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On finding like minded Xtians: to Stephen Shields

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  • jbarnhilliii
    Stephen, I recently read some of your earlier messages to Matt Knox, from 2000, particularly message 29. I think I have a very similar background to you. I
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 9, 2002
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      Stephen,
      I recently read some of your earlier messages to Matt Knox, from
      2000, particularly message 29.

      I think I have a very similar background to you. I did a BA in
      psychology in 1990, influenced then by Larry Crabb, and
      evangelicalism. I went to Fuller Seminary from 90-95, completing an
      MDiv in Pastoral Care and Counseling, the irony being that given my
      paradigm shifts from modernity to post-modern thinking, I wasn't sure
      how sensical it was for me to attempt pastoring when I wasn't sure
      myself how to deal with major issues: hell, good/evil, epistomology,
      interpretation of scripture, trinity, relativism, and ethics. I
      ended up going into social work and now teach children with emotional
      disorders.

      My problem: though wading through important books that have helped
      me out (here's a partial list that will help you know who has
      influenced me; Stanley Hauerwas, James McClendon (huge influence),
      Nancey Murphy, Rodney Clapp, Alysdair McIntyre, I CANT KEEP ALL OF
      THIS STUFF ON THE BRAIN! It is sufficiently difficult to incoporate
      this kind of thinking into one's daily practices given its
      complexity, but it is ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT GIVEN THE FACT THAT ALMOST
      EVERY CHURCH I'VE BEEN TO IS STILL FIRMLY WITHIN THE GRIPS OF MODERN
      THINKING.

      Hence, this major dilemma. Neo's conjecturing with Dan about how one
      might take a church into the postmodern era, forgive me, seems like a
      pipe dream. Or is it? If we are truly living at the very beginning
      of a new postmodern era, then 99.9% of churches would seem to be
      still living with modern thinking. So it seems to me that apart from
      a website like this, there are not very many places a spiritual
      schizophrenic like me can go for nurture. Going to a small group
      within an evangelical church feels like going to an intellectual
      torture session. All of the thinking I've tried to rework comes
      rushing back to the door and it hurts. I don't think I can
      adequately defend my own paradigm shift without being so frustrated.
      The upshot: it feels pretty lonely to be a postmodern Christian both
      because it is hard to define to yourself and others exactly what you
      believe, and because there are so few places/churches to go that can
      help.

      I've gone through this for over 15 years. I'm a patient person.
      Reply whenever you get the chance.

      Jim Barnhill
    • Stephen Shields
      Jim Barnhill wrote: ...Hence, this major dilemma. Neo s conjecturing with Dan about how one might take a church into the postmodern era, forgive me, seems like
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 9, 2002
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        Jim Barnhill wrote:

        ...Hence, this major dilemma. Neo's conjecturing with Dan about how one
        might take a church into the postmodern era, forgive me, seems like a
        pipe dream. Or is it? If we are truly living at the very beginning
        of a new postmodern era, then 99.9% of churches would seem to be
        still living with modern thinking. So it seems to me that apart from
        a website like this, there are not very many places a spiritual
        schizophrenic like me can go for nurture. Going to a small group
        within an evangelical church feels like going to an intellectual
        torture session. All of the thinking I've tried to rework comes
        rushing back to the door and it hurts. I don't think I can
        adequately defend my own paradigm shift without being so frustrated.
        The upshot: it feels pretty lonely to be a postmodern Christian both
        because it is hard to define to yourself and others exactly what you
        believe, and because there are so few places/churches to go that can
        help.

        I've gone through this for over 15 years. I'm a patient person.
        Reply whenever you get the chance.

        ss:

        I'm glad you're patient, Jim, 'cause it might take a few years for these
        kinds of churches to become common! I'm looking forward to what others will
        post but let me put a few thoughts out there.

        First is that there are a few online communities that are grappling with
        these issues. This is one. Another is a group in the process of discussing
        McLaren's New Kind of Christian. See

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NKOC/

        and I moderate a group that discusses these issues @

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/faithmaps/

        and I'm quite certain there are others I'm not even aware of.

        Second, I believe it's important to realize that postmodernity's main
        contribution - and some here may disagree with me - is that it deconstructs
        the modernity in Christianity and helps us to open our eyes to something
        deeper. But (and I write with broadbrush here!) the core Christian truths,
        and - more specifically - *reality* transcends *both* the stifling locked
        down, anthropocentric closed system Cartesian epistemology of modernity with
        its emphasis on certainty and steps to achievement, etc *and* the forever
        tentative, ever inchoate approach of postmodernity. Example: Thousands
        and thousands, if not millions, of people who could not begin to define many
        of the words I just used or have never heard of the authors you just named -
        people who couldn't begin to differentiate modernity and postmodernity -
        cause God hugh broad smiles every single day. Find *those* folks! People
        who are real to themselves, real to one another, *open* to being taught by
        God and others! Your knowledge of postmodernism and modernism will aid you
        to *frame* your experience of these people. But that paradigm should never
        be confused with the actual, what we on faithmaps like to call the
        transpropositional **stuff** of real, exciting, dynamic, excruciating,
        challenging, *relationships* with God and with one another! And - if I
        might be so bold - it's these relationships that are most important, even
        when we struggle to attach specifics words to them.

        Love not only covers a multitude of sins, but also a plethora of off-tap
        paradigms!

        Hope this helps!

        Stephen Shields
        sshields@...
        http://www.faithmaps.org
        "tools for navigating theology,
        leadership, discipleship and
        church life in postmodernity"
        over 500 links and articles


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Chris G Criminger
        Welcome to the club Jim :-) As Stephen said, faithmaps is a place where postmodernity is discussed and debated. Then there are a whole host of postmodern
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 9, 2002
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          Welcome to the club Jim :-) As Stephen said, faithmaps is a place where
          postmodernity is discussed and debated. Then there are a whole host of
          "postmodern churches" (just do an engine church to see what emerges :-)
          All I can say is I am tracking with you (and those you have read). Where
          this merry go round ends, nobody knows (except for God :-)

          Grace and Peace - Chris Criminger
          Vallonia Indiana


          ****************************************
          On Sat, 09 Feb 2002 17:52:01 -0000 "jbarnhilliii"
          <jbarnhilliii@...> writes:
          > Stephen,
          > I recently read some of your earlier messages to Matt Knox, from
          > 2000, particularly message 29.
          >
          > I think I have a very similar background to you. I did a BA in
          > psychology in 1990, influenced then by Larry Crabb, and
          > evangelicalism. I went to Fuller Seminary from 90-95, completing an
          >
          > MDiv in Pastoral Care and Counseling, the irony being that given my
          > paradigm shifts from modernity to post-modern thinking, I wasn't
          > sure
          > how sensical it was for me to attempt pastoring when I wasn't sure
          > myself how to deal with major issues: hell, good/evil,
          > epistomology,
          > interpretation of scripture, trinity, relativism, and ethics. I
          > ended up going into social work and now teach children with
          > emotional
          > disorders.
          >
          > My problem: though wading through important books that have helped
          > me out (here's a partial list that will help you know who has
          > influenced me; Stanley Hauerwas, James McClendon (huge influence),
          > Nancey Murphy, Rodney Clapp, Alysdair McIntyre, I CANT KEEP ALL OF
          > THIS STUFF ON THE BRAIN! It is sufficiently difficult to incoporate
          >
          > this kind of thinking into one's daily practices given its
          > complexity, but it is ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT GIVEN THE FACT THAT
          > ALMOST
          > EVERY CHURCH I'VE BEEN TO IS STILL FIRMLY WITHIN THE GRIPS OF MODERN
          >
          > THINKING.
          >
          > Hence, this major dilemma. Neo's conjecturing with Dan about how one
          >
          > might take a church into the postmodern era, forgive me, seems like
          > a
          > pipe dream. Or is it? If we are truly living at the very beginning
          >
          > of a new postmodern era, then 99.9% of churches would seem to be
          > still living with modern thinking. So it seems to me that apart
          > from
          > a website like this, there are not very many places a spiritual
          > schizophrenic like me can go for nurture. Going to a small group
          > within an evangelical church feels like going to an intellectual
          > torture session. All of the thinking I've tried to rework comes
          > rushing back to the door and it hurts. I don't think I can
          > adequately defend my own paradigm shift without being so frustrated.
          >
          > The upshot: it feels pretty lonely to be a postmodern Christian
          > both
          > because it is hard to define to yourself and others exactly what you
          >
          > believe, and because there are so few places/churches to go that can
          >
          > help.
          >
          > I've gone through this for over 15 years. I'm a patient person.
          > Reply whenever you get the chance.
          >
          > Jim Barnhill
          >
          >
          > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
          >
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          >
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          >
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          >
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          > findingfaith-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
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          >
          >

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        • Stephen Shields
          Chris C wrote: Then there are a whole host of postmodern churches ss That reminds me! See http://www.faithmaps.org/pomophillinks.htm and click on Churches
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 9, 2002
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            Chris C wrote:

            Then there are a whole host of
            "postmodern churches"

            ss

            That reminds me!

            See

            http://www.faithmaps.org/pomophillinks.htm

            and click on

            Churches with a Pomo Slant

            Also, if you look @ the sites listed under

            Christian Postmodern Sites

            I suspect many of those have a church links list as well.

            Stephen Shields
            sshields@...
            http://www.faithmaps.org
            "tools for navigating theology,
            leadership, discipleship and
            church life in postmodernity"
            over 500 links and articles



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • briancrcc@aol.com
            Jim -- I just wanted to say that I receive quite a few emails like yours in response to ANKOC ... so, the irony is that there are a lot of people feeling like
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 9, 2002
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              Jim -- I just wanted to say that I receive quite a few emails like yours in
              response to ANKOC ... so, the irony is that there are a lot of people feeling
              like they're "the only one." Proportionately, the number might still be
              rather insignificant, but I think it's growing, and I think that if our
              patience (as you said) is sufficient, we'll see some encouraging signs. (Of
              course, I'm generally an optimist because the alternative is so boring.)

              Speaking of optimism ... you're probably right that Neo's ideas about
              churches transitioning are overly optimistic. But one has to start
              somewhere, and hope is a better starting point, I think, than non-hope
              (especially when God is factored in!). We'll see what happens!

              Also ... the emergent website is another place where Christian leaders are
              grappling with this stuff. www.emergentvillage.org.
              -- Brian


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • skatyh@aol.com
              In a message dated 2/9/02 1:35:39 PM Central Standard Time, briancrcc@aol.com ... I think we are going to have to see the people of God become hungry for a
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 9, 2002
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                In a message dated 2/9/02 1:35:39 PM Central Standard Time, briancrcc@...
                writes:


                >
                > Jim -- I just wanted to say that I receive quite a few emails like yours in
                >
                > response to ANKOC ... so, the irony is that there are a lot of people
                > feeling
                > like they're "the only one." Proportionately, the number might still be
                > rather insignificant, but I think it's growing, and I think that if our
                > patience (as you said) is sufficient, we'll see some encouraging signs.
                > (Of
                > course, I'm generally an optimist because the alternative is so boring.)
                >
                > Speaking of optimism ... you're probably right that Neo's ideas about
                > churches transitioning are overly optimistic. But one has to start
                > somewhere, and hope is a better starting point, I think, than non-hope
                > (especially when God is factored in!). We'll see what happens!
                >
                > Also ... the emergent website is another place where Christian leaders are
                > grappling with this stuff. www.emergentvillage.org.
                > -- Brian

                I think we are going to have to see the people of God become hungry for a
                fresh move of God and a dissatisfaction with the "way things are." The Church
                is going to have to come out of it's slumber and wake up to the fact that we
                are not reaching the world or making an impact in the way we should. I think
                there is a small remnant begining to emerge but they come forth out of need
                and disallusionment.

                My husband and I planted a church four years ago with the vision of restoring
                vertical and horizontal relationship, of team ministry, of nameless and
                faceless people left wounded by the church along the way being restored, of
                true worship and not performance...about living outside the box, about seeing
                things from God's vantage point not our own (very Neo-ish) We lasted three
                years but could never get the people to see beyond themselves, their isolated
                worlds, what they wanted God to do for them and "their ministries." I feel
                certain there are believers looking for a leader with a post-modern vision to
                follow but they haven't found each other.

                I don't know if it is easier to take an existing congregation into a
                postmodern model or to start one. I know in Tulsa, OK we tried starting one
                but it died...ahead of it's appointed time here. We will try again as the
                Spirit leds.

                Until then let us encourage one another that he has given the vision to those
                who will follow it through in the right timing.

                Blessings,
                Katy



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Caroline Wong
                Dear Katy; I know a great guy who is starting a very interesting ministry called Church Without Walls in Tulsa, OK. His name is John Fenn and his email is
                Message 7 of 7 , Feb 9, 2002
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                  Dear Katy;

                  I know a great guy who is starting a very interesting ministry called Church
                  Without Walls in Tulsa, OK. His name is John Fenn and his email is
                  jfennministries@.... His website is still under construction. If you're
                  not too gun shy about planting churches again, you should talk to him. Heck,
                  even if you're not planting churches, you should talk to him. He's trying to
                  start a whole bunch of cell churches in Tulsa and beyond that are quite
                  radical.

                  Grace & Peace,

                  Caroline
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: <skatyh@...>
                  To: <findingfaith@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 10:05 PM
                  Subject: Re: [findingfaith] On finding like minded Xtians: to Stephen
                  Shields


                  > In a message dated 2/9/02 1:35:39 PM Central Standard Time,
                  briancrcc@...
                  > writes:
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > > Jim -- I just wanted to say that I receive quite a few emails like yours
                  in
                  > >
                  > > response to ANKOC ... so, the irony is that there are a lot of people
                  > > feeling
                  > > like they're "the only one." Proportionately, the number might still be
                  > > rather insignificant, but I think it's growing, and I think that if our
                  > > patience (as you said) is sufficient, we'll see some encouraging signs.
                  > > (Of
                  > > course, I'm generally an optimist because the alternative is so boring.)
                  > >
                  > > Speaking of optimism ... you're probably right that Neo's ideas about
                  > > churches transitioning are overly optimistic. But one has to start
                  > > somewhere, and hope is a better starting point, I think, than non-hope
                  > > (especially when God is factored in!). We'll see what happens!
                  > >
                  > > Also ... the emergent website is another place where Christian leaders
                  are
                  > > grappling with this stuff. www.emergentvillage.org.
                  > > -- Brian
                  >
                  > I think we are going to have to see the people of God become hungry for a
                  > fresh move of God and a dissatisfaction with the "way things are." The
                  Church
                  > is going to have to come out of it's slumber and wake up to the fact that
                  we
                  > are not reaching the world or making an impact in the way we should. I
                  think
                  > there is a small remnant begining to emerge but they come forth out of
                  need
                  > and disallusionment.
                  >
                  > My husband and I planted a church four years ago with the vision of
                  restoring
                  > vertical and horizontal relationship, of team ministry, of nameless and
                  > faceless people left wounded by the church along the way being restored,
                  of
                  > true worship and not performance...about living outside the box, about
                  seeing
                  > things from God's vantage point not our own (very Neo-ish) We lasted three
                  > years but could never get the people to see beyond themselves, their
                  isolated
                  > worlds, what they wanted God to do for them and "their ministries." I feel
                  > certain there are believers looking for a leader with a post-modern vision
                  to
                  > follow but they haven't found each other.
                  >
                  > I don't know if it is easier to take an existing congregation into a
                  > postmodern model or to start one. I know in Tulsa, OK we tried starting
                  one
                  > but it died...ahead of it's appointed time here. We will try again as the
                  > Spirit leds.
                  >
                  > Until then let us encourage one another that he has given the vision to
                  those
                  > who will follow it through in the right timing.
                  >
                  > Blessings,
                  > Katy
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > You can visit the Finding Faith Yahoo groups web site to modify your
                  > delivery settings and review former messages @
                  >
                  > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/findingfaith
                  >
                  > Delivery Options: individual emails, 1 digest email a day, or no email
                  (all emails avail @ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/findingfaith)
                  >
                  > Want to unsubscribe? Just send a blank note to
                  findingfaith-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
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