24 October 2005

Overwhelmed by great theology and practice

Well, I just got back from six days in the Twin Cities with dear friends who also happen to be brilliant theologians and deeply spiritual people (and whose two-year-old son is a non-stop delight). And I was there to learn (at a conference at Luther Seminary) from some of North America's deepest thinkers in Missional Church theology, and I found out the amazing extent to which they're not just thinking, writing, and teaching but doing--helping congregations and church systems to transform themselves and discover and live out their missional vocation in the world. And I got to worship at Solomon's Porch, one of the most creative American Emerging Churches. And...I'm a bit overwhelmed. And incredibly grateful--to my friends, to these Missional Church theologian/sociologists, and to God.

Much more on this later. For the moment, I'm too tired and it's too late.

Peace, all!

4 comments:

Elizabeth M. said...

I hope you post more soon about what you have learned from the deep thinkers.

My son has been wanting to go to church lately, so at his request I've been taking him to an evangelical church, the same denomination his father attends. I find the service so brainless and patronizing that it's almost painful to sit through. I don't understand what the members are getting out of it, but they seem satisfied to be there.

So if there's deep thinking going on anywhere in Christendom, I'd like to hear about it if only to assure myself that it's not all like this.

Mike Croghan said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I will post soon. And if you're really interested in finding some deep, substantive Christian thought, I can recommend some excellent books. Let me know if you're interested....

Elizabeth M. said...

Cool! I'm always up for book recommendations -- whether I'll be able to read everything is another matter, of course...

Mike Croghan said...

OK, let me take a stab. If you want to start with easier reading, you might begin with Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christian. It's written as fiction, but it's really theology, and it's a good intro to where the Emerging Church is going from the starting point of evangelical Christianity. If you like it, McLaren's other books are also excellent.

McLaren is substantive and intelligent, but not necessarily all that deep or original; he really excels as an interpreter of others' theology. If you're up for a deeper, more demanding read in some of the theology that underlies McLaren and the Emerging Church, you can't do better than Missional Church, edited by Darrell Guder. That's the primer on the sort of theology I was learning about in Minnesota.

All of the above take the Bible and Christian orthodoxy very seriously; they are not the product of modern liberal Christianity, but they certainly aren't the brainless type of conservative evangelicalism you may have run across either. Rather, they come from a so-called "generous orthodoxy" that, in my opinion, transcends and surpasses both of those flawed and reductionist children of the Enlightenment and the Constantinian settlement.

Erm. I've started using big words and making sweeping claims. Time to shut up now. :-)