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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Stuck in the middle again


I find once more that I’m a misfit. I don’t seem to be able to cuddle up enough to any particular group or movement to say I am a complete proponent nor am I in any way enthusiastically against any particular effort enough to side against it with any group. I find fascinating parallels between the dispensational movement of the 1800’s and what I can gather of the post-modern movement today. Both seem to have been born out of a reaction to the ecclesiology of the time with both having a very specific condemnation toward the prevailing religious and social attitudes of the day and their political implications. Both claim to offer a very enlightened approach to ecclesiology and bibliology. The founding fathers of both movements were/are not formerly trained theologians however their proponets were/are some of the most well educated theologians of their day. These are parallels I can offer without offending anyone. I will say this much more; I find the extremist or “ultra” proponents for both movements do more to cause division while moderates tend to provoke love and understanding. It appears that moderates tend to place more value on soteriology while extremist are more concerned with ecclesiology yet neither seem overly concerned with theology proper. These are my observations thus far. I find much on both sides that stirs the heart and much that grieves it as well. I am stuck in the middle again and cannot accept nor be accepted by either though I love and care for both. Am I your brother? I claim you as mine. Am I part of your movement? No I am not moved. Will I be converted? I already was.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

First, the bad news: you're supposedly "too old" to be saying these things ;-)

Second, the good news: you're certainly not alone in these perspectives; the "progressive evangelicals" in my overpriced textbooks are saying these kinds of things!

If this is indicative of a new "movement," I think it could be a very good thing. Even though these things come and go, there tends to be great "fruit" at the beginning of them (I'm not calling you a "fruit")

I was talking about this with a good friend who became a Christian during the '70's Jesus movement. It's like these processes provide a new "welcome mat" for those who are curious enough to come in and see what Jesus is up to.

6/02/2005 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Interesting parallel to the post modern and dispensational movements. But I would have to say that their origins come from two different areas. Dispensationalism began with Darby, a somewhat lay preacher and was energized by the Bible Conferences; a pure religious movement.

Postmodernism (if it actually exists, and I know Matt and I still have to hash this one out when I get around to reading Post) began with a dissatisfaction with the results of a broken utopian "modern" promise. Leotard (sp) seems to be the first propenent of a postmodern scheme, a philosophical movement.

Postmodernism is extremely dangerous for the church to accept. (And while many believe dispensationalism is also, it is not as destructive, in my opinion) But if a postmodern exists in America and Europe, then the church has to work in that system. But when and if the church actually accepts the premises of a postmodern philosophy, it will kill that part of the church.

I find it funnny how many Christians are foaming at the mouth for a new era, one in which they can finally work with ease, one in which it will be OK again to be a Christian. And postmodernism may not be as harsh in some areas it will be more harsh in others. For example, evangelism in a postmodern sense (as espoused by Brian Maclaren) will be less harsh. Making authoritive stances will be more harsh.

6/02/2005 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Matt you’ve crossed the line now. Old fruit I can handle but progressive evangelical??? (hehehe)

Pech I will concede on the origins. From what I can gather so far there are those who really are trying to deconstructive every aspect of faith including the Gospel in which case we totally agree. This is bad stuff and dangerous. Most I see are simply willing to revisit previously held doctrine without shame. They don’t really deconstruct anything and in most cases the effort results in better understanding and spiritual growth. Then there are those who are genuinely struggling to carry the gospel to others who’ve accepted the post-modern philosophy of nothingness. These are the ones who seem to have put on thick skin and put their hands to the work. They’re fighting in the high places. You won’t see them accepting any substitute for Jesus but they won’t bat an eye in the face of, what is to me, most vile language. There is no topic off limits to them and they demonstrate complete openness in everything. These guys don’t have it easy at all. They get attacked from all sides. They really seem to have accepted the commission and are willing to sacrifice everything to accomplish it. They are few but great and really need our (well, old fruits like me anyway) support.

6/02/2005 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Yeah, I can see that.

Postmodern mission work will look and taste and smell and feel and sound very different from the modern model of getting up on Sunday morning attending an "event" then coming home and maybe volunteering for the choir during the week. The proposals I've seen could push "moderns" to the edge of sanity.

And whether I like it or not, it appears I will be one of those. I just hope I can accomplish the mission and become what you described. And not to complain, but I was thinking yesterday in my class, God has called us all to loose our lives. I've always wondered what that meant. You hear the scenario of someone coming up to you with a gun and asking if you believe in Jesus and you say yes and you get your head blown off, like the girl at Colombine. But for me I wonder if it may take on more of an emotional loss. "Church" will look so different and it will kill me to know that church in a building on Sunday morning with a song or two and a mediocre sermon will end and literally be non existant. I mean this is "church" isn't it? But then again isn't it in loss we find salvation and isn't this what Christ has called us to do, no matter where we are, "witness" for him (from the same word we get martyr).

6/03/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pech when I was writing that reply to your comment and I was describing those who fight in the high places I almost added that they remind me so much of you.

I think we’re going to have to do laser surgery and carefully cut away then sacrifice some of our comfortable customs while simultaneously guarding the Gospel with all out might. I still find much comfort in the words of Jesus concerning our abundant life and also in the knowledge that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.

6/03/2005 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Which brings up another point. Some have suggested it is more tradition that the PM crowd needs and desires.

BUT it's that laser surgery and sacrifice part that I know needs to happen, but it's hard for me to let it go. I guess because it's security and comfortable. It is known. And the unknown is simply unknown. But where there is faith fear is cast out.

6/03/2005 10:45:00 PM  

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