Friday, November 18, 2005

Freaking Out

That's one of my kids favourite expressions if anyone says something on the strong side. I think there are a lot of Christians who are freaking out over what's being called the emergent / emerging church [sometimes abbreviated to EC]. There are probably a lot of reasons for people's strong, negative reactions to the EC.

I have no problem with questioning the EC.
Questions are good.
Honest questions are how we often learn and grow and sharpen one another in faith and ministry.
We need to question and not just blindly accept what someone else says... no matter who they are.
What I do have a problem with is the tone of some of writings...
...which question a person's relationship with God, because they use words or phrases which may be different than what they use;
...which discount or even discredit a worship / ministry expression which is different than their experience;
...which place a higher priority on "religious trappings", or more often, on their particularly favourite "religious trappings" than a relationship with the Lord;
...which attacks people;
...which argues their position without trying to understand the other person's position;
...which is more about depending the status quo than about being faithful to declare the grace of God in this generation;
...which is more about "apologetics" [I put apolgetics in quotes, because what I am concerned with is not genuine apologetics or defence of the faith, but a so-called "apologetics" that is more about defending a theological system] for the sake of argument, than really trying to wrestle with the questions that this generation has;
...which is ungracious.

I am not saying truth is not important.
I am saying that we are not God.
& whenever we try to create a theological system that explains all of God and all that he does, we have created a box [& it really doesn't matter what size of box it is] & we have put God in it and made him the creation & ourselves the creator.
So ask questions.
& don't FREAK OUT!


j mills said...

Thanks for your articulate reasons to not "Freak Out"!

Just a thought:

I think there is a strong coorelation between your comments on the emergent church and your post below on Jones soda.

Drinking a carbonated main course might not be every palate's ideal but it doesn't mean broccoli casserole in a bottle is wrong, just different.

So, when it comes to flavours of church, I drink to diversity.

michael lewis said...

Diversity is good.

But diversity is not synonymous with ignorance.

However, I find in this "emerging church" (although I'm not sure if that's what I'm in or where what I find exists) much to do about experiencing god, and very little about knowing Truth about God and knowing God, in whatever limited way is possible by mere humans.

And then, for me, it always comes back to a war between subjective and objective, emotional and rational. The subjective emotional type are not into open discussion of anything unless it's affirming only their own system. I can't carry on an informed, intellectual discussion with these people because it's always me personally attacking them. And then I become satan.

But that's all just random comments.

The Righteousness of God said...

I have found Christ to be highly relational. Not always woeing the intellectual nerve in my brain. My heart..not my head is warmed when He and I hangout.
I have found that seeking HIM has been rewarding...scripture says if we seek we find. I believe if the church (us) would quit looking at one another and keep our gaze on the HIM, the one whom we claim to adore - things will be cool. Most cool.
I had a converstaion with a very dear brother this week. Another 'spriritual' brother had railed on him for church running and being intolerant of other brothers and sisters blah..blah..blah. . . and then proceeded to drive scripture down his throat in a judging, legalistic manner pointing at his poor performance. (It is the 'Christian' thing to do of course...God can't look after his know). I stewed on this for a day or did not seem right. Brothers in Christ, pitted and hurt. I went back to my brother and asked if the other brother ever asked this question: (understanding that Christ is our life) "What is Christ telling you to do?" The response was "no". The other question that should have been poised by the hurt brother should have been "Did God tell you to come to me with this it burning on your heart? - can we pray about it"
Curious, we as believers claim to have a relationship with the God of all things...yet we look to law (the Bible) for direction and final word. We apply law we like to manipulate others. Don't get me wrong...I feast on the Bible daily.
What comes to mind is that there is a great deal of "mysticism" in Christianity that we have forgotten or have become uncomfortable with. For me, I choose to be in God's presence...I guess for some believers they are at that point in their journey whereby they choose or prefer to be in the presence of a good book (Bible)

pastor mike said...

Jason said "drink to diversity", but as someone said (I don't know who but I quote him lots) "the problem with diversity is diversity."

Kevin Flatt said...

If “freaking out” means an irrational overreaction, the less of it we see, the better. This kind of “freaking out” is responsible for much of the ungracious tone you point out. It is really unfortunate that this kind of reaction characterizes so much of the “emergent conversation” on both sides. How easily we forget that speaking even the truth in anger (rather than in love, Eph 4:15) can do more harm than good.

On the other hand, there seem to be times when “freaking out” – in the sense of a negative but rational reaction – is necessary. The apostles “freaked out” about false teaching in the early church (Galatians 1:6-9, 2 Peter 2, 1 Timothy 1:3-7, etc.) And, of course, Jesus “freaked out” about the Pharisees on many occasions (Matt 23:2-33, Matt 15:1-9, John 2:13-17, etc.).

Although I have my own questions about and disagreements with elements of EC, I haven’t personally seen anything major enough to justify “freaking out” in either sense.

The trouble is, how do we know when “freaking out” (in the second sense) is the right reaction?

pastor mike said...

I using "FREAKING OUT" in the first sense. You are right, Kevin, in identifying the amount of damage that is done with ungracious words. In a discussion / dialogue among Christians, we need to remember that we are brothers and sisters in Christ - and that doesn't mean that we can beat one another up.
I don't remember seeing "beat on...", "beat up...", "condemn...", "slander...", "reject..." another in the "one another" passages in the NT.

But Kevin does raise an important and valid point about the rightness of appropriate "FREAKING OUT". My suspicision is that the times when it is right to "FREAK OUT" are far less than we think.

Scott said...

Just a question, if the broccoli casserole in a bottle was fermented would it be wrong or still just different?