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"How could you possibly desire a relationship with an invisible, all-powerful, all-knowing, loving, supernatural entity where the end game is to make that entity happy? How would you know if you are actually succeeding or failing?"
"I had this friend from Seattle named Mark [Mark Driscoll, who has since distanced himself from the emerging church movement] who was the pastor of a pretty cool church…and I loved the community he had put together. I felt like I could breathe for the first time in years…[Mark had] this reputation as a pastor who said cusswords. It is true that Mark said a lot of cusswords…I think some of my friends believed that it was the goal of the devil to get people to say cusswords."
"Trevor is one of my favorite people. He is my Nintendo buddy. We yell profanities at each other while playing NFL Blitz."
"She [Anne Lamott] is like the only Christian writer who can just drop an F-bomb every few pages, and no one notices."
"This is the echo weblog…It's a place of faith and doubt…It's for those caught dancing in the dichotomy of clubbing and Christianity, and still trying to follow Christ."
"The spirit of emergent is inclusive. We seek to welcome all those who wish to journey with us and enter into a friendship around our shared mission and vision and voice, expressed in our rule."
"Offering title: Homosexuality and emergent churches
Offering description: Many denominations and individual congregations are in active conflict over the issue of homosexuality. How might we create fresh ways to move beyond the liberal -- conservative impasse? I will present themes and questions from queer theory that perhaps could inform Christian theology and church practice. Our session will mostly involve group discussion based on our local contexts and experiences, focused toward ways we can make a better future regarding sexuality, sexual orientation, and homosexuality in our faith communities. I expect that participants will be of diverse theologies and practices regarding sexuality. I will encourage an ethos of hospitality in which all voices are welcomed and respected. The most important outcome of the session will be to cultivate friendships and a relational web of people in emerging churches who care about theology and practice regarding sexual identity. I am a member of Solomon's Porch. I am also an associate professor of anthropology at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. Sex and gender is one of my research and writing interests."
Seminar given by Jenell Williams Paris at an Emergent Church Summer Institute
"I am a Presbyterian (USA) pastor who is extremely frustrated…The problem is I am frustrated and exhausted with traditional ministry and denominationalism. I am sick and tired of the gay ordination issue, and am quite in favor of ordaining people of whatever sexual orientation as long as they are able to make and honor commitments. Yes, I would favor allowing gay people to marry. I no longer know where I fit in ministry. I have come to view myself as an evangelical liberal. The gospel set me free from the racial prejudices of my Southern heritage. It freed me from my desire to judge and label people, and it led me to a more gracious ministry of hope, reconciliation and peace. I love sharing my faith, but it is not a faith that seeks to control, manipulate or coerce. I also love hearing the honest faith stories of people. The end result is I do not know where I fit anymore. Therefore, my question is: what is a person like me to do? I feel pigeon-holed and shackled. How can I create a ministry that is creative, energetic and fulfilling? Thanks for listening, and I hope you will respond."
Question addressed to Brian McClaren on his website (answered below)
"A: First, thanks for your inquiry. I know that many, many people will read it and feel they identify. Perhaps some denominational leaders will also read it and feel a deep frustration that I hear expressed often. You are in my prayers today. Here's what I hope can happen for people in your situation:
1. If it is possible for you to stay in your denomination and faithfully lead and serve, I think you will need to ignore the distractions. You'll need to try to do what you believe is right. You'll need to find a cohort of friends with whom you can share openly and honestly. If your denomination will not permit you to do what you believe is right, you will need to leave.
2. I hope that for people who must leave their current denominational settings, that other denominations will create some 'open space' -- places where there is freedom to experiment without excessive outside interference and control…Perhaps you could find others with similar concerns through emergentvillage.com?"
From Brian McClaren's answer to the above question
"Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality. We've heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say 'it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.' That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think."
"And although the debate has been agonizing, liberals have blazed the trail in seeking to treat homosexuals and transgender people with compassion."
"It's my honest feeling that anyone trying to share their faith in America today has to realize that the Religious Right [conservative Christianity] has polluted the air. The name "Jesus" and the word 'Christianity' are associated with something judgmental, hostile, hypocritical, angry, negative, defensive, anti-homosexual, etc. Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that's distorted and false."
"Want to earn a place on the Colorado Springs…er, I mean, Hollywood black list? Admit your uncertainty about homosexuality as a biblically condemned sin….Given a less than stellar track record, is it really so heretical to think that the evangelical church may be wrong about homosexuality as well?"
"You see no matter what anybody says if Joel Osteen will not call homosexuals sinners with all the misguided confusion (including much homophobia) coming from "the American church" then in my eyes he's a good guy."
Blogger at Postmodern_Theology
"If grace is grace, then where the hell is it in the Christianity of today?"
Blogger at brianmclaren.net
"I would say I agree with most of what Scot shares -- and I would agree that the word 'sin' is not something we should be using -- because it is very misused."
Moderator at Postmodern_Theology
"The problem with the Christian community was that we had ethics, we had rules and laws and principles to judge each other against."
"If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell."
"Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper"
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
"The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."
"It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present."
1 Corinthians 5:1-3
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God."
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
"Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
"I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
"Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord.
"AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
18"And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,"
Says the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
"Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned."
2 Peter 2:2
"Christians must not let the world defile them. If the world sees us conforming to its standards and its relativism, it will not listen to what we say. It will have no reason to."
"The measure of our discord with the world is the measure of our accord with the Savior."
"All of the Christians I meet who are amounting to anything for God are Christians who are very much out of key with their age -- very, very much out of tune with their generation. "
A. W. Tozer
"The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first. That is how revival comes. That must also be true of us as individuals. It should not be our ambition to be as much like everybody else as we can, though we happen to be Christian, but rather to be as different from everybody who is not a Christian as we can possibly be. Our ambition should be to be like Christ, the more like Him the better, and the more like Him we become, the more we shall be unlike everybody who is not a Christian."
"In the absence of the "metanarratives," there are no structures of meaning that transcend personal preferences. In this territory, distinction between right and wrong, good and bad, decent and indecent have not merely collapsed but become irrelevant."
"Those who are cognitively and morally dislocated from worldly culture are the ones who are driven to change it; those who are comfortable and at home with it, who may in the process acquire a sheen of success and of acceptability, are often so beholden to it as to find dislocation from the source of their blessings most uncongenial."
"Because of our deep need to conform, we have in effect allowed pollsters to become our teachers and ethicists, our philosophers and theologians, the arbiters of what the church must model if it is to be accepted and to succeed."
"The follies and fashions of this world are not consistent with godliness, and he who hopes to have Christ, and to have the world too, hath made a great mistake."
"Where one thousand are destroyed by the world's frowns, ten thousand are destroyed by the world's smiles. The world, siren-like, sings us and sinks us."
"I see there is a danger of my being drawn into transgression by a fear of seeming uncivil, and of offending friends. Watch against it."
"Oh the great evil is, that dishonest-hearted people, because they feel it condemns them, lower the standard to their miserable experience. I said, when I was young (and I have repeated it many times in my maturer years) that even if it sent me to hell, I would never pull the standard down."
"For the church to pass over an offense in silence is to deny her claim to be a moral society."
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