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!

Frank Viola meets Drew Marshall

drewmarshall2008.jpg Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices I’m busily preparing my review of Pagan Christianity; I’ve got a couple chapters left to read, but already I can tell that my draft post is going to get split up into a brief series, as many have done. This morning though, I took a break from reading the book and listened to Drew Marshall interview Frank Viola (listen online or download). I’m glad I did, as it paints a slightly different portrait of Frank and of the book — or what he’s trying to say through it. I was asked for a thought on it Sunday evening and I suggested that although I would agree with most of what it says, it’s full of pejorative language that I found unhelpful, and wasn’t sure yet if I’d be recommending it. You’ll have to come back for my further thoughts. Others have opined already, including Robbymac, the iMonk, and Bob Hyatt rounding out a few of the loudest “nay’s” with Kingdom (nee Emerging) Grace summing up a more balanced view from her series. Oh, and there’s more from Darryl Dash with links to others. People are definitely buzzing. The thing I appreciated about the Drew Marshall interview is that Frank doesn’t come off quite so strongly opposed to just about everything we do… he sounds more balanced or less… uh, “bombastic,” to use someone else’s word, on air than in print. If you’ve reacted strongly to the book, the podcast might be worth a listen. More thoughts to follow.