Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Come to the New Tony Jones Blog

I have moved my blog here: http://blog.tonyj.net. Please come and visit.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Different Versions of Christianity

So here's my thought on the Driscoll fiasco that everyone keeps asking me about. Doug had a great quote in the CT article on Mark. He said, "I think that we're basically talking about two different versions of Christianity." With this, I think, Mark would agree.

What troubles me about Mark's critiques of Rob, Brian, and Doug, is that he is investigating the minutiae, the fine print, the footnotes. It's almost like the scribes that Jesus constantly dealt with -- those who kept trying to trap him in his own words (while ignoring the overall gospel that he was promoting). Mark doesn't like that Brian footnotes a book called The Scandal of the Cross, that Rob recommends the philosophy of Ken Wilbur, that Doug has one line about our need to find "new ways to be sexual." Once, at lunch with me, John Piper had a similar concern: that Brian endorsed Steve Chalke's book, a book that in one line reiterates a view of penal substitutionary atonement held by many feminist theologians for three decades. (Please, read Chalke's book -- the rest of it really isn't about denigrating your sacred theory of propitiation. Most people I meet have heard one line of Chalke's book, but haven't actually read the book.)

This kind of argument is tenuous at best. Criticizing folks for who they read, who they footnote, and who they endorse is not particularly persuasive, methinks. I'd much rather have Driscoll and Piper say, "We're promoting a very different version of the faith than the emergent folks. Let's look at the big picture of what they're saying versus the big picture of what we're saying."

I'm sure that I'll take some flack for implying in a sermon last Sunday that John MacArthur is a soft gnostic (I happen to think that 90% of Americans are soft gnostics, just as I think that 90% of Americans are semi-pelagians). I am talking about the overall Christianity that Johnny Mac is espousing -- I think that it's too platonic, and that it neglects hebraic holism -- the water that Jesus swam in. I don't really care if Johnny Mac (or Piper or Driscoll) reads Paula White, Jonathan Edwards, or Karl Marx. I'm most interested in the overall theology that he's espousing. I do, indeed, think that it's very different from the version that I'm espousing.

And I sure do appreciate the folks who keep inviting me to come and talk about it. They may not like it, they may not agree with it, but they should at least have the opportunity to hear about it.

That's all.

Don't Mess with Texas

As usual, I had a great time in Texas last weekend. I mean it, a truly great time. First off, I wasn't at hotel, but had the honor of my auntie-in-laws' hospitality -- thanks Johanna and Kathy.

On Sunday morning I preaching at UBC-Waco. I love that church. I got to hang out with Ben, Dave (who says he's going to endorse my book), and Josh, as well as others. You can listen to my sermon here -- if you do, you might find something really juicy that you could blog about...

After worship, Josh and I met up with Roger Olson, his wife, nephew, and nephew's girlfriend for some Cajun food (Josh is a wimp and had a Philly Cheese Steak). Roger and had I never met, and we had a great conversation.

Then I drove up to Dallas for the inauguration of The New Journey Zero.Com. Seriously, they're going to give Watermark a run for the $$$$. It's a great new new space -- lots of room for large portraits of Jurgen Moltmann.

After BBQ and beers with the Journeyers, I stopped by Jason Mitchell's house for some frivolity. It was genius. Wheels off.

Monday morning, back down to Baylor to speak at University Chapel. I loved it. Great kids, great staff, and a great shawarma sandwich for lunch with some Truett students and UBCers.

And I bought some new boots on my way back to the airport. You'll see them soon.

I'm home for 24 hours and off to The Emergent Gathering this evening.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Community Called Atonement

My friend David Fitch's post on Scot McKnight's new book has reminded me to post on it. As I am the general editor for EV's series with Abingdon ("Living Theology"), I read the manuscript for A Community Called Atonement earlier this year. But, now that it's come out, I've read it again. And, I've gotta say, it's fantastic.

Scot has written an evenhanded, thoughtful, and generous book that brings the biblical narrative to bear on the several theories of the atonement that have been advanced over the past two millennia. And, his postmodernist colors show when he emphasizes the importance of metaphor in shaping our theological imaginations. That bears repeating: how we talk about something heavily influences how we understand something.

So do yourself a favor. Get this book.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Youth Ministry

I'm still in the thick of it in youth ministry, as it seems that my first book, Postmodern Youth Ministry has a long tail. And, I must say, I really do continue to enjoy it. Church youth ministry workers tend to be among the most open-minded, and methodologically progressive persons in the church. In fact, that's what often gets them into trouble.

So, thanks to my recent hosts at the Center for Youth Ministry Training in Nashville and Mid-America Nazarene University in Kansas City.

Hey, Mark

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Time to Talk

As an Enneagram 8, I'm not naturally predisposed to be a sit-around-and-talk-guy. I'm naturally more of a get-er-dun guy. I also tend to not get things done on time -- or, to be more accurate: I usually hit deadlines, but do so by massive amounts of work at the end, and at great emotional cost to those around me.

My frustration around this has been growing, primarily because the number of friends I have has grown. That is, my procrastination is directly proportional to the number of people I spend time talking to. Today, for instance, I have two conversations scheduled with people -- each will surely go over an hour, even though I am already a day late on a major writing assignment. And the thing is, I love talking to people. My life (and writing) is immeasurably richer because of the people I've met, a fact that will be abundantly clear in my next book.

Then, yesterday, I ran across this poem by Robert Frost (a fellow Dartmouth man). It sums up, I think, my feeling, and the emergent ethos:

A Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blogging about People

One of the reasons that I haven't blogged much recently is that much of my life is taken up with meetings.... meetings with real people. I've met with critics of emergent, and fans, talked with some on the phone, met with others in person. And I just don't think it's appropriate to blog about such things.

For instance, I met with Tim Keller last month. We had a great time together (at least I thought so), and I now consider him a friend. And I've gotten several emails and calls asking me to blog about our time together -- some people are jonesing to know what we talked about. But I just can't bring myself to blog publicly about what I talked about over a cup of coffee with a guy (OK, I'll tell you this: Tim had Earl Grey tea).

So there. I guess I've got to find other things to blog about.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Purple State of Mind

Craig Detweiler, erstwhile filmmaker, movie reviewer, and Fuller seminary prof and I went to Fuller together in the early 90s. We've kept in touch since then, and I really admire his work (especially The Duke ;-) ).

Well, he's got a new movie coming out, called Purple State of Mind, and you can see the trailer here. It looks like it's going to be fantastic!

Back Out

So, in the midst of my digestive cleanse, my back has gone out. Twice. I can barely move, barely type, and am falling behind on many writing assignments (including the blog posts I'm planning).