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A "THINKING-MAN’S" RELIGION?

Many emerging leaders remain indifferent to doing the church. They prefer, instead, thinking the church. They focus, for example, on dialogue and discussion. Their core convictions manifest armchair "Christianity." So they ceaselessly talk and blog, "deconstruct" and"reconstruct."

As a result, church mission reduces to abstract "mission"—more a mind set than a model—more the nature than the need—more process than practice. In other words, their "mission" morphs more toward "knowing" than "doing" or "being." In fact, "philosophical discussion"—according to a well-known leader—is at the"very heart" of Christianity.

That would surprise Jesus.

Of course, the problems are obvious: inaction in place of action—contemplation in place of improvisation—teaching in place of modeling—labeling in place of experiencing. Such imbalances lead to passive lethargy, pathological sleepiness, alarming unresponsiveness. . . .

. . . and impotent, Milquetoast believers.

Pure logic, after all, never converted anyone! Rational knowledge was never the main "power." The literal world was never the main "reality." And, the lecture hall was never the main "Word." Paul claimed, for example, "The kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power."1 And, today’s "theology of the Spirit" doesn’t come even close to Paul’s "demonstration of the Spirit."2

So we end up losing something far more precious—a proactive faith, a can-do faith, an incarnate faith. In other words, "Overemphasis on how to ‘do’ church . . . has taken the focus off Christ Himself."3

The future belongs to those who understand the present return to an oral culture—a place where "words" demand action, where prophetic visions co-create, and where an inspired "doing" endows everything.

It’s not too late to finally understand that we are "coauthors" in a world not so much a Creation as a "Creating." In short, we "kick-start" every moment—in real-time and in real-life—no matter how big or how small that moment may be.

We have to. Compassion urgently unloads itself—it desperately releases itself—it begs sharing itself.4 Otherwise, the pain is unbearable.

"Life is neither the candle nor the wick, but the burning."5

© 2010 Thomas Hohstadt

Endnotes

1. I Corinthians 4:20 The Amplified Bible.

2. I Corinthians 2:4, The Amplified Bible.

3. Leonard Sweet, quoted in Peter Walker and Tyler Clark, "Missing the Point?" Relevant Magazine, Issue 21, July-August, 2006, pp70-74.

4. II Corinthians 8:4, The Amplified Bible.

5. Mike Riddell, Mark Pierson, Cathy Kirkpatrick, The Prodigal Project: Journey Into the Emerging Church (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2000) p. 76.



Future Church Administrator