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http://cole-slaw.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/an-organizational-leader-wrestles-with.html

It is interesting to read the link above in light of my previous post about what we reward.

Organisational development argues for an empowering stance within an organisation, the movement leadership model takes that one step further.

I like the fact that David Wittenberg says

 I’m sure that God has a role in his church for visionaries and strategists like me. I’m sure that he loves to use large congregations and controlling managers, as well.

But when Wittenberg’s personal style becomes our only model of leadership in churches we lose something.

Consider it

On the folly of rewarding A while hoping for B by Steven Kerr

I said I am getting the research groove back.  It may seem unusual then I suppose to post a link to this article except if you read it and then start to think about it.

What is it in church life we reward?  How much of long term hard yakka discipleship is rewarded or do we prefer to see those who can grow something quickly but with no consideration of the cost?  Or the quality of those disciples.

I said recently to a friend our effectiveness in discipleship is not how many disciples we have made but how many disciples they have made.  Most of the amazing quality overnight successes I know of had 20 years behind them in the wilderness, working quietly, doing what they were supposed to and then becoming known.

Consider it.

In the last week I have had two conversations about my PhD.

That is not unusual in itself.  The unusual thing is that both of them were with people overseas.

One of them told me my thesis is now online, which I have since verified.

So if you want to see a scanned copy of my thesis – with all its errors – go to http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/2577/1/2577_588.pdf

Over my holiday break I read Tony Jones, The Church is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement.

I will be blogging about this over the next few posts but want to start by laying some cards on the table to make it clear where I am coming from.

First, my doctoral studies are in Ecclesiology.  Second, I have used the work of Richard Osmer to teach Practical Theology.  I used Practical Theology: An Introduction while Jones’s thesis  uses The Teaching Ministry of Congregations.  Third the methodology in my thesis uses the work of Nicholas M. Healy as reflected in Church, World and the Christian Life, Jones uses an article by Healy and then adopts some of the terms.  My final comment is that last semester I completed a unit on Introduction to Educational Research.  This has been helpful to bring me up to speed with some of the latest methodologies in Social Science style research which are mentioned by Healy, Osmer and used by Jones.

Now I agree that Jones’s thesis is necessary and a useful one, it contributes to knowledge as all good doctoral theses do, it has good insights and good warnings to the Emerging Church movement but I am not comfortable with it.

The following posts will demonstrate where and why I am uncomfortable about what Tony has written and what further consideration I would like to see.

A while back I accepted the idea that my thesis would never be published.  Some of the material is quite problematic and others I had already happily presented at conferences.

I had an unusual email in that I was asked if I would like to have the thesis available via a print on demand service.  In the end I decided to go ahead.  I am still not sure if this was the best idea but it does mean people may purchase the thesis if they want to rather than me telling them it is not available.

The ISBN is 978-3-8433-5663-3

There is an early link on one website:

https://www.morebooks.de/store/gb/book/priesthood,-prophethood-and-spirit-led-community/isbn/978-3-8433-5663-3

Check it out if you want more information.

Ok, I know I have to look at a new book by Robby Waddell The Spirit in the Book of RevelationOne part of the description says “Biblical and literary studies are situated within the context of a Pentecostal community as attention is paid to the prophecy concerning the temple and the witnesses in Rev 11.”

This interests me because of my reflection today on Church and Kingdom.  In many of the larger churches, mega-churches, there is a teaching that to flourish you must be “planted in the house of the Lord”.  This comes from a reading of Psalm 92:13.  I could argue the logical order of this process but I am not sure that is really what is at issue.

I think the issue is an understanding of hermeneutics.  Christ has come and the temple has been done away with – we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Yet we keep going back to Old Testament models of the Temple for the contemporary church.  We develop a “house theology” rather than a “Spirit-in-Us Theology” that sends us out into the world, a maintenance theology rather than a missional theology.

Why does this happen?  I think in part because of poor hermeneutics.  In part because mega-churches need the support to continue their work, though some have been forced to share their premises when things have gone bad. In part because it is easier to consider being blessed than to consider how to be a blessing by giving time, talents and resources to people with names and faces. In part because it is easier to repeat the mistakes of ages past and become new Cathedrals that will possibly be near-empty in a few generations time rather than listen to the Spirit and figure out how He wants us to go and make disciples rather than call them in to where we are comfortable.  Mind you no one I know says Durham Cathedral has comfy chairs after a thousand or so years.

Funnily enough I think Robby’s book will be interesting because like me he has to struggle with  being Pentecostal, understanding the Spirits work and working in a tradition that itself is both calling people in and sending them out to those inside and outside the temple.

So do you think we should have a house theology or a sending theology?

It is interesting to consider what image or picture of Jesus drives the different traditions.

It seems easy to me to say that the emerging church seems to be driven by the Historical  Jesus.  Jesus as a Jew in Jewish culture, confronting and living in Jewish culture as a model for us to live today.  I like this idea even if it is focussing its effort on understanding Jewish-ness rather than Christian-ness.

The Roman Catholic picture seems to be the Jesus as sacrificial lamb, the Australian Pentecostal Jesus as Jesus triumphant, the Charismatic Jesus as Spirit-filled teacher, the Evangelical Jesus as the Word, the fundamentalist Jesus as the one who saves but judges, the Liberal Jesus as moral instructor, the peace churches’ Jesus is the prince of Peace.

Are these stereotypes of the churches or is the image of Jesus these churches see really a reflection of the water at the bottom of the well of what they want to see?

Maybe as I think about the spirituality of these views then there is truth in all of them but we need all of them to accurately reflect the real Jesus.  The Jesus we all need and should worship is all of these yet as people we tend to focus on parts we like.  This may or may not be healthy but it does happen that way.

So what do you think?

One of my students found a book on World Missions to help him write up a paper for a paper on theology of mission. The book is Introducing World Missions.

From memory when I looked at it on a break from another class in it is a diagram of three sort of concentric circles describing the relationship of God, Mission and Missions. The outermost circle is the Missio Dei, all that God is doing in the world, the middle circle is Mission, all that the church does in the world, and the inner circle is Missions, where the church is explicitly evangelising.

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I had some hits on the blog yesterday through a comment I made on Earl Creps blog.

I raised the issue that it is great that Earl is trying to have the Pentecostal church, in his case Assemblies of God USA, have an emerging church expression and we need to have a conversation about the whole process.  In the process of considering planting an emerging church Earl has copped abuse.

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Mathematics is an exact field, so is computer science. They state that something is or is not. Two plus two equals four. It is not two plus two should be close to four. It is four. This sort of thinking is helpful for giving expression to the relationship possibilities for Kingdom and Church even though this is a theological discussion. Read the rest of this entry »