Monday, August 28, 2006

Related Leaders: Leonard Sweet (Session Three)

Session Three -- at lunch we had a little Q&A...it was okay...I wish this thing were a little smaller & focused...it's really hard for me. The questions I want to ask, aren't relevant to 95% of the people in this room, and so I don't tend to ask questions. Maybe, I'll just email Len. WARNING: THIS MAY BE HARD TO FOLLOW...I can't get everything I'm thinking (and he's saying) down fast enough...so I'm short-handing a lot. MRI: Incarnational 100 years from now, when the history of the early 21st century is being written, it may be told (like generations before) in terms of it's music -- hip-hop. The question is whether or not the church will respond to how the winds of the Spirit are moving in today's culture instead of waiting a couple hundred years before excepting what God is doing. We are living in a culture where opposite things are happening at the same time, and they're not contradictory (see Allen Pink's "well-curve" -- think opposite of a "bell-curve). Middles are going away. For example, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is dying (screens are getting bigger - think tv's, and screen are getting smaller - think iPod. This makes it a challenge to be incarnational as a church. But the church, by it's very nature is not about bunching up in the middle -- it's all aboout paradoxes (God is one, God is three; Jesus is fully human, Jesus is fully divine) Christianity has been breathing for too long out of only one lung, the western lung and it's time we start breathing out of our original lung, the eastern lung. (Pope John Paul) The eastern "lung" that Jesus was the master of is more of a "both/and" lung, while the western lung is more either/or. When you think "either/or" you end up in the middle (bell curve), while "both/and" thinking accomodates and communicates to the seemingly opposites. When you connect the extremes, connecting the poles through the gospel, you have power. Here's a solid example of what all this is saying: Habitat for Humanity -- you connect people who need help, with wealthy people in a meaningful experience. (Or a more local example: John King, pastor of Riverside, talked about his vision for The Dream Center, where he was fearing for where the $$ would come from, and he heard God saying to him, "you take care of the poor, and I'll bring the rich to your church."

2 comments:

randy said...

charlie... thanks so much for posting about all this. sounds like good stuff. were you challenged and unsettled? or was it mostly stuff you knew already?

i'm curious... what were the burning questions you wanted to ask?

ckd said...

I wanted to ask him about the viability of age-based churches -- "postmodern churches," "youth churches," "campus churches," etc.

I wanted to ask him about the viability of the church-within-a-church model. With the demise of Axis, this has been on my mind a lot.

I wanted to ask him about Barna's most recent book -- the title eluds me right now -- and what Len thinks that the role of the church is today, when Barna says that many are just checking out and doing their own thing.

I was a little challenged, a little unsettled. I'd say it wasn't a lot of groundbreaking material, but it was good. The audience definatley wasn't the "emergent crowd." This was largley a Traditional Assemblies of God crowd -- which was an interesting dynamic for recovering-baptist-boy.