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McLaren and Dorothy

2008 September 19
by Mike

We’re looking forward to having Brian McLaren on ACU campus next week to speak for Summit (the event formerly known as lectureship). He’s doing some sessions for undergrad and graduate ministry majors and then a couple sessions that are open to everyone.

Someone just pointed me to this insightful piece of his from 2000, called “Dorothy Leadership”:

Okay, I admit it. I spent most of the ’80s and early ’90s wishing I could be just like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, or John Maxwell. They were successful. They appeared unflinchingly confident. They were powerful, knowledgeable, and larger than life. I’d go to their seminars and return home feeling wildly inspired and mildly depressed. How could I feel those two things at the same time? If you’ve attended their seminars, you probably don’t need me to explain.

But if you do need me to explain, think back to the biblical story of David, when he tried to wear Saul’s armor for his battle with Goliath. Imagine that he actually wore armor that was XXL when he was a regular M (or even S) guy. He would’ve come back looking like a partially opened — and partially eaten — can of sardines.

I realize I wasn’t the only one who thought that the best image of the successful pastor was the CEO, the alpha male, the armored knight, or the corporate hero. Thousands of us tried on that armor, and the results — in our churches and in our personal lives — weren’t pretty. Of course, the suit fit some of us (for example, I think that Hybels, Warren, and Maxwell really are XXL’s), but most of us eventually realized that if we were going to be of any use to God, we’d better be ourselves. What a novel idea!

About the time I was reaching that conclusion, I was going through my “postmodern conversion.” I was seeing the pattern or matrix of modernity giving way to a new pattern, and I was beginning to see how my whole understanding of Christianity fit snugly within the modern matrix. I wondered how ministry, theology, spirituality, and evangelism would change as the matrix changed. And I wondered how leadership would change, too.

Somewhere in the middle of these musings, a strange memory returned — the scene in The Wizard of Oz when little Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal that the great wizard of Oz is a rather normal guy hiding behind an imposing image. It struck me that the 1940s world that produced the film was in many ways a world at the height of modernity, a world enamored with Superman, the Lone Ranger, and other great men. It also struck me that by exposing the wizard as a fraud, the film was probing an unexpressed cultural doubt, giving voice to a rising misgiving, displaying an early pang of discontent with its dominant model of larger-than-life leadership. And it made me wonder what image of leadership would replace the great wizard.

The answer, of course, appeared in the next scene. No, it wasn’t the lion, the scarecrow, or the tin man. It was Dorothy.

At first glance Dorothy is all wrong as a model of leadership for that era. She was the wrong gender (female) and the wrong age (young). Rather than being a person with all the answers, who knows what’s up, where to go, and what’s what, she’s lost, a seeker, often bewildered, and vulnerable. These characteristics would disqualify her from modern leadership. But they serve as her best credentials for postmodern leadership.

In the world of Christian ministry, we can identify 10 wizardly characteristics of modern leadership. (You’ll notice the masculine pronoun used exclusively here.)

Bible analyst: The modern Christian leader dissects the Bible like a scientist dissects a fetal pig, to gain knowledge through analysis. And in modernity, knowledge is power.

Broadcaster: Somehow when one amplifies his voice electronically and adds a little reverb, his power quotient goes up in modernity. Being slick, being smooth, being big, being “on the air” — that’s what makes you a leader.

Objective technician: The organization — church or ministry — is a machine, and the leader knows how to work the machine, how to make it run, how to tweak it, and how to engineer (or re-engineer) it. It’s the object, and he’s the subject.

Warrior/salesman: Modern leadership is about conquest — “winning” souls, launching “crusades,” “taking” this city (country, whatever) for Jesus. And it’s about marketing, getting, buying, and selling (and sometimes selling out).

Careerist: The modern leader earns credentials, grasps the bottom rung of the ladder, and climbs, climbs, climbs — whether he’s a stock boy who would be CEO or a young preacher on the rise.

Problem-solver: Come to him, and he’ll fix you.

Apologist: Come to him, and he’ll tell you why he’s right and your doubt or skepticism is wrong.

Threat: One of the most powerful and underrated weapons of the modern Christian leader has been the threat of exclusion. The sword is normally kept in its sheath, but through mocking caricatures and other forms of rhetorical demonization, a gifted orator can make you fear that if you don’t agree with/follow/submit to his leadership, you’ll be banished — like the wizard bellowing threats from behind his curtain.

Knower: The modern Christian leader is — or appears — supremely confident in his opinions, perspectives, beliefs, systems, and formulations. While the rest of us question and doubt, he’s the answer man who knows.

Solo act: There’s only room for one in the wizard’s control booth, and there’s only room for one at the top of the church organizational chart.

When you think of Dorothy, the picture’s extremely different. Instead of sitting pretty in a control booth, she’s stuck in a predicament — still a little dizzy from the tornado, lost, far from home, and needing to find the way. As she sets out on her journey, she finds other needy people (not people exactly, but you get the point). One in need of courage, another in need of intelligence, and another in need of a heart. She believes that their varying needs can be fulfilled on a common quest, and her earnestness, her compassion, her determination, and her youthful spunk galvanize them into a foursome — five, with Toto — singing and travelling down the yellow brick road — together. Dorothy doesn’t have the knowledge to help them avoid all problems and dangers; she doesn’t protect them from all threats and temptations. But she doesn’t give up, and her passion holds strong. And in the end, they all get what they need.

Maybe one of the film’s many enduring delights is hidden in Dorothy’s unwizardly leadership charisma. Maybe people in the 1940s were just beginning to yearn for a way of leadership that now is becoming ascendant — a post-wizard, postmodern kind of leadership. (And you’ll notice pronouns for both genders here.)

Spiritual sage instead of Bible analyst: As we move beyond modernity, we lose our infatuation with analysis, knowledge, information, facts, and belief systems — and those who traffic in them. Instead, we’re attracted to leaders who possess that elusive quality of wisdom (think of James 3:13), who practice spiritual disciplines, and whose lives are characterized by depth of spiritual practice (not just by tightness of belief system). These leaders possess a moral authority more closely linked to character than intellectual credentials; they’re more sages than technicians. It’s their slow, thoughtful, considered answer that convinces, not the snap-your-fingers-I-know-that-kind-of-answer-man-know-it-all-ness. Dorothy has this “softer” authority, a reflection of her earnestness and kindness as much as her intellectual acumen.

Listener instead of broadcaster: In the postmodern world, it’s not how loudly you shout; it’s how deeply you listen that counts. Just as Dorothy engages her traveling companions by listening to their stories and evoking their needs, the postmodern leader creates a safe place that attracts a team, and then she empowers them with the amazing power of a listening heart.

Spiritual friend instead of objective technician: Think of the difference between a scientist objectively studying chimpanzees and a crusader dedicated to saving them from extinction. In modernity a leader loves his organization and loves his ambition, his strategic plan, his goals; but on this side of the transition, leaders love their teams, and those to whom their teams are sent. Or more perversely put — in modernity, I Corinthians 13 would read, “If I have all love and would lay down my life for my friends, but have not knowledge, I am a wispy wimp and a poor excuse for a leader.” Beyond modernity we return to Paul’s original meaning.

Dancer instead of warrior/salesman: In a world plagued by ethnic hatred and telemarketers, every voice adding stridency and sales pressure to the world is one voice too many. Nobody wants to be “won to Christ” or “taken for Jesus” in one of our “crusades,” nor do they want to be subjected to a sales pitch for heaven that sounds for all the world like an invitation to check out a time-share vacation resort. A presentation of the gospel that sounds like a military ultimatum or like a slick sales pitch will dishonor the gospel for postmodern people. Instead think of leadership — and especially evangelism — as a dance. You hear the music that I don’t hear, and you know how to move to its rhythm. Gently you help me begin to hear its music, feel its rhythm, and learn to move to it with grace and joy. A very different kind of leadership, don’t you agree?

Amateur instead of careerist: The root of the word “amateur” is “amar” — to love. Most of us in Christian leadership know that seeing ministry as a career can quickly quench the motivation of love. How can we keep that higher motivation alive? How can Christian leadership be for us less like the drudgery of a job and more like the joy of a day golfing, or fishing, or playing soccer, or whatever…not something we have to do, but something we get to do? The professionalization of ministry will be one of the harmful legacies of modernity, I believe.

Quest creator instead of problem-solver: The man at the top of modern leadership is the guy you go to for answers and solutions. No doubt there are times when that’s what we need now, too. But postmodern leaders will be as interested in creating new problems, in setting new challenges, in launching new adventures…as in solving, finishing, or facilitating old ones. Dorothy does this: She helps her companions trade their old problems (birds landing on the scarecrow, the tin man being paralyzed by rust, the lion faking bravado) for a new quest. Of course this is what Jesus does, too. He doesn’t solve the problems of the Pharisees. (How can we get these stupid crowds to know and obey the law as we do?) He creates new ones. (Seek first the kingdom of God.)

Apologizer instead of apologist: Instead of defending old answers, the new kind of leader will often apologize for how inadequate he is. In modernity you gained credibility by always being right; in postmodernity you gain authority by admitting when you’re wrong (think of the Pope’s visit to the Middle East in early 2000) and apologizing humbly. That kind of humility, that vulnerability, was one of Dorothy’s most winsome — and leaderlike — characteristics.

Includer instead of threat: The only threat Dorothy poses is the threat of inclusion, not exclusion. She basically threatens you with acceptance; you’re part of her journey, a member of her team, unless you refuse and walk away. That kind of leadership strikes me as gospel leadership, and it reminds me of someone else — Jesus.

Seeker instead of knower: Oddly, Dorothy’s appeal as a leader arises from being lost and being passionate about seeking a way home. Does it ever strike you as odd in contemporary Christian jargon that it’s the pre-Christians who are called seekers? Where does that leave the Christians? Shouldn’t the Christian leader be the lead seeker?

Team builder instead of solo act: All along her journey, Dorothy welcomed company. She was glad for a team. By the end of their journey, the lion, the scarecrow, and the tin man have joined Dorothy as peers, partners, and friends. Her style of leadership was empowering and ennobling, not patronizing, paternalistic, and dependency-creating. So effective was her empowering of them that they were able to say a tearful goodbye and move on to their own adventures.

I know, you’re thinking, Why take a silly movie so seriously? You’re right — it’s just a movie. But I find the film’s repudiation of more traditional modern leadership to be fascinating, maybe an early expression of a cultural shift that we’re more fully experiencing today. And ultimately, of course, I find in Dorothy’s way of leadership many echoes of our Lord’s leadership teachings. After all, you can never imagine the great Oz washing his subjects’ feet or booming out, “I no longer call you servants, but friends.”

Maybe some of us are trying hard to be something we’re not. Maybe we’re imitating styles of leadership that are becoming outdated and inappropriate. That’s not to say we don’t have a lot to learn, but maybe the best thing that could happen to us would be to have the curtain pulled back to reveal us not as XXL superheroes, but regular size M men and women. Maybe then, with the amplifiers turned off and the images dropped, we’ll hear Jesus inviting us to learn new ways of leading for his cause.

47 Responses leave one →
  1. September 19, 2008

    Brilliant.

    Simply brilliant synthesis.

    Mike, this is exactly the journey qb’s on, except instead of McLaren, the prophetic voices in my life right now are Neil Postman and Jacques Ellul. But the notes they’re striking are eerily consonant…and resonant.

    Thanks for posting this. McLaren renders the arguments in a wonderfully accessible way, one worthy of sharing with others in our community.

    qb

  2. September 19, 2008

    Wow. Great thoughts — I love it when people put things on my level and that did!

    BTW — you ‘stole’ my title for … whatever it is now that I refer to as “The-Event-formerly-known-as-Lectureship”. Great minds, Mike…

  3. Coping permalink
    September 19, 2008

    May we all be ourselves – or Dorothy, perhaps – in Him.

  4. Ray B. permalink
    September 19, 2008

    It all sounds good on the surface , but it also sounds like another way of saying, no absolutes. It is tragic that we have come to a point in the brotherhood when being cetain about belief and standing for what you believe is considered legalistic and unloving. It is an expression of the highest order of love and compassion to teach with the word of God as the authoritative message from God. But , there it is again . All that authority language. The reason the world is so wacked out is because there is a lack of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The emergent church will not have the answers. Only God in His divine revelation.

  5. Tom D permalink
    September 19, 2008

    In reading this, it struck me that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is similar to The Pilgrims Progress. Thanks for sharing, Mike.

  6. Fatima permalink
    September 19, 2008

    Well, sounds liek Ray B. is “The Knower”

  7. September 19, 2008

    Brian McLaren is a big sissy.

    Did you take the time to type all that?

  8. September 19, 2008

    And just to clarify, that was written with big smile on my face. 🙂

  9. Ray B. permalink
    September 19, 2008

    Fatima,
    Thank you ! You proved my point.

  10. Fatima permalink
    September 19, 2008

    Ray – you proved Mike/McLaren’s point… enjoy your knowledge… maybe it will save you.

  11. Ray B. permalink
    September 19, 2008

    Fatima,
    The knowledge of Jesus Christ will save all who call on Him.

  12. Wes permalink
    September 19, 2008

    Fatima and Ray B.

    Why don’t the two of you just exchange emails and do this somewhere else?

  13. Alex permalink
    September 19, 2008

    Good point Wes. We already have enough “spammers” around here.

  14. September 19, 2008

    qb wonders if there might be some common ground between Ray B. and Fatima, more than either of them knows.

    To wit: there is no question of God’s authority, and no question of Jesus’ authority. My guess is that both Fatima and Ray B. would agree with those two propositions.

    Probably no question as to Jesus’ birth, death, burial, and resurrection, either. qb’s stipulating all of that for all three of us. (Raise your hand if you want to opt out of any or all of those four items.)

    Now, Ray B., here’s a question for ya: how far beyond that – that is, how far into the jots and tittles of derivative Christian doctrine – do you want to go with your certitude?

    Creedally yours,

    qb

  15. September 19, 2008

    Gotta love McLaren. That’s a keeper. Hadn’t seen that article yet. Thanks for passing it along, Mike.

  16. thepriesthood permalink
    September 19, 2008

    vintage McLaren. thanks for sharing. looking forward to hanging out with him among other fellow post-restorationists…

  17. the postmodernator permalink
    September 19, 2008

    Ray,

    Pray tell, where in the Bible does it say the word “absolute”? Or are you reading modern categories back into the Bible, which in turn makes you out to be a modern version of that which you hate?

    you talk of all this “lordship of Jesus Christ” but in reality you want to have lordship over the “divine revelation” by demanding that all interpret like yourself. You make a great Protestant, but fall short of, well, more noble callings…

  18. Geezer permalink
    September 20, 2008

    If I only had a brain …

  19. Fatima permalink
    September 20, 2008

    No qb…. Ray is right. He is the knower. We should not challenge his knowledge. He has all the answers to understanding scripture. We should all gather around and hear his great knowledge.

    “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

  20. September 20, 2008

    Ray: I challenge you to go through your Bible and list all the occasions where God “repented,” changed his mind, in order to preserve a relationship with people. Talk about the absence of absolutes! He is the Chief absolute breaker! “The soul that sins shall die,” he promises. Then he provides a way out for every soul that sins! By the way, that’s called the Gospel.

    I have to offer another reason the world is “so wacked out”…the absence of love from we who claim to be followers of Jesus. No wonder no one wants to hear about our God. We have presented Him as a hardened despot who has no tolerance for wrong-doers. Shame on us!

    I recommend you familiarize yourself once again with Romans 3, particularly vss. 21-26. Praise God!

  21. September 20, 2008

    Geezer, I really did LOL. Perfect.

  22. September 20, 2008

    Well Steve, Sr. I certainly see your point, but even though there are some holdout congregations, I believe the church culture many years ago shifted away from a hardened God to “anything goes”, feeling God’s love will tolerate all things. I count on grace and compassion as much as anyone, but I believe God is also counting on His believers to follow the blueprints He has laid out.

  23. Ray B. permalink
    September 20, 2008

    Well,several of you have proven the point. If anyone disagress or expresses a different view you attack the person. You speak of love and express nothing but bitterness and resentment and harsh scarcasm. We are saved by God’s grace. And those who have been saved by grace should love those who have obeyed the gospel. Not on this blog unless you follow the new gnosticism. Tell the world the good news of Jesus and let them hear the word of God and there you will find the truth that sets men free. Gather around Jesus and His word.Tell them the bad news of sin in Roamans 1 : 18- 3: 23 and then the good news of Romans 3 : 24 – Romans 5. Grace is greater than our sin . The scriptures reveal it. Praise God !

  24. Geezer permalink
    September 21, 2008

    Could someone define false dichotomy and provide an example?

  25. September 21, 2008

    Ray B., did qb attack you personally, or did he pose a question to test the limits of your reasoning? qb

  26. Ray B. permalink
    September 21, 2008

    qb ,
    Nothing wrong with your qestion. I can answer by asking you or anyone else, yes how far ? I have already on several other posts asked where do we begin to cut off where we stand as an absolute, cetainty or whatever word you may want to use. There are some things we can know , or is there? Do we just say that all truth found in scripture is a toss up ? That has been my point.

  27. clint permalink
    September 21, 2008

    1 Corinthians 2
    1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

    Wisdom From the Spirit
    6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written:
    “No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
    no mind has conceived
    what God has prepared for those who love him”[b]— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[c] 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
    16″For who has known the mind of the Lord
    that he may instruct him?”[d] But we have the mind of Christ.

  28. Amy Boone permalink
    September 21, 2008

    This is truly brilliant. I’ve been pondering it for two days now. I think I might try to rearrange a couple of things and head over to ACU to hear him tomorrow! 🙂

  29. Kyle permalink
    September 21, 2008

    I’m not well read on McClaren. Does he have any room in his ministry or theology for the moderns?

  30. September 21, 2008

    Loved this post, Mike. Looking forward to partnering again with you in a couple of weeks. We should talk soon. 🙂

  31. Geezer permalink
    September 22, 2008

    From Wikipedia: The informal fallacy of false dilemma (also called false dichotomy, the either-or fallacy, or bifurcation) involves a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there are other options. Closely related are failing to consider a range of options and the tendency to think in extremes, called black-and-white thinking. Strictly speaking, the prefix “di” in “dilemma” means “two”. When a list of more than two choices are offered, but there are other choices not mentioned, then the fallacy is called the fallacy of false choice.

    Did McLaren encourage us into one looking at things from an either/or perspecitve and neglect a great deal of middle ground? From my limited personal experience (and education) it seems the first point of view he presented might have had some attributes of a straw man. Maybe I need to get out more often.

  32. September 22, 2008

    Sorry, but this is on my heart. While you folks are eating pecan pie, sipping coffee with friends, listening to McLaren and debating how you can be more missional – please, please – at least offer up a prayer for southeast Texas.

    Hundreds of churches met in the dark yesterday, while dozens met in mud-filled parking lots in the heat – while staring at a decimated facility – wondering if their church can move forward.

    I would hope Summit would place these concerns on the top of their prayer list this week. I cancelled my plans to come. I can’t do it while my brothers and sisters in this part of the world are suffering. Sorry.

  33. September 22, 2008

    Very helpful and insightful. Thanks for posting it.

  34. September 22, 2008

    Mike,

    Thanks for sharing–McLaren is so insightful when looking at changing times. Wish some of our wise leaders were that
    thoughtful.

    I am an aspiring Dorothy.

  35. POST-Emergent 2.0 permalink
    September 22, 2008

    Postmodernism/Brian McLaren/Conversation = Good

    Preach The Word = Bad

  36. Ray B. permalink
    September 23, 2008

    Visited with a young man this morning. His girlfiend is now attending the church of Christ with him. He attended a church with her that is a hip-hop church and was not impressed. She now attends the local church of Christ with him and is being fed the word each Sunday.We have several young couples we have taught and baptized in the church where I attend and worship. They come from all kinds of religious backgrounds. They were first touched by the love and compassion of members and then attended and liked the teaching. We had one couple who left us for awhile because we were not exciting enough. They attended a Baptist church and then our local Cowboy Fellowship. They have returned. Said they could not find the truth being taught like they found in the church of Christ. In a recent Bible study , a Baptist friend told about his brother who was walking down the street one day when he heard the a cappella singing inside a Greek Orthodox church and to make a long story short is now a member. Orthodox church not much of a postmodern hip-hop church. Actually they have been the same since their break with the Catholics in 1054.They do not use instruments in worship because they find no authority for such use in the New Testament. Keep hearing about those of the 20 to 40 age group being drawn to the Orthodox church. Many of you are familiar with John MacArthur and Grace Community Church in LA. LA is one of the entertainment centers of the world. John preaches very indepth sermons and they are usaully 45 minutes to sometimes an hour and a half . He said their greatest growth is the under 40 crowd. They have 10,000 in attendance. My point being is that some are still attracted, drawn to where absolutes are taught . Some are not into the postmoderen thinking and lifestyle. The church of Christ has had a long history since the day of Pentecost of being a church of the word. And the benevolent work and acts of compassion have been and continue to be remarkable. The evangelism and works of love and care are all over the world.From people who have been taught the truth from the scriptures. From peoeple who have been born again and are constantly being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

  37. Fatima permalink
    September 23, 2008

    Ray,

    Why does postmodern have to equal poor respect for scripture and Godly truth in your world? Just because a church has a fancy worship service doesn’t make them postmodern. And just because a church of christ sings the oldies doesn’t make them a beacon of truth.

    The difference in church today is that most young people want relationships. They want to be challenged to discipleship and experience real confession. For many, traditional churches don’t accomplish that. Some do, some don’t. Many young people are seeking a radical gospel that’s calling them to something deeper and a change in lifestyle. I just don’t understand your argument. I think your linking two types of people that aren’t the same and making a lot of assumptions of postmodern thought that simply aren’t true.

  38. September 24, 2008

    Josh Linton,
    I never thought I’d see the day when you called Mclaren insightful.

  39. Amos permalink
    September 24, 2008

    Baron – As a young lawyer (which I think I remember you saying from an earlier comment), do you aspire to cap your income at $16,000? Do you hope for more than that? Can you envision making $80,000 or more?

    Are you devoted to the idea that a gifted person in ministry MUST make less than a devoted person in law?

    Why?

    Does a good salary mean they didn’t choose the vocation for love of God? Don’t you suppose there are some making larger salaries who have also had ministry jobs that also paid smaller salaries but gave all they had either way?

  40. Amos permalink
    September 24, 2008

    New low, even for you: “I don’t trust a fat preacher.” So thankful the Catholic clergy all look like Obama.

    You know good and well that some of the money lawyers get comes from people who are making less than they do. Some comes from more.

    A minister making $80,000 (I have no idea what the average salary is) is likely making more than some people and way, way less than other people.

    Paul didn’t advocate not paying a minister. He argued just the opposite. He made a personal choice not to accept support; he didn’t require it of others.

    By the way, really hard probably for most people to hear someone who’s joined the Catholic Church pontificate about clergy greed and/or abuse.

  41. September 24, 2008

    Sounds like Baron is a real “cheerful” giver. Probably just stressed from the lawyer game that takes too much time away from family, long nights and weekends at work, and missed opportunities and ballgames. But, hey, just the things you got to do when you aspire to more than 80k.

  42. Kyle permalink
    September 24, 2008

    I’ve never been a member of a church of Christ where the budget wasn’t published/made available. The church I am currently a member of has copies by the front door. Even Baron could walk in and take a look if it made him feel better.

    I kinda understand where he is coming from. I have some struggles sometimes when I pull into our church parking lot and see all manner of luxury vehicles. But at the same time, I don’t put the preacher in a different category. I don’t believe he should be held to some different standard. In fact, there are many more who are way underpaid than the opposite.

  43. Geezer permalink
    September 25, 2008

    This was originally posted by Mike on 19 September and it is probably getting past its shelf life by now; so please be patient with me for bringing this up so late.

    I don’t know very much about Open Theism. I googled it and read some but feel like I have more questions than answers. Being far from home (and my usual resources) I am hoping some you that are better read than me could provide assistance.

    I have been more influenced by modern thinking that post modernism. I view myself as a person who had a terrible sin problem and thanks be to Jesus I am healed. It is my understanding that probably more than anything else that is why Jesus came.

    I can identify with the already – not yet perspective. I can understand the kingdom is here now, though not in its fullest sense. I can fully support helping others along the way as a very significant role in the Christian walk. And I don’t doubt that that regular church has had its shortcomings – no matter the denomination.

    My question is: How does Open Theism see Jesus mission with regards to sin? I don’t mean to imply their view is different than my own. Perhaps they simply give the squeaky wheel the grease and emphasize a different style of ministry that they see as having been under utilized. Do Open Theists see the man and his sin problem differently than the previous generation(s)? McLaren didn’t mention it at all in the article copied above. But that is just one brief article from several years ago so I don’t want it to completely color my view of McLaren and his theology.

    Any enlightening comments or information would be appreciated. It is almost always good to help out your grandparents.

  44. September 25, 2008

    And by the way, I should perhaps have mentioned that I deleted another comment a couple weeks ago from someone responding to Steve, Jr., for the same reason. That blog reader is also welcome to resubmit it with slightly different language.

    I’ve never asked that readers agree with me. I make my case — sometimes strongly — but then, of course, it is my blog.

    And I expect many to disagree. Even strongly.

  45. POST-Emergent 2.0 permalink
    September 28, 2008

    Please read:

    D.A. CARSON, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church
    Ted Klunk & Kevin DeYoung, Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be
    David Wells, Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World
    David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World

    Evangelicalism ‘reinvents’ itself—in the image of a brooding, angst-ridden coffeehouse culture. Within the McLaren wing of the ’emergent’ church, the simultaneous rejection of propositional truth and Christocentric revelation—-coupled with a suspicion of authority in general-—result in a Christianity that just happens to coincide with the cynical milieu of reality television, NPR-style religious pluralism, and the postmodern fads of the local university English department.

    Preaching the word for an hour gets substituted by a 20 minute, conversation that scratches those itchy ears.

  46. Ray B. permalink
    September 28, 2008

    Post-Emergent ,
    Amen ! Well said. If we begin to doubt and question the absolutes of scripture then the church of Christ will begin a long slide to instability and uncertainty without a message of hope.

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