Politics & The Church

Graph Matt Stone did a Church &amp Politics Quiz that looked interesting, so I took the test as well. My score is plotted on the graph image, which looks to be about the same as Matt’s. The quiz suggests I see the role of the church as primarily a prophetic one. Since my score is pretty much along the midpoint of the vertical axis, I’m in between “Radical Reformer,” a group which would “see a strong prophetic role for the church and combine this with a robust call for political engagement to seek social and political change” and the “Quiet Critic,” representing those who “steer away from a direct role for the church in politics, instead emphasizing the church’s purity by maintaining a separation from the state. From this perspective, the church best shares the gospel by being an alternative community that models Christian love.”

Locking the Doors

flyingtroutmans.uscover.jpg I just finished reading Miriam Toews‘ latest, The Flying Troutmans (US Cover pictured above, Canadian cover below). I was annoyed that I missed the book launch at McNally Robinson. I remembered at 10:00 that night, so I went down there the next day and bought a copy. When I stepped up to the cashier, I asked if they didn’t have any flatsigned copies (they usually do after an author event like this). He checked and was also surprised that they didn’t, but told me I could just bring my book back, “She’s in here often enough.” True, she’s a local author, but somehow I don’t see myself hanging around the bookstore like some kind of stalker waiting for her to appear so I might accost her with pen in hand.

Institutions vs. Collaboration

Book Cover: Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations I read Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody not long ago, and I’ve mentioned it here a few times already. The subtitle of the book is, “The Power of Organizing Without Organizations,” and I must say that it provides some excellent food for thought on the future of the institution contrasted with the power of loosely-affiliated mass collaborative efforts. The word “organization” might be used, but in some contexts it creates an expectation of more formality than actually exists.

Guy Church. Again.

man-outside-church.jpg Yes, it’s come up before in connection with the “feminization” of the church and the drive to get more men engaged. So as Scot McKnight pointed out now USA Today says,

Churches nationwide are fretting and sweating to reel men into their sanctuaries on Sundays.

Women outnumber men in attendance in every major Christian denomination, and they are 20% to 25% more likely to attend worship at least weekly.

In an effort to but male butts into the pews, 121 Community Church has geared everything toward men.

Women are welcome, but the tone is intentionally “guy church” for a reason, says Ross Sawyers, founder and pastor of 121.

“I have read that if a child comes to Christ, 12% of the time the whole family will follow,” Sawyers says.

50 Ways to Define “Missional” – IX

Blues Brothers:  On the Missio Dei. If anyone’s been counting carefully through the previous eight posts, they’ll notice two things. First, there are more than 50 ways to define missional. At least, there are more than 50 posts on the subject which have appeared in connection with the June 23rd synchroblog which got this whole mess going. Secondly, the astute observer will notice that I’ve skipped summarizing one of the posts — my own. I’ll rectify that today, and then carry on with some kind of synthesis of everything else that’s been said in this little adventure. Oh, and my apologies to anyone who’s getting tired of the Blues Brothers image… I don’t normally reuse my post images, but I thought I’d try a unifying image for this series as a visual tip that they go together.

50 Ways to Define “Missional” – V

Blues Brothers:  On the Missio Dei.When I I began a series examining the posts from the recent missional synchroblog in which I participated with a total of 50 bloggers (plus a few unofficial entries), I don’t think I fully thought through the question of just how much material there would be to interact with. Nevertheless, I’m past the halfway mark and most of the major concepts have been introduced already, so we might be able to pick up the pace. We shall see. As I sift through the many posts, I keep thinking back to the missional series I started last summer to better define the term. Like the synchroblog, it was born of a frustration with the misuse of the term that many of us began to observe more than a year ago now.

Picking up the present series where we left off, JR Rozko writes,

50 Ways to Define “Missional” – IV

Blues Brothers:  On the Missio Dei. Last week I I began a series examining the posts from the recent missional synchroblog in which I participated with a total of 50 bloggers (plus a few unofficial entries) in an effort to describe the meaning of the word “missional.” The project was born out of a frustration with the misuse of the term, as expressed by several of us. This was also the impetus for the major series I undertook last summer on the subject. I had left it aside for a while, but am still hoping to revive my work on the topic for eventual publishing.

Duncan McFadzean begins by quoting Mike Frost from Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture:

Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture ..but we church best with those with whom we share a common goal or mission…..In fact I believe that our proper understanding of Christ (Christology) leads us into an appropriate commitment to mission (missiology), which forces us to develop the means of a common life together (ecclesiology).

50 Ways to Define “Missional” – I

Blues Brothers:  On the Missio Dei. When I composed my entry into the Missional Synchroblog, I suggested that of the 50 different responses in the list, there just might be 50 different definitions of missional. Some of the entries have been really top-notch, and make valuable contributions to a rounding-out of the term. While there may be some mildly contradictory views, I did want to explore what the corpus of posts is saying as a whole — or at least to summarize and interact with a few of them. Given the number of posts to wade through, this will probably be a bit of a miniseries, lest I be accused of writing too many loooong posts. We set the stage with apologies to Paul Simon.

“The problem is all inside your head”, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to define “missional”