Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Comments, Links

So I just finished a long session on the web. During this time, I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about theology. Sometimes, the people who care for me the most freak out when I share my thoughts on this subject, but I think it's better that they freak out slowly and in small bursts than all at once when they are older and have weakened circulatory systems.

John del.icio.us'ed a link to a quiz that tells you what ethnicity of Christianity you are. Thank goodness for the Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopedia, or I wouldn't have been able to confidently answer several of the questions. Here are my results:

A representative of your worldview is pastor/writer Brian McLaren

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern. You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.

Emergent/Postmodern 82%
Classical Liberal 79%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 68%
Modern Liberal 54%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 43%
Neo orthodox 36%
Reformed Evangelical 29%
Fundamentalist 21%
Roman Catholic 11%

But of course, when I'm on the web a small detail will cascade into several more hours of browsing. In this case, I noticed that the image above is named "1118092834mclaren_nkoc.jpg" and had to know who this "mclaren" person is, and what "nkoc" means. A Google search showed that McLaren is an influential writer who has heavily inspired a movement known as the emergent church, a movement that is trying to make Christianity as it is practiced relevant to people who grow up in an age dominated by the values like postmodernism. NKOC stands for "New Kind Of Christian", his controversial new book.

Of course, nothing is so simple as that in the crazy world of religion, and I am far from an eloquent enough writer (or maybe just refuse to buy into the nomenclature of any one school) to explain their purpose fully, so here are a bunch of links that can generate more thought and, perhaps, understanding:

My own verdict? That the emergent church doesn't go far enough in rejecting literal interpretation of the Bible, or even strict interpretation of the Bible, although they do this in practice by emphasizing personal revelation and having most of their literature free of Biblical citations. One thing I do like is that their language is much closer to mine, that they stand free of the cultural crutch of Christian jargon; investing in a movement's language always has a calcifying, constricting, obfuscating effect.

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