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Thursday, July 07, 2005

first shot

Since John invited me last night (Thanks John!) to post here I have been thinking about what I would write in my first post. Having been born and raised in East Tennessee I think my experience is fairly unique as this emerging conversation is concerned. So for starters, here are some observations about where I live and what emergents might face. I’ll post a couple of my observations in this post and continue in another.

First, if you use words and phrases with church folk in this area like emerging church, missional, or reaching out in a postmodern world, the responses will range from ‘what is that?’ to ‘you are out of your mind’. These are strange and/or scary terms to Christians of the south. If you talk about Jerry Falwell or James Dobson, people understand you. Mention names like Brian Mclaren or Stan Grenz, and you can expect that they will not know who they are or what they are about. This in itself is not a huge problem. Where the problems arise is when you start explaining who they are and what they are saying. In a heavily fundamentalist conservative evangelical community, these ideas and those who are talking about them are a threat. Anyone who agrees with any or all of the emerging conversation risks being labeled a liberal or heretic. To question the way the church operates and lives out its calling is a no-no here. Why? Because everyone already knows the right way to do it.

The next thing that comes to mind is the war on culture and the divide between secular and sacred. For the most part, anything not directly tied to the church is not accepted as something a good, God fearing Christian should involve themselves in and enjoy. The secular culture and those in are the enemy and need to be beaten back. A personal example here would be music. Many of the Christians that I know would have a real problem with some of the music I enjoy. Many folks in this area even have a problem with Christian music that sounds like secular music. Anything related to secular culture should be shunned and not given a place in a Christian’s life. This leads to great misunderstandings of the people that we say we want to reach out to. I’ve personally had heated debates with family members concerning secular culture and how I think we MUST understand it. The person debating with me thought it mattered little if at all.

Next time I’ll give a run down of church culture and where we are compared to other parts of the country…

or comment in community

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

good start man - proud of you.

7/07/2005 10:47:00 PM

 

Blogger john o'keefe said...

glad to have you bro :)

7/10/2005 01:21:00 AM

 

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