Monday, December 12, 2005

how to have a discussion

Scott McNight at Jesus Creed has recently posted two lists [click on the title for the full article]:

Seven Habits of Successful Emerging Discussions
1. avoid using “emerging” and “emergent” interchangeably:
2. in spite of his readership and influence, try not to equate Brian McLaren’s nonfiction and fiction with exactly what he believes and exactly what that is is exactly what everyone, young and old, far and wide, here and there, believes exactly who considers himself or herself connected to the emerging movement or emergent.
3. learn that not all emerging/emergent churches use candles and incense and other luminaries and other ancient and adapted worship environments.
4. please do not assume that everyone, everyone, everyone in emerging circles is postmodernist in epistemology, or assume that all postmodernists deny truth completely, or assume that postmodernists deny all metanarratives, or assume that metanarratives include the gospel, or just keep saying that emerging folk deny absolute truth.
5. begin using the definitions that have been offered and spoken of so many times that they are patently the obvious place to start:
6. please don’t say that it is hard to describe a group that refuses to define itself, in spite of #5.
7. recognize that the emerging movement and emergent are bigger than the USA and North America, that there are emerging folks all around this globe, and that some of the most interesting missional work is being done in those contexts.

How to Talk to an Evangelical (If I May).
1. Evangelicals are theologically-defined; EMers are praxis-defined. Think about this.
2. Avoid unnecessary verbal offensiveness.
3. Don’t act surprised when EMers say things that are contrary to established lines.
4. Involve yourself in discussion about unconventional ideas.
5. Avoid reductionism when describing evangelicals.
6. Don’t be dismissive with simplistic philosophical terms.
7. Don’t be divisive.
8. Avoid simplistic dichotomies.
9. Don’t be afraid to disagree.
10. Admit evangelicals get things right.
11. Make big proposals do-able.

One of the key things that Scott says is this: [my emphasis]
I appeal to you as a Christian to a Christian to listen to your brothers and sisters long enough to understand how these terms are being used. In Alan Jacobs’ absolutely briliant book, A Theology of Reading, the Christian obligation in reading is to listen because listening is the first ingredient in a hermeneutics of love.

And my appeal is this: that I want to live out what I wrote about in The Jesus Creed; I want to love my neighbor as myself and love God with everything I am. And my appeal is a gospel appeal: I believe the gospel of Embracing Grace articulates a gospel in which the goal of God in working in our world through his love and grace is to create a community (in conversation) of faith that is union with God and communion with others.
It's amazing how many bloggers can't carry on a discussion with a degreee of civility. My heart breaks over those within the evangelical community [I say this, because this is the tribe I am part of] who say they agree with Scott's last sentence (above), but don't live this way; who by their words indicate they are more interested in "being right" than letting God's love and grace live through them.

1 comment:

The Righteousness of God said...

ah common...Fighting, gnawing, bashing, poking eyes out, dishing out pious judgement, bad mouthing, gossiping and always being right is the 'c'hristian thing to do. I AM right or what..or do you want to duke it out behind the prayer room. Oh please...I simply have no time to extend mercy or love my brother there are better things to do - you gotta be kidding!!! (I am)