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.
Tag Archives: Dan Kimball
“There is just so much baggage with that term,” said a friend of mine when asked why she does not call herself a Christian. “I don’t want what I call myself to be a stumbling block for people to know who Jesus is. There have been so many people who call themselves ‘Christian,’ and yet do not live like they are.” This is a clear refrain that I hear over and over from people in our churches who have shed what they consider an archaic term for the more “politically correct” term of “Christ-follower.” The trouble is that it is not just a term that will quickly, if it has not already, become archaic itself, but it is a term that undermines the whole concept of what being a Christian is all about.
And let’s be honest, if the idea is to not offend people then we need to go back to the words of Christ himself. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11 ESV). In other places he explicitly says that people are offended by the truth of God, so any way we try to sugar-coat the truth by our terminology will go stale.
If you call yourself a “Christ-follower,” I hope the following points will help you to reconsider and take a stand by embracing who you are in Christ.
When culling my email inbox this week I ran across this email I got way back on October 27, 2009 from Dan Kimball of Vintage Faith and author of They Like Jesus But They Don’t Like the Church. His reply was to a post (click here) in which I mentioned him in reference to my bleak journey into the heretical world of the Emerging Church. Undoubtedly, that journey started with on of Dan’s other books aptly titled The Emerging Church.
Read your blog about your journey into emerging church world and I found myself resonating and agreeing with your experience. I think I was further down the road obviously, but sounds like we both are thinking similar things now! that’s why I ended up forming origins with Erwin, Rick M. and some others.
Anyway, wanted to just say I scanned through your blog and I appreciated your thinking.
Every story has at least two sides. In part 1 I shared the dutiful reasons for my criticisms. Here is the other side of that story.
I have been on a journey of faith for most of my life. It has been difficult to say when that journey actually started, partly because it had so many eventful stops that have taken me in different directions along the way. Years ago I read The Pilgrim’s Regress by CS Lewis and it was in that reading that I was comforted to know that I was not alone. Although my journey has really not taken me too far from Christianity, it has led me down paths where I have had the honor of rubbing shoulders with people who have challenged me to think very differently about my own faith and who have instilled in me the value of being open to criticism and self-examination.