March 20, 2009 / David Fitch

Things that Make You Go “Hmmmmmm”

To borrow a phrase from the early 90’s TV talk show host Arsenio Hall, there are things over the blogland recently that are curious, odd or just plain absurd if we just took the time to think about them. They make me go hmmmmmmmm.

1.)  Chicago is the least churched city in USA? I can’t believe this. But if this is true, how can hundreds of conversions be happening in this megachurch in Chicagoland, along with all the other happenings in Chicagoland, home of some of the most respected megachurches in N America, and Chicago still become the least churched city in U.S.? Either we’re playing musical chairs or this just ain’t true.  It makes me go Hmmmmmmmmm.

2.) Blogging Book Reviews Losing Street-Cred?
Recently Bro Maynard “was discussing blogged book reviews with someone who suggested that there seems to be a dearth of books about which everyone can blog excitedly and/or favorably – at least for those of us in the emerging/missional conversation, and it was wondered whether all the blogging about books we aren’t passionate about was negatively influencing the conversation.” I know I’ve been asked to review alot of books lately on this blog. I’m honored. But I am also swamped. And I have to wonder whether blogging is being absorbed by the marketing machines of corporate publishing. I have to wonder whether people are even reading the blogger’s book reviews now that they are sensing that this is corporate marketing? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

3.) What’s New about Calvinism?
Time Magazine called the New Calvinism the third biggest idea changing the world right now. I just don’t see how there’s anything new here (NOT THAT THAT”S A BAD THING) And I find it odd that (Southern) Baptists became Calvinists, and the attack on the NEW Perspective on Paul (and NT Wright) is somehow called new. I admit I have an axe to grind here. It still makes me shake my head (and go hmmmmmmmm).

4.) Insulting Brian McLaren has never been easy. He’s too charming. But when I read this recently I decided to confess my sin and recommit myself to never talking (or writing) about any one PERSONALLY no matter how badly I disagree with him/her. I recommit to addressing only someone’s writings or their public comments (which are game for conversation and discernment), and to never take a deliberate shot at someone for insult value. Because in statements like this, what’s being accomplished (for Christ)? Again makes me go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. (Thanks to my friend up north for the link)

5.) What Evangelicals Can Teach Rush Limbaugh. When Rush Limbaugh said “he hopes Obama fails” and challenged him to come on his radio show and debate I shook my head.  I thought about a lesson I’ve learned from the pastoral ministry. Never go into an argument for the sake of winning it. Go for the purpose of discerning the Kingdom together. If the mentality is “to win” only guerilla logic results. Especially if you are on the other guys turf which as Christians we most often should be. Unfortunately evangelical churches have little to teach Limbaugh on this score. We often argue in the same pathetic way (even worse since we try to be loving and “Biblical”)  that Limbaugh does and it brings down the church everytime. Who models the mode of Christain discernment more: Limbaugh and his Christain followers, or Obama and his? Makes me sick to my stomach and go hmmmmmmmm.

6.) Kudos to Michael Spencer on an issue I believe will only become more relevant (I have a book forthcoming 2010 The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness). Thanks IM.

Just some thoughts that make me go hmmmmmmmm .

I’m off to Toronto the the Evolving Church Conference to participate and enjoy. Please stop by and say hello if you’re around.