A very useful article

Rob Bell was for me an introduction to the Emerging Church.  (Despite his saying he is not affiliated.)  This time last year, I had not even heard the term emerging, or emergent (I’m a little sheltered.)  Now the Christian bookstores that are closest to me have at least one shelf each dedicated to the EC….

A friend of mine sent me the following link – and while I have just started it, I know some of you share a similar concern for the material in Velvet Elvis, and would benefit from this read

I’m out of town for a couple days – I am sure we will have plenty to talk about come Friday….


17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenn
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 22:22:37

    Hey Nikk!
    I popped in to read some of your blogging at your old spot and got redirected here. I’ve peeked around and found some interesting stuff. I am looking forward to some interesting and life giving dialogue. I am not technically “in” an emerging church but very much embrace it. Velvet Elvis was, honestly, a breath of fresh air for me when I did my “first” read last spring. It’s not a book you can read through once, more like a lot of meat and potatoes that needs to be slowly digested. I saw that you also read “Blue Like Jazz” and recommend reading Miller’s other book “Searching for God Knows What”.

    Great blog- I’ve added it to my favourites. 🙂


  2. Nicole
    Jan 18, 2008 @ 11:38:18

    Thanks for adding me to your list of favorites – I consider that an honor…

    I don’t rememver recommending Miller’s other book? Maybe someone else did in comments – I have not read it yet.

    What did you like best about Velvet Elvis? Were you concerned with any of the doctrines?


  3. Jenn
    Jan 18, 2008 @ 16:45:48

    In the “Books…” post on Jan. 12 it says that you are currently reading it. Did I misunderstand and you cut and pasted someone else’s tag?
    Off the top of my head, what I loved most about “Velvet Elvis” was the idea of stepping out of the “us vs them” mentality. I have been able to have some really great dialogue and more authentic relationships with people who aren’t serving Christ when I put that aside and just love them and enjoy them. It’s interesting that when I’ve actually not felt like I needed to “defend” my faith, people have been a lot more open to talk candidly about the subject. Most are not turned off by God or Jesus but have had some bad (sometimes awful) experiences with a church or Christian(s) and this has clouded their view of God. So in stripping away my “defensiveness”, I’ve been more effective in sharing the Love. I thought it was so cool that a “witch” continued to felt drawn back to Rob’s church and eventually came to have a personal relationship with Christ and went on to share with other witches!! Jesus was revolutionary for His day and loved the “unlovables”. I think this is what Rob was trying to say with that story. Do I think it was cool that she was practicing witchcraft? No! Do I think it’s cool that this church loved her and welcomed her back anyway? Yes!
    I do still believe that there are absolute truths that the Bible spells out. So for some of what he said, I think there needs to be more detail before I could go yay or nay with it.

    Just my .02.


  4. Nicole
    Jan 18, 2008 @ 18:06:33

    Jenn – I did not notice your email address the first time around – how are you??!!??

    I love what you took from out of VE….

    And, I have finished Blue Like Jazz, enjoyed it, but have not read anything else by Miller.

    Let me know if you get to reading the article I posted a link to – I would love your two cents. I have not got through it -I have a hard time reading at the computer, instead of reading a book…


  5. Jenn
    Jan 18, 2008 @ 22:22:33

    LOL! No problem. Now you know who I really am. 😉 If you enjoyed Blue Like Jazz, I would really encourage you to pick up Searching for God Knows What. I enjoyed it more than the first. I read most of the article you posted. I think that the author of the article is a little off- almost like he read VE defensively, kwim? When Rob refers to his church, it’s important to understand that the bulk of their attenders are either new Christians or newly back to Christ. So what might be outlandish in a “traditional” church works really effectively for people who are trying to work through stuff we assume are “givens”. I don’t know if I’m making sense or not so let me know if you need clarification.


  6. Nicole
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 12:05:09

    Hmmm – I finished the article, and agreed with his conclusions…

    You got my attention though – I had heard a study about a year ago, that explained Bell’s congregation as almost exclusively people from other churches, who were looking for something different – we have different sources perhaps?

    Is your church going in the EC direction?

    Clarification – do you mean that the doctrines appear outlandish, but work, or that the way he does things seems outlandish, but works?


  7. Jenn
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 16:03:31

    In “outlandish” I was referring to the part in the article where he disagrees with Rob not giving everyone all the answers to the questions/fears/doubts that they have on the spot. I think there there are some answers we will get in this life and others we will not. We don’t know what the following weeks and months involved as far as where things went from that night. I think he was just voicing that it’s OK to let people ask questions and voice doubts. Some more traditional churches would never allow this. When I read the whole trampoline vs brick wall analogies, it was an “aha” moment for me. I guess I didn’t read the book in the same mindset as the author of the article. Not saying I read it right and he read it wrong just differently so we took away what was said differently. For example, I completely agree that if we, as the church (referring to followers of Christ around the globe) really embraced living life abundantly in Him, more people would want to learn more and find out what we “have”. When we start to put our box around who God is, he’s not necessarily “God” anymore. He is our man made rules of dos and don’ts. To clarify, I am not saying that there aren’t clear guidelines in the Bible about what he expects from us. The author didn’t include the part about Rob referring to when we pull out a picture of a loved one to show someone else and how we don’t try to convince them why we love them and why they need to love them. It just hit the nail on the head for me. So I can just love God so completely and entirely with all of my being and all that I do and I don’t have to try to sell it to anybody? I took a few days to chew on that point alone. I just found a lot of freedom in letting that go and I’ve been way more authentic in sharing my faith because I’m just living, abundantly, for Him and letting Him shine through that. It’s not about me anymore.

    As far as I know, my church is not going in the EC direction. Actually, I can say that pretty confidently. I’ve been reading and dialoguing a lot with people who, if I had to put them in a category, are “emerging”. Honestly, some of it I leave where I find but a lot of it, the places where the Holy Spirit is really moving, is so exciting! I love the emphasis on community and really serving others the recognition of politics and social justice. I think there definitely needs to be balance and all works is not good but too much “in reach” is not good either, IMO.

    Didn’t mean to be so long. Sorry if this is the wrong spot for this discussion. 🙂


  8. Jenn
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 16:05:37

    P.S. I keep forgetting to mention that your kids are so cute and sooo BIG now!


  9. Nicole
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 19:13:37

    definately the right spot for this discussion…

    I am in full agreement – as far as the EC getting things about loving one another/community, etc right…. I guess I just feel that alot of doctrine is being sacrificed in the meantime – and doctrine is not something that is/is not culturally relevant, but is something that is constant, and true.

    So, you have found it easier to share your faith? (alright – old school way of putting it 🙂 ) Any stories you care to share?

    And – do you have other blogs you want to recommend?

    Thanks for the props on my family – they are busy, but wonderful!


  10. susan
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 20:24:03

    oooh good discussion.

    the only thing i have in my brain in regards to all these lovely thoughts i have just read is this: (and Nikk this will be old for you since we talked about this on sunday) Right Doctrine and Right living cannot be separated.

    they go hand in hand.

    i know this doesn’t seem to happen in most churches….. as humans we seem to swing from one extreme to the next… super-conservative doctrine and not a lot of community/social justice/authenticity/etc or really liberal doctrine and tons of social justice/community/etc.

    how can we begin to change what we see not ‘measuring up’ to how God desires us to live in our communities, churches, etc? practical advice anyone???? i know for me it means knowing Jesus more intimately, studying my bible and praying and becoming more faithful that way…. but do you have any practical ideas for a church community? what can we do or pray- specifically – to see lives change and become filled with passion for God’s glory??????



  11. Jenn
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 20:33:43

    I hear ya- three IS busy.

    I don’t know if “easier” is the best word, I just can’t think of another more fitting one. I am friends with a handful of women who would be considered New Age/Universalist in their spiritual approach. We became friends off of a local forum that I ended up leaving because some of the Christians on the board were really off in their approach to “win over the unsaved.” I really enjoy some of these women and my inclusion in the lump group of Christians was affecting the relationships that were being built. You know, the whole guilty by association? One of the women has really opened up because we can share over a glass of wine. I dispelled the myth that I don’t believe in that and we’ve had some great discussions on politics. What’s fun is sharing how Jesus turned certain politcal stances on end in His day. So instead of thumping her over the head with my bible, I get to share Him in whatever topic comes up. It’s not like it happens in every conversation (that doesn’t happen with my Christian friends either) but it’s just a different approach than I’ve used before. Not all people who believe in the EC or a part of them are putting out all of the doctrine. Again, major misconception. In what I’ve been reading, some are just changing the approach because alot of what has been done in the past isn’t working. For me, Truth is Truth but how we share that, how we approach people and love them can change to go back to the roots of how it was originally done- make sense?

    A few blogs that I enjoy and have really got me thinking-


    to name a few 😉

    I just started. Okay, I signed up in December and was too scared to write anything, lol! I’m at:

    Loving the conversation. One question- why didn’t we ever do this when we lived in the same city? 😉


  12. Nicole
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 20:36:59

    I needed to grow up.


  13. Nicole
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 20:53:13

    I understand being scared to write – I started a blog recently, to help my friend with her triplets, and I know alot of people from my church have linked to here from there – and I kind of freak out when I check my blog stats – because I feel REALLY vulnerable…. I know it may not appear like I am baring my soul – but sometimes I am, and I would really like to control people’s interpretation of my thoughts… you just can’t clarify quite the same when they are reading something you wrote 3 months ago….

    I love that Mark Driscoll is said to be docrinally conservative, but culturally liberal… I like my tattoos, and riding a motorcycle, and beer. I enjoy halo…. but I also LOVE the truth of the Bible, and discussing what a text means. And, I am learning to lighten up about others….

    I was watching Trading Spouses the other day, and the one woman insisted the other family “needed religion.” She did devotionals with the son, and when she chose how this family that wasn’t hers, got to spend their $50,000 – she had them donate $1000 to a church of their choice. And it turned them OFF. Who wants that kind of judgement? She did not show them Christ. I don’t want to come across like that either…

    We want to plant the seed, and water it, and get the increase, don’t we? We don’t trust the Lord to take the little seed we have planted – showing someone kindness, or truth spoken in love on a tough day – and letting Him find someone else to water it. I know I want to see someone saved That day, That moment… We think that anything short of signing a sinner’s prayer card with them is useless.

    I need to trust the results to the Lord, and allow Him to receive all the glory. I need to plant seeds on the rocks, and the good soil, and even in the thorns… and trust He will meet the eternal needs of those around me.

    Susan, you know I love this verse “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assinged to him, and to which God has called him.” 1 Corinthians 7:17 I need to re-focus on that…..


  14. Jenn
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 21:23:09

    Sorry, Susan, I totally scrolled over your comment and just noticed it now.
    To answer your question about what the church can do, I think we need to evaluate the “whys” in some of the things we are doing. I’ll use VBS as an example. (not opposed to it just the first example to pop in my head) Are we doing it because it is effective and we are actually reaching out into the community or doing it because we always have?
    Nic, I saw that Trading Spouses, too, a while back. I wanted to bang my head on a brick wall watching her…..
    On your point about wanting to plant the seed, water it and see the increase, yeah when we view other’s salvation as part of our job we totally take away from the fact that God has His hand on the whole thing. Our pride wants it to somehow be our involvement that “seals the deal”. So much more liberating to totally leave it with God and just love our neighbour as ourselves.


  15. Jenn
    Jan 19, 2008 @ 22:13:22

    Blog question- do I have to get a blogger’s permission before I add them to my blog roll? What are proper blog manners?


  16. Nicole
    Jan 20, 2008 @ 12:26:12

    I think you are supposed to ask? I didn’t ask you though 🙂 I can’t imagine too many people saying no – unless the heading of your blogroll is “people who I think are idiots”, or something like that…

    My blogroll is not even all people I agree with – some are people I have great discussions with, even if we don’t see eye to eye.


  17. Jenn
    Jan 20, 2008 @ 14:03:33

    Awww, my first time being added to someone’s blog roll ((blush)). I will add you to mine and get started on asking permission of those that I like. I forgot in my earlier list that Molly at adventuresinmercy.wordpress.com is an incredibly thoughtful blogger as well. I’m a committed lurker there. 😉


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