Applying intellectual honesty toward religion, politics, health, and the environment. This is a free and safe space to think, emote, critique and re-examine currently held perspectives. Please join in on the conversation :-)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Responding to My Group's Blog on Emerging Churches

Kenji, the point you raise about students wanting a well structured theology, one similar to what they are used to, raises interesting questions. How much of religion is social? How much of religion is psychological? People feel the need to have well defined boundaries or dogma to which to submit. It seems that most people want to be told what to believe by an authoritative source. You call this need ‘hierarchical mindsets.’ I am becoming more and more convinced that religion is 99.5% social. Those that are honestly asking tough questions, seeking real answers are the exception to the rule, the minority. It seems like most people who are on that type of quest are usually outside the confines of the institutional church.

It is sad that many of the students who come from churches are dogmatic which seems to be due to their leaders approach. Dogmatism is a learned behavior, a disposition that has been modeled by their pastors, teachers and spiritual guides. With this comes the apathy and contentment that destroys a true thirst for learning. What is there to learn when one has all of the answers?

I found it ironic that the family who disowned their child for religious reasons, reconciled once their child’s education was paid in full :-) Very shrewd :-) Kenji, you inspired me with your concluding passion, becoming ‘freaking pissed off’ at your past experiences. Let this be the motivating factor to make the changes that must happen.

Darren, I can feel your pain, your frustration with church and God. I too have struggled with both. At the same time, I am encouraged to know that there are real people involving themselves with the real issues in our world. Fighting child prostitution is no small thing and I can see how a trip to Cambodia could spark a unifying element amongst your community.

Darren, when you spoke of not engaging with other faith traditions, what did you mean? Are you saying that the teaching has only concerned Christianity, or are you talking about something else? Also, I can understand the difficulty of maintaining quality when there is no one person telling everyone exactly what to do (micro-management). Giving people freedom can slow things down, but ultimately I think this is the way to go.


Anonymous Darren said...

re: "not engaging with different faith traditions." I meant that we haven't looked outside of Christianity.
I totally agree on the leadership question, but it's been a tough sell with some of our leadership team (they get it, but it's definitely out of the comfort zone -- both Fuller and previous parchurch experiences have trained some of us to value the pristine over the faithful).

We didn't have to write group responses to the Emerging Churches post (I had to pester Wess to get him to clarify this), but I appreciate the time you put into this. So I'm going to write a response to your Emerging Churches post as a comment under that post.

2/19/2006 3:01 PM


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