Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fall Travel Schedule

Let me know if you're in any of these towns, and let's get together for a beverage:

September 18-20: Washington D.C. ('Red Letter Christians' Media Day; Emergent Poverty Summit; Emergent Baltimore-D.C. Cohort)

October 6-8: Austin, TX (National Youth Workers Convention)

October 9-12: Santa Fe, NM (The Gathering)

October 27-29: Hesston, KS (Hesston College)

November 1-5: Anaheim, CA (National Youth Workers Convention)

December 1-3: Charlotte, NC (National Youth Workers Convention)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Even More Reformed!

The comments of Anthony here and others at the Emergent blog are not surprising. I've spent a lot of time considering why the conservative Reformed crowd is so concerned about Emergent thinking and theology. I have all sorts of ideas why, but I don't think I'm willing to state them publicly until I think them through some more.

But it's clear that other Reformed folks are friendly toward Emergent. There's the Calvin College crowd (like Jamie Smith), the Kuyperians (like Vince Bacote (see also this)), and even the Barthian-Hauerwasians (like the Ecclesia Project (Geoff Holsclaws is an example). I'm cautioned a lot by these folks not to allow the most conservative forces to define Reformed thought. (But it's interesting to note that in this month's Christianity Today cover article on young people who are joining the Reformed movement(s), there was nary a word about Karl Barth or Calvin College or the PC(USA). The entire article was about the right wing of the Reformed movement.)

The irony may be that I am pretty Reformed in my understanding of God. For instance, I believe that the agency of God is in no way contingent upon the agency of humans. That is, God freely acts however God chooses, regardless of human activity. God may choose to respond to human activity (like prayer), but it is not incumbent upon God to do so. That sounds Reformed to me!

What I find especially disheartening is the clear misrepresentations of Emergent Village that come from the conservative Reformed circles. Those guys say that we don't care about doctrine (untrue), that politics is more important to us than theology (untrue), that we water down the Bible (untrue), etc. I could go on and on. I do wonder about these criticisms, because I just don't hear these sentiments within Emergent. And, I am quite sure that most of these critics have never read a word that I've written.

My challenge to the other Reformed folks out there is to start speaking out. For instance, why doesn't Jamie or Geoff or someone else write a blog post laying out the entire landscape of Reformed thought as it's currently playing out in the American church?

Monday, August 28, 2006


We in Emergent continue to get criticized by the conservative Reformed folks. We're recently been written about at 9Marks, in, I think, an even-handed way.

But my neighbor in Minneapolis, John Piper, has invited folks to his conference next month with the words, "We think the post-propositional, post-dogmatic, post-authoritative 'conversation' is post-relevant and post-saving." I assume this is a jab directly at Emergent/emerging.

Now, I'm quite confident that Piper (or whoever wrote this) has never read a word that I've written, so he must be talking about the work of Brian, and maybe of Spencer, Doug, John and Stan, et al. No matter.

What I find the most disheartening, I guess, is the smartass tone of the line. "Post-relevant"? That's virtually meaningless. And "post-saving"? Is that meant to imply that our message is not the gospel, but theirs is? And anyway, who is the author of salvation? I understand the Reformed doctrine to be that God alone is the author of salvation. If that is so, how can our conversation about theology, gospel, and scripture be less "saving" than any other conversation about theology, gospel, and scripture?

FYI, I've sent emails to several of the presenters at Piper's conference next month, inviting them to coffee. As someone writing a dissertation on a doctine (ecclesiology), I think they'll find me quite dogmatic and propositional!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Twin Cities Book and Art Event!

SpiritOne Arts Center, partnering with the Saint John's Bible,

and Zondervan, the leading Christian communications company,

Host a Special ARTS + FAITH Event

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, August 21, 2006 – Religion today provokes strong emotions, from great loyalty to great misunderstanding. Now a local author and an innovative arts center collaborate to explore relevant ancient and contemporary expressions of progressive and hope-filled faith in a Twin Cities ARTS + FAITH Event:

“The Language of Spirit”

Feeding the soul with an evening of inspiring art, readings and live music

Saturday, September 16, 2006 at 5:00 - 9:00 P.M.

SpiritOne Arts Center, 1128 Harmon Place, Harmon Court #305, Minneapolis, MN. Free.

Special Guest, Tony Jones, Twin Cities author, will be reading from his acclaimed inspirational book The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life (Zondervan). Combined with an exhibit of fine art from The Saint John's Bible, along with other regionally and nationally known artists that includes illuminations from sacred texts and artwork in a variety of media expressing the human search for God.

Jones explains the collaboration, “Along with the recovery of many ancient disciplines of prayer in the Christian faith has come a recovery of visual art. I can’t imagine a better place for a book reading than being surrounded by the beauty of the art that hangs at SpiritOne.”

Tony Jones is a sought after speaker on the topics of theology and the emerging church. He is National Coordinator of Emergent Village, a network of innovative missional Christians as well as doctoral fellow and senior research fellow in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has written several books on philosophy, theology, ministry, and prayer, including Divine Intervention, Postmodern Youth Ministry and Soul Shaper.

SpiritOne Arts Center, new to the Minneapolis art scene, is a resource for high quality spiritual art and the Midwest art dealer for The Saint John’s Bible. Demonstrating its mission to integrate the arts into daily living for positive personal and spiritual growth, SpiritOne's founder and director Vicki Hovde says, “We want to provide a showcase for life-affirming and thoughtful artwork, literature and music that promotes healing and peace-loving faith traditions. We are delighted to host Tony, whose research into ancient spiritual practices is relevant and practical for today’s believers and spiritual seekers." Dyan Westman, SpiritOne's education and outreach specialist adds, “Many of the prayer practices about which Tony writes, such as Lectio Divina, or ‘sacred reading,’ are the very practices that guide some of our artists during the creative process.”

SpiritOne Arts Center helps residential, liturgical and healthcare clients create "sacred spaces for the soul,” and offers workshops, special events and retreats that explore the arts and spirituality. Visit or call (612) 332-1148 for more information. SpiritOne Arts Center, 1128 Harmon Place, Harmon Court #305, Minneapolis, MN. Gallery hours: Wed-Fri. 12 - 5:00 p.m.; Mon-Sat and evenings by appointment. Free parking

Zondervan is the leading Christian communications company in the world. Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, produces Bibles, books, new media products, and gift products from its Inspirio group and children's products from its Zonderkidz group. The world's leading Bible publisher, Zondervan holds exclusive North American publishing rights to the New International Version of the Bible, the bestselling modern English translation in the world. Vist Zondervan on the Web at

Contact Information: Vicki Hovde, SpiritOne director or Dyan Westman, SpiritOne education and outreach specialist @ (612)332-1148