Was Jesus Politically Correct?

I can already hear you responding with choruses of “NO!” and “Of COURSE Not!” Yes, you’re thinking of Jesus overturning the tables and upsetting the status quo, speaking truth to power, and “telling it like it is.” And you’re right, of course, he did all that. But then there were some other times that might be downright confusing from a PC-standpoint. Remember when he was asked if it was okay to pay taxes, and he pointed out a coin with Caesar’s image on it, and said “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”? What about when he extracts a coin from the mouth of the fish in order to pay the temple tax? Those aren’t instances of speaking truth to power, they’re examples of acquiescence. Jesus can be a thorny dude to understand.

The Church & The World in the Decade Ahead

wheat-field.jpg Well, I started out with some prognostication, and then I got distracted, and got back on track regarding my thoughts on The Decade Ahead for the Emerging Church. As I set up my thoughts and predictions (scary word) in that post, I asked three pairs of questions, the last of which was, “where is the world outside the church in all of this? Do they benefit at all, or are they worse off?” And then I pretty much didn’t answer that one, just the other two. This set of questions is fundamentally different because they have to do with the church’s interaction with the world, and are therefore the most important (certainly to the missional crowd, at least). For these reasons, I felt a separate post was warranted.

Jon & Kate Tempt Fate

jon-kate.jpg The idea was brilliantly conceived. Faced with the economic and logistic realities of suddenly having six extra mouths to feed, the two hatch a plan: get a bunch of television cameras to follow them around and film the whole thing for a television show as a way of earning some extra cash. Maybe the plan went over too well. You all know the story better than I, perhaps… family portrayed as devout Christians with a deep faith in God and down-home family values. You can sense trouble brewing already. It’s too much of a setup, isn’t it?

Navigating Changing Times

day-night-transition.jpg I think I mentioned an event coming up here this October featuring Phyllis Tickle speaking on her book The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. I’m one of several people who have been asked to present a workshop and sit on a discussion panel over the course of the one-day conference. At the moment, October 31st seems such a long way off, but I’ve been asked for a topic and a brief description of the workshop I will present.

You mean I have to plan ahead? Oh, of course — I knew that. I fired back saying I’d do something on “Navigating Times of Change” to offer a description of some of the characteristics of liminal space and its effect on leaders and churches. I need to flesh that out a bit further, which will take some digging and reflection to know what’s important to present and what to cut. I think I’ve selected a good topic though, so that gives me a good start.

Recasting the Good News™

goodnews.jpg JR Woodward is about 2/3 of the way through his Good News Series, where he puts a question to 50 bloggers, asking them for an article explaining what the “good news” is — but the article is to be about 500 words and written as though for publication in each blogger’s local newspaper. It’s quite a good series with a variety of responses and approaches posted so far. Today’s post is Jamie Arpin-Ricci in Winnipeg, which is also my city. I found it very poignant and compassionate approach to presenting the good news, opening with the account of a suicide that did feature very recently in our local media. Jamie takes an approach which is not theology-first, something I appreciate and attempted to do as well. My contribution was the sixth in the series. It didn’t generate a lot of discussion, perhaps because it appeared on a weekend, but I thought I would post it here as well now that it’s run on JR’s blog for a while. In the disclaimer that ran with my article, I said that I wanted to write early in the series “to get it out of the way before reading what so many astute thinkers would write so I wouldn’t feel the pressure to come up with anything so profound. This way as I follow the series, I’ll only have to say, ‘Gee, I wish I’d written that…’.” As I expected, a number of such approaches and statements have already appeared in the series. In any event, what I said follows below.

What Does a Post-Christian Culture Reject?

3d-decay-graph.jpg Mark Sayers points to an article concerning a recent survey on Aussie opinions about Jesus: Australians not so sceptical about Jesus, survey finds. Surprisingly, the survey suggests more belief in the historicity and divinity of Jesus than one would expect. Indeed, Mark observes that Stanley Hauweras described Australia as the most secular in the World, and and points to the description of America by some as post-Christian. He doesn’t mention it, but I thought of the recent Newsweek article on “The End of Christian America.” We’ll get to the society that’s less Christian than it thinks — first there’s the one that’s closer to Christian than we all thought.

MORE than four in 10 Australians who don’t consider themselves “born again” nevertheless believe Jesus rose from the dead, while one in 10 doesn’t believe he even existed.

Decline & Fall of the Evangelical Empire

coliseum-megachurch Now and again there comes an issue in this old E/MC blogosphere that begs for comment from those of us with egos ample enough to imagine that everyone else cares what we think about it. Sorry I’ve been a bit remiss on the point, but I’m finally getting around to comment on Michael (iMonk) Spencer’s prognosis for Evangelicalism. Of course I’m not alone in offering a response, but naturally I imagine you want to know what I think. First, I must offer some explanation for the sake of my readers who read no other blog but mine so that I can fill in the back story.

Barack Obama & the Social Pulpit

obama_bbery.jpg The inauguration of Barack Obama last week caught a lot of attention, naturally. It’s the sense of a new day in Washington, DC that Americans are all-too-aware of, and the world is taking notice with the hopes of a renewed, kindler, gentler US of A. Some are suggesting this presidency marks a seismic shift — no ordinary change of power, but a milestone marking a change in the way things are. Obama’s effective use of the Internet in his campaign has been likened to Kennedy’s effective use of television, with Arianna Huffington going as far as to say that without the Internet, Obama would not be president. In many ways, it’s the fruition of Joe Trippi’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Revised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything.