Bloggage I Can Sympathize With and More (i.e. With Commentary) #1

A good blog post does not always have to be a post I sympathize with, but it almost always provokes me in ways that further the conversation. Here’s some good blog posts that I mostly sympathize with and why, and some thoughts I had after reading them.
1.) Dunbar’s Number: When Seth Godin says,  writing here (HT here) about “Dunbar’s Number,” that “the typical human being can only have 150 friends” I can sympathize with that!  He says “after that human tribes tend to split.” Once we get bigger the nature of the relationships change. Hmmmmm. Why then do we measure a church’s success in terms of much larger numbers, instead of the times they have split?

2.) On Why I don’t Twit:  I am sorry, but I too just cannot bring myself to join the twittering … My mother told me too many times to quit talking about myself (a bad habit I’m still trying to break). Skye Jethani wrote this excellent post on why he doesn’t tweet and now I am at peace.

3.) Why Pete Rollins is not enough: I like Pete Rollins and for that matter Kester Brewin. I am challenged by their creative critiques of Western church’s cultural captivity to modern frameworks. But in both cases, ‘I feel like’ I’m left hanging, with no place to land, and this is dangerous if you believe God’s work in Christ is about the proliferation of justice in real place and time – i.e. ongoing social relationships. In Zizek’s words, Derridian deconstructionism is always postponing the arrival of the real, the truth. It is “the redemptive promise that is always ‘to come.’ (Ticklish Subject 134ff). We must always be making space for the reassertion of difference and thus we never really land. The proper appreciation of Rollins and Brewer as well as their limitations is expressed well here by Richard Sudworth, to whom Jonny Baker comments here. Bill Kinnon’s post (HT to Bill) is further commentary and Bill is always worth reading.

4.) Scot McKnight on a Third Way for Preaching: I like Scot’s post here that challenges us to see beyond the idea of preaching as the central place for educating believers in the church. He is critiquing Jim Belcher’s book Deep Church which I haven’t read (yet!), but I must, because it certainly is getting alot of good attention. Sorry Jim! but I’ll get to it! I sympathize with Scot when he emphasizes spiritual formation into Scripture must be a total communal weeklong effort. Having said all that, I think both Pagit’s and Belcher’s (from what Scot describes) and Scot’s notion of preaching misses the point. I agree, preaching is not teaching information (traditionalist preaching) and it is not communal discerment (Pagit). Nonetheless, it is a speech act which unfurls the reality of the text by which “truth in brought into being” by the Holy Spirit, and people are imvited into it. Preaching is spiritual formation rightly done within a liturgical context.

5.) Talk about inefficient leadership, but there is something here I am desperate for … what is it? Thanks David Hayward!

6.) Christendom is good? I appreciate and sympathize with counter arguments against Anabaptists for the goods inherent in Christendom. Colin Hansen writes about some of these goods here. Unfortunately I disagree with much of this article. Instead I urge us all to learn about the positives there might be in Christendom from Oliver O Donovan Thanks Halden.

7.) “Youth Groups Ruin Kid’s Lives.” I was once quoted as saying something like that. Now comes Leadership’s piece on the subject. I feel a little better about myself now. (HT Ben Sternke)

8.) Teaching Hope – A practical and challenging engagement with how “hope” is shaped (found here) – by our own Luke McFadden. HT Angela Walker.

9.) Religious Community versus All-Encompassing Community. Chris Smith reviews Jim Belcher’s Deep Church. First of all, Belcher seems to be getting a hearing for his book and I’ve got to get to it. But in lieu of that, I love Chris Smith’s review of it at Englewood, and his distinction of religious versus all-encompassing community. Check it out here.

10.) More Evangelicals Are Leading Their Constituents Into Conversatons about Emerging/Missional Church. Some are productive, some are confusing the issue. I was involved in a great conversation here last week. In my own denomination, at Toccoa Falls College, this one (here, here and here HT Andrew Jones)sounds like its off on the wrong foot? Rob Bell emerging? For all the confusion surrounding the term “missional,” I still think its redeemable with a defined set of theological ‘drivers.’ The term ‘Emerging’ just always seems to confuse things.

Peace DF

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