A semi-regular attempt (in other words, as I have time) to explore the interaction between God and the adolescent world, especially the connection between theory and praxis (otherwise known as practical theology). Primary emphasis will be given to the role of the church (and especially the emerging church) in this process.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Welcome to Theoskaris and Youth

It's been a goal of mine to get a blog started where I can share some of my thoughts (as if anyone really cares, but hey, it allows me the chance to occasionally vent) about lots of things, but primarily dealing with God and youth. Let me share some things that have been running through my mind lately (kind of a "What's been keeping Jim awake at night?" thing).

1. Why do so many folk in the emerging church movement feel the need to sever communication/contact with those in the modern church? Are we afraid that they will contaminate us? Are we unwilling to learn from each other? I admit that there are LOTS of things in the traditional church that I don't believe are true to the Gospel (e.g. hierarchical leadership structures, separation of clergy/laity, etc.), but I also believe that there are many folk in modern churches who are wanting to faithfully serve Christ, but have never been given the opportunity to really understand what the Kingdom of God is all about. If we aren't continuing the conversation with these folk, how will they ever hear, and if they don't hear, can they ever act?

2. Why are we in the emerging movement so enamored with new forms of worship almost to the exclusion of ministry to our world? Don't misunderstand me--I love many of these new (actually really old but rediscovered) forms and believe they are truly helpful in our search for God. And I know there are emerging communities which are doing both worship and praxis faithfully. However, my observation is that many emerging communities seem to focus heavily on worship, and largely neglect praxis. (FYI--by praxis, I mean the practices and actions that we engage in together.) Why is this?

3. It seems to me that there is a significant shift occurring in our world from understanding Christianity (and especially holiness) as an epistemological problem (e.g. how we define these things) to viewing it as an ontological demand (e.g. how will we live into/practice holiness). If this is the case, what are the ramifications for the church?

4. Why is there such a disconnect between what we say we believe and what we do? Recent research from the National Study of Youth and Religion as well as my own research with students in my denomination shows that students often recognize orthodox beliefs, and many of them actually agree with those beliefs. However, those beliefs don't affect their lives in any substantial way. Why is this?

My hope is to begin to discuss each of these in turn over the next several weeks. Your comments as always are welcome.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jim,
Looks good! Don't have time to comment right this moment, but just wanted to be the first to post! (Maybe it will be worth something to be your #1 blogger when you're rich and famous!).
#1, #2 & #4 hit home and I pretty much agree. Don't completely grasp your thoguhts on #3.
I'm especially right with you on #2 as a worship leader AND youth pastor (well, was YP for 15 years till this past summer). So many are making corporate worship the end-all of follwoing Jesus. I better quit - like I said, no time right now. I'll keep tabs and catch up with you later ...
Tom Duncan

2:45 PM

Blogger Scott said...

Nuts! I missed being the first one to post!

I cannot agree with you more on #1 above. In fact it seems as if there is so much anger in the Emergent church movement that it's detremental to the movement. It's as if denomination is a curse word and that if you are not independent then you are ignorant to what God wants and desires of your life. There are some limitations to the denominations, but there are some advantages of Gospel advancement too. What I think some, not all, involved in this movement have done is use the modern thought as a scapegoat or excuse for anarchy and chaos where we can justify anything since all things are being challenged and discounted.

I responded to #3 but then thought you better open that can a little wider before I step into it so I erased it. I don't want to look any slower than I really am.

#2 Growing up we(I) came through an time that we made relics holy (the alter, prayer room, the picture of Jesus, Miss Martha's donated offering plates etc)and then as the seeker-friendly churches came about we removed them all. It seems to me that this aspect of the emergent church is just a reaction or a swing of the pendulum back the other direction and my guess would be that we will swing back again. Much of this movement is based upon experience, which by the way is not much different from Luther's day. I don't know for certain if we've actually stepped into a new day and age but instead stepped back into an old one. This is not bad mind you as we can see through history what came from this, but this new movement may simply be an old one reshaped.

#4 Why is this problem often so evident in my own life?


Scott Williams

3:33 PM


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