Category Archives: Future Church

Book Review: Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church

 
Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its ImplicationsBecoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications by D.A. Carson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brian McLaren calls himself “post-Protestant” and others have talked about our society as “post-Christian.”  I identify as “post-postmodern” and “post-emerging.”  There was a time of several years that, while terribly discouraged with the state of the evangelical church as I understood it, I was definitely in the emergent camp.  My book shelves are still replete with the ruins of that time: books by McLaren, Marcus Borg, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball, Shane Claiborne.  They testify to a time when I was searching.

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The Starbucks Church Retools

Barista Parking

Heralded as the “coffee shop to end coffee shops,” the Seattle giant that spews the caffeinated liquid may be seeings signs of decline.  It would seem that the company known by some as simply “Starbucks” is seeing a loss in market share.  Stores are closing. 

Here in Indianapolis it is obvious that several well-positioned locations have closed.  In at least one case (near the intersection of 96th Street and Allisonville Road), the store operated by the behemoth is now a locally owned small business whose main income is the selling of a drink that is made by grinding beans and steeping those grounds in hot water.

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‘Post’ Because of ‘Un’

It is tough being a Christian.  In fact so many are finding the association with that term so unbearable that they are choosing different roads.  Fortunately some of those detours are simply to shed the term “Christian” and pick up the term “post-Christian.”  Some simply have decided to call themselves spiritual and keep the Bible as their primary reference.  Websites like theooze.com give people who no longer feel comfortable with being in a church building a way to interact and have “fellowship” with other believers.

Unfortunately some turn to atheism. 

It is no secret, and in fact it is something that is stated boldly and directly, that many atheists have had much experience within the church.  If you would take the time to read about atheism and what many atheists care about, you will discover that there is much “anti-church” conversation and specific concerns that the church had turned its back on empirical truth for what they would label as unfounded “truth” that is represented when people read the Bible as a scientific proof-text.

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The Evangelist and the Megaphone

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Let’s face it: the church has a serious image problem.  The blessing of mass media has swiftly been usurped by the ability for any yahoo, myself included, to publish thoughts and opinions for the entire world to read and discuss.  It may be that technology has moved faster than what any of us are able to manage, maintain, and manipulate to send the majority message.

Tuesday Associated Press reported about Tony Alamo, an evangelist who took advantage of young girls and in the name of Jesus sexually abused them and ‘married’ several who had not reached the age of 15.  It caught the attention of international media and was reported on the internet, television, and print news.  I do not know what group of people agreed that this man was actually a messenger from the same God that I worship, but his “ministry” was worth millions (in fact former charges were filed by the IRS claiming that he owed the government $7.9 million).

This “evangelist” was given a megaphone by the media.

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Starbucks Church: A Parable

What if Starbucks marketed like the church? How much would you love coffee then?

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