e-mail: "Why are Emergents so Angry?" [pt.2]

Continuing from yesterday's posted e-mail dialogue...


You said: "I have encountered a great deal of what I like to call subtle hostility from the emergent crowd because of the views I hold as a result of that."

It can be frustrating to "the crowd" when they feel their genuine complaints aren’t being validated. That’s not to say you or other Evangelicals aren’t validating. But defending “orthodoxy” and defending American Christian culture are two different things. Just as in cultural and racial reconciliation, or in family counseling, or group mediation, it’s crucial to acknowledge the felt-needs and/or perceived wounds of the other party. Validation isn’t something conservative Christians like to do. They (I speak from personal experience, as a former-conservative) tend to worry that validation equals endorsement.

I don’t like passive aggression, though, so I have little tolerance for subtle hostility. Several years ago, my wife said, “I wouldn't care if we went to a conservative church, as long as the people were kind.” I agree with her. We don’t go to a conservative church, but I’ll echo Jim Henderson from
www.OffTheMap.com in saying: “Being kind is better than being right.” May not sound orthodox, but I’ll still stand by it.

You said: "I think doctrine is important, partly because Paul and Christ Himself viewed it as important. I think the NT and yes the Old as well attest to that notion."

I think doctrine is important too: it helps us clearly identify where we stand, how we answer certain questions, what we are, and what we’re not. I grew up in all sorts of non-denominational churches, and to be honest, “non-denominational” is either a misnomer, or limiting. A misnomer, because non-denominations are often denominations-in-disguise. And they certainly have some sort of doctrine or statement of faith. Limiting, if there is truly no lens through which to view Scripture. Usually, extremely rigid, literalist fundamentalism emerges when there is no scholarly or historical context through which to approach and understand the Bible. And we all have lenses through which we see, so we’re being dishonest with ourselves when we attempt to “read the Bible as it is.”

More to come on Friday...

3 comments:

Existential Punk said...

Pete, i LOVE what Henderson said and your response:

'“Being kind is better than being right.” May not sound orthodox, but I’ll still stand by it."'

This is where love should and must triumph all other things. Actions should outweigh beliefs. Yet beliefs ought to infuse our actions but we should not be slaves to beliefs. Beliefs ought to be freeing.

i hope i make sense. i am processing this as i write it! :)

Then this caught my eye:

". . .Usually, extremely rigid, literalist fundamentalism emerges when there is no scholarly or historical context through which to approach and understand the Bible. And we all have lenses through which we see, so we’re being dishonest with ourselves when we attempt to “read the Bible as it is.”

From my personal experience with non-denominational, charismatic, Bible-believing/thumping, literalist church, the leadership only used and validated conservative i.e. people like them, scholarship. They threw out all other research and scholarship that is valid and widespread among Biblical researchers. Also, they would NEVER look at and consider mystics or philosophers who have much to offer. i agree it is dishonest to read the Bible as it is. It is also dangerous and violent.

Pete, you REALLY need to make time to read Pete Rollins work. You think so much along the same lines, yet you are more down to earth and not as heady as he is. Not a slam to either one of you. You are both my friends i love but you each have different gifts!

NOW GO AND GET "HOW (NOT) TO SPEAJ PF GOD" and read it. You won't regret it! i promise!

Existential Punk said...

"How (Not) To Speak Of God" is what i meant to type. That's what i get for typing in the dark! :)

Peter said...

Adele, ok ok, I'm logging onto Amazon now... I'll let you know :)

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