Peter Rollins video - Insurrection

In the event you have not heard of Peter Rollins, well get ready to have your mind blown. His book Insurrection was an amazing book that is something that will require me to read at least two more times to get at the heart of his points. It is thought provoking and engaging in a way that challenges the core of my being. Be mindful, Rollins is a prophetic voice of the Church.

Avoiding conflict

If we avoid conflict with our neighbor because we do not think they can handle it, then we are victims of arrogance.

If we avoid conflict with our neighbor because we do not like conflict, then we are victims of immaturity.

If we avoid conflict with our neighbors because we are unsure of what the conflict might bring, then we are victims of fear.

If we avoid conflict with our neighbors because we do not think it is worth it, then we are delaying a future conflict.

Flights - by Judy Brown August 23, 2010

Rev. Nancy Allen came across this poem and I loved it.  Thought I would share it with the interwebs.

An easy flight
For me. Not so
For him.
He was an hour
Late because a
Jar of caramel sauce
inside a suitcase, broke,
And ran out, down
The outside
Of the plane.
They didn't know
What the suspicious
Liquid was.
Was it mechanical?
A terrorist plot?
As it turned out
They should have
Called for ice cream,
Not mechanics
And the bomb squad.
So hard to know
What we are seeing,
Sometimes. Especially
When we're scared.

Why the Mainline is dying?

In the most recent book I have begun to undertake, Almost Christian (you can see the book cover and link to the right of this post in the "goodreads" box), the author Kenda Creasy Dean makes several arguments about the current state of affairs in the Church.  While this entry is not a critique about the entire book (of which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to understand not the future but the current state of the Church), I did want to share one aspect of the book which connected with me deeply.

The argument is that there are some youth who are very devoted to the Church and the mission and ministry of the Christian Way (about 8%) and there are four characteristics these youth possess that other youth do not in regards to the Church:
1.     A Creed to believe 
2.     A Community to belong
3.     A Call to live out
4.     A Hope to hold onto
Of those youth in this category there is a higher proportion of LDS (Mormon) church members than any other denomination.  The next most represented denomination in this "devoted" category are members of Evangelical Non-Denoms.  The Mainline is the next represented group, with Catholics near the bottom of the list.  
As I reflect on my local community of faith, we take a lot of pride in fostering the second of the four characteristics.  We use words like 'family', 'connect', 'belong', 'fellowship' and even 'get together' a lot in our faith community.  While not nearly as dominate, we also take some pride in the first characteristic of the four and put a lot of effort in making sure we are teaching 'good theology' striving to remain 'open' to different theological perspectives, and using gender neutral language for God as best as we can.

However, these third and forth characteristics are hidden at best in my faith community.  I do not believe this is intentional at all.  We do not disregard Call/Vocation or Hope/Future but these seem to take a backseat to our Creed/Teachings and Community/Family emphasis.  And it I wonder if this imbalance actually firmly locates my faith community in the past/present unable to advance into the future and vision?

It seems to me the ability to call people to live a certain way or the ability to share a certain hope for the future is understood as “divisive” by some who want to foster a community and a common creed.  It is difficult for some to see how we can be “divisive” and also maintain a community and a unified creed.  So these individuals,, for the sake of Community and Creed, do not spend much time on potentially “divisive” issues of Call and Future.

Could this be one of the reasons the Mainline Church is on the decline?  We are living in the past and present out of a potentially “divisive” future?