We’ve been having some real fun over at the Missional Tribe. After flinging the doors open a little under 48 hours ago, we have as of this moment 198 users and 82 blogs, where there have been some good posts showing up and some good conversations getting started. The groups and forums are active too, with more conversations going on than I can keep track of.
Last year I wrote a piece for Next-Wave on the theme of Advent. We talked a lot about Advent themes last year as I completed my book, That You Might Believe: Praying Advent with the Gospel of John. I’m not sure yet if there are any synchroblogs planned for Advent this year, but I thought I would start taking up the topic a little eary so it doesn’t catch me off-guard like it so often does. Usually the season sneaks up on me before I know it, but this year I’m trying to think ahead. Unless you’re celebrating by the Celtic calendar, of course. In this vein, I thought I’d reprint last year’s Next-Wave article.
Today we wrap up “Pagan Week” which was held over from last week for the extended conversation I’ve been having with Frank Viola, talking about Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices and many of the subjects it raises. This all follows my own review of the book which ran all of last week. If you’re just tuning in you might want to catch up on part one and part two of the interview; if you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that we’re all sitting around a table in your favorite independent local coffee shop, and have just poured coffee refills as we talked about discerning whether a practice’s origins were good, bad, neutral, or redeemable. As before, Frank and I will converse for a bit an then you’ll get your comments in — as this is the wrapup, feel free to bring up anything we’ve hit in the conversation or in my review so far… I can’t drink too many of those carmel lattes in one sitting, but I’m always happy to hang around and pour another cup of medium roast fair trade coffee. So, back to the conversation.
Last week’s “Pagan Week” has been held over in view of the extended conversation I’ve been having with Frank Viola, which began yesterday, talking about the book and the reactions to it, both the fair and unfair critiques plus the positive reactions. This all follows my own review of Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices ran all of last week. If you’re just tuning in you might want to catch up on part one of the interview; if you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that we’re all sitting around a table in your favorite independent local coffee shop, and have just poured coffee refills. As yesterday, Frank and I will converse for a bit an then you’ll get your comments in. Have another biscotti; try the chocolate-covered one, they’re delicious — perfect with coffee.
“Pagan Week” has been held over in view of the extended conversation I’ve had with Frank Viola, which turned out not to be a brief one-post interview after all. We got into some pretty big questions, which help frame a deeper understanding of his latest book on which he collaborated with George Barna. My review of Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices ran all of last week, during which I voiced a number of concerns with the book and pointed out some strong points. In the end, the biggest caveat with the book is that it’s overly prone to being misunderstood, but can be recommended as a good discussion-starter: just don’t mistake it for an attempt to provide comprehensive answers on each subject it addresses. In no small part, this conclusion fueled my desire to have a conversation with Frank around the book itself. As we did with my Interview with Paul Young (Author of The Shack), the conversation was conducted via email, and I’ve stitched it together in this format. As I said before, just imagine we’re all sitting around a table in your favorite independent local coffee shop. Frank and I converse for a bit, but you’ll get your comments in edgewise a little further on — for now, grab that latte you ordered, pull up an extra chair and pass the biscotti.
The posts and pages of the year have kinda run together for 2007, but it’s time to review some of my posts that stand out from the past year. I started blogging late in 2004, so there’s no “best-of” from that year, but the others in the series are the Top 5 of 2005, twice; the Subversive Year in Review and 2006: The Subversive Year in Review. I began looking through my archives for posts that had stood out, and found slim pickings in the first part of the year… which reminded me that it was a difficult season, so that’s probably where my mental energy went. There was still Songs to Ban from Sunday School and my review of We Will Not be Silent: Music from St. Benedict’s Table, my first attempt at a music review, in which I learned that superlatives should be used sparingly… I probably liked the disc too much to review it properly. Though it’s not my content (video by Robert Scoble), Meet the techie sister behind Vatican’s Website was rather interesting.
The subject recently came up on a mailing list I follow, and then a related item popped up in my feed reader from an unrelated source a couple of days later.
First it was an article on men and church which suggested that men were leaving church, or churches other than Orthodox churches. It proceeds to speculate why by generalizing about what men like and how the Orthodox church provides it like nobody else. The article quotes Leon Podles in The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity and explains,
Some 15 years ago or so now, a friend and I were invited to visit a “biker church” to speak and pray for the folk there. The ministry continues to this day, and is affiliated with the Bondslave Motorcycle Club, and I still see them out and about every so often. I’m not sure if they (still) consider themselves formally a church or a ministry, but I wouldn’t put a very fine point on it. I got the T-shirt when I was there — it says “House of the Risen Son” on it, and yes, we sang “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” (try it sometime). It was a small group that met on the third floor of a 2½-story house in Winnipeg’s North End. While I was there, I snapped a photograph of their pulpit, which I still keep in my Bible-cum-almanac. The image is to me a great example of contextualization. Just seeing the pulpit gives you a pretty good idea where you are… the front forks and wheel from a motorcycle, propped up by two broken pool cues… and a cross hung from the handlebars which frame the podium. I love it, beautifully reflected here in the hardwood floor in front of the characteristically-curtained window.