT in the Nicene Creed that you might consider ESSENTIAL?” Good questions, would love to hear people’s thoughts on it.
  • Alan Hirsch is trying to answer the question of what he would do with an established church — WWAHD? He offers a good answer, I think, but it’s a difficult problem for many. Maybe one idea for an established church with a lien-free building (like the scenario Alan gives) is to find an church that’s already emerging, and just merge with it. An example of this was mentioned previously, and an update is available for those who take note of such things. I’d be keen to hear anyone else’s thoughts on how to transition an established institutional church into something more missional/incarnational, or emerging.
  • St. Paul’s Collegiate Church is asking whether they can be purpose driven and emerging: “Can you be both purpose-driven and emerging? We say that we are both, but some people wonder if that is possible. I think it depends on what you mean by the terms.” Well, my first impulse is to want to run screaming from the room, but missional includes “intentional” which is a lot like “purposeful.” St. Paul’s says you can be, and they give a reasoned answer. In a very related vein, Rick Meigs is asking, Is Missional a Church Growth Model?. what do you think?
  • Michael Patton is asking Why are People Leaving the Church? He writes, “It is no secret that the ranks of the Christian church–the organized Christian church–are thinning. People are less and less likely to be involved in local churches for many reasons. The postmodern ethos is partly to blame (or “creditâ€? might be a better word).” Is “credit” a better word? Are the reasons that leavers are leaving as simple as postmodernism? There is also a second part to the post, which asks how to respond to a specific individual who has left the faith. I would want to clarify that leaving the church and leaving the faith are not the same thing. Your thoughts?
  • I remember linking to a lot of Tina Gasperson’s stories on Linux when I ran a whole different blog 5-7 years ago. I recently discovered she’s got a blog that’s on-topic for the crew around here, and she’s asking, Leaders: are you protecting your ministry? She points out that “because we have made ministry into a career path, it is not in our best interests to fulfill Ephesians 4:11-13.” As she notes, they’re in a conflict of interest because actually doing the job ends the job, and the revenue stream therefrom… well observed, and very much along the lines of many of the things I’ve observed and written about here. She says, “As long as this is the status quo in Christianity, we will never see the fulfillment of Ephesians 4:11-13 in the religious institution. This is just one of the reasons why things need to change.” Ephesians 4 also factors into the Jazz Theologian’s the four part series (all pieces very brief) about Jimmy Wales and the leadership for the decentralized concert of ministry that is the church. So, agree? Disagree? Is the way we’ve set the leadership structure of the church inherently doomed to fail? Who’s in charge, anyway?

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