A Conversation with Frank Viola, Part II

pagan-xnity-banner.jpg 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.

A Conversation with Frank Viola, Part I

pagan-xnity-banner.jpgPagan 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.

Pagan Christianity V: A Pagan Epilogue

pagan-xnity-banner.jpgPagan Week” carries on — this week I’m working through Frank Viola and George Barna’s Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. If you’ve been following along, I know that you’ll be expecting to be reading an interview with Frank Viola in this space today, but I’m changing things up just a bit — Pagan Week is going to be held over. The conversation I had with Frank was excellent, and he provided a lot of material in his responses… good stuff, clarifying stuff. I didn’t want to cut anything, so the conversation will be split over a couple of posts… and it didn’t seem right to have a whole weekend between parts one and two, so the conversation will be posted starting Monday. In the meantime, we’re going to look today at three parts of the book I hadn’t planned on covering because they’re not part of the book. But in a sense, they are.

Pagan Christianity IV: Christian Education, the New Testament, & Pagan Conclusions

Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices “Pagan Week” continues — this week I’m working through Frank Viola and George Barna’s Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. If you want to see what you missed, you can catch up with the prolegomena followed by and yesterday’s installment, Pagan Christianity III: Pastors, Tithes, & Sacraments. Today we wrap up the direct interaction with the book as we deal with Christian Education, the New Testament, & Pagan Conclusions.

9. Christian Education (Chapter Ten) & Reapproaching the New Testament (Chapter Eleven). In a section on the youth pastor, the origin of the term “teenager” is given as the 1940s and credited for creating a distinct youth subculture.

Pagan Christianity III: Pastors, Tithes, & Sacraments

Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices Welcome to “Pagan Week” — this week I’m working through Frank Viola and George Barna’s Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. If you want to see what you missed, you can catch up with the prolegomena and yesterday’s post, Pagan Christianity II: Buildings & What Happens Inside. Today we have our sights set on the pastoral staff, the money, and the sacraments.

Before diving in, we’re at the halfway point in my working through the book material and I want to drop a reminder not to draw conclusions until we get to the end. Although I am offering a number of concerns or highlighting my points of disagreement with the book, this is not the full story, and we’ll get there. When we do, I hope to be able to offer some thoughts on how the reactions to the book came to be so strong from some quarters, and why even some of my own objections need to be viewed this understanding as well as an appreciation of the authors’ thesis and purpose in writing. With that material covered, I’ll be able to explain to whom I will recommend the book.

Pagan Christianity II: Buildings & What Happens Inside

Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices Welcome to “Pagan Week” — this week I’m working through Frank Viola and George Barna’s Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. If you want to see what you missed, you can catch up with yesterday’s prolegomena before proceeding. Today we’re going to skip past all that intro stuff and dive in at chapter two… which, so nobody has to ask why I can’t count, is item number five in the series outline.

Pagan Christianity I: Prolegomena

Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices Welcome to “Pagan Week!” This week we’ll be hitting the themes in Frank Viola and George Barna’s Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices, and wrapping up the week by interviewing Frank Viola.

On the whole, the book sounds a lot more Frank than George. No surprise there, as it’s a reworking of some earlier material by Frank Viola and represents a long-time project for him. Knowing the subject matter in the book and the subject matter of this blog, it would be fair to conclude that I am going to land on the same page in most areas and quickly recommend the book. Not so fast… you’ll have to wait for the exciting conclusion for that. I do have some concerns with the book that give me pause. In most cases, these have less to do with the conclusions reached than the manner they are arrived at and the language with which they’re stated… but we’ll come to all that.

That Institutional Church

dusty-typewriter.jpg I’ve previously mentioned Barb Orlowski’s research among people who have left institutional church — there’s still time to participate in a brief confidential survey, and she’s doing a final call for assistance in her study. Noteworthy in this connection is a story on her work in the Winnipeg Free Press with some introductory material on spiritual abuse.

While we’re on the subject of the institutional church and the fallout therefrom, I’m dusting off my keyboard and declaring next week (Feb. 4-8) “Pagan Week” here at Subversive Influence. Monday through Thursday I’ll be blogging through Frank Viola and George Barna’s Pagan Christianity… the series is mostly written now, and you’ll want to tune in and follow along. Following the four days of blogging through the book, I’ll be doing an interview with Frank Viola and posting that on Friday. Lots of discussion fodder for certain!