Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Thursday, November 23, 2006

We've Had a "Visitation" - Jim Henderson Drops by MM

A couple of days ago I posted some ramblings on the recent "Revolutions" conference and a couple of bits and pieces related to posts on the Off the Map (OTM) "Conversations at the Edge" blog.

I guess I am learning something about blogging. That is that while in the confines of my skull my thought threads seem cogent, by the time they make it to the blog-page - without any editorial oversight (something I thought would be a good thing while a journo) - they can come across as much more pointed and deliberate than they ever where while still in my head.

So in that light I want to clear a couple of things up, and then brag a little.

Firstly - most of my struggles with OTM relate to the stuff being "dealt with" at "Conversations". I think I understand what is being attempted there, but I guess some of the postings really do just grate against my good ol' conservative background. It is easy for me to forget that there is a whole lot of life and interaction and talking and thinking going on beyond the posts I read on the blog. But I seem to find myself worrying, at times, that in some places the gospel ends up falling through the cracks in an effort to accomodate "everyone's" views. And this concerns me because I am concerned for those who might get the wrong end of the "relativity" stick and be "graciously" encouraged down a path that leads away from relationship with Jesus rather than toward it.

And that finally brings me to Jim Henderson and his comments about the Mercedes driving pastor and my opportunity to brag a little.

When I read AKA Lost it was like a breath of fresh air. I really hadn't any idea about anything to do with this "emerging church" business but knew that what Jim was writing about was indicative of a path God had been leading me down for years. I knew AKA was something I could give to those people I had been working along side in my church who were still struggling to come to terms with the kind of change of direction in life and ministry I had been advocating. It said a lot in a way that I hadn't been able to and presented concepts that were easy to understand and implement in everyday life. Most importantly it was about building relationships with "those Jesus refered to as Lost". Those who were not-yet Christians.

So, when I read Jim's comments regarding a suggested picket of a hypothetical Mercedes driving pastor, I found them to be out of (what I had assumed) was Jim's character.

But - and this is where I get to brag - Moved Mountains was paid a visit by none other than Jim Henderson himself today. And he has graciously taken the time to set me straight on the whole "Mercedes" issue. It turns out it was a joke intended to provoke thought and conversation and perhaps was posted a little out of its original context where I found it. You can read what Jim had to say about it, and more, down in the comments section of the post in question.

I want to conclude by making an excuse for myself! I am a questioner by nature. It has always got me into trouble and will probably continue to do so. But, it has also served me good stead. I am always (usually? eventually?) ready to be shown where I have been wrong or where I have jumped to the wrong conclusions. And if bagging out the authors of my favourite books gets them to drop by my blog - I think I will probably continue to do it! ;)

10 comments:

David said...

Andrew, that's great one of you idols visited.

But if he visits again can you ask him to bring Kermit and Miss Piggy with him?

Helen said...

Hi Andrew, I posted you a longer comment on the other blog entry about Off The Map.

Firstly - most of my struggles with OTM relate to the stuff being "dealt with" at "Conversations". I think I understand what is being attempted there, but I guess some of the postings really do just grate against my good ol' conservative background. It is easy for me to forget that there is a whole lot of life and interaction and talking and thinking going on beyond the posts I read on the blog. But I seem to find myself worrying, at times, that in some places the gospel ends up falling through the cracks in an effort to accomodate "everyone's" views. And this concerns me because I am concerned for those who might get the wrong end of the "relativity" stick and be "graciously" encouraged down a path that leads away from relationship with Jesus rather than toward it.

Thank you for expressing your concerns so respectfully. You're welcome to express them on Conversation at the Edge too, as they pertain to the various discussions.

I'm familiar with that concern and my response is: if God is in control, is it possible that he'd let us inflict eternal harm on people? It doesn't seem to me that a good God would enable that to happen. But then, that's probably from my MY conservative/3-5 point Calvinist background.

I want to conclude by making an excuse for myself! I am a questioner by nature. It has always got me into trouble and will probably continue to do so.

Maybe it will in a lot of places, but I can assure you that Jim very much enjoys people who ask questions. He asks a lot of questions himself.

The Creature said...

David - yeah! I was hoping he might bring Animal (the wild-man drummer) and perhaps the grumpy old blokes from the VIP box too!

Also - with all due respect to Jim, he isn't my "idol"! ;)

Helen - I just finished responding to your comment on the other post so I won't go into too much detail here.

You said: "my response is: if God is in control, is it possible that he'd let us inflict eternal harm on people? It doesn't seem to me that a good God would enable that to happen. But then, that's probably from my MY conservative/3-5 point Calvinist background."

Generally I agree with you, but I also believe (and IF I had to label myself I would do so a calvanist) that God, in his infinite wisdom, has given us a role to play in his plan of salvation. That is we have a job to do in leading others down the right path and not causing them to deviate down the wrong one. While I believe that once we are saved we are always saved, I also believe free will has a significant part to play.

Anyway - check out my other reply and thanks for your comments and for dropping by. I hope we'll see you round here again.

Helen said...

Andrew, I'd like to see how other people who read Conversation at the Edge respond to your concerns so I posted this on Conversation at the Edge:

Are we "graciously" encouraging people away from Jesus?

You're very welcome to participate in any discussion which develops over there.

I also posted some specific further thoughts of mine in response to your comment to me over there.

Mike O said...

This is my first time here. But I saw what Helen posted over at Converstations, and thought I would chime in.

I posted several blogs at Off The Map that share the same concerns you have. I am a conservative, evangelical Christian. But I have found that I do not have to compromise my views to talk to people who don't share my beliefs. What we have at OTM is common ground. I agree that we do risk "gracing people" away from God, and I've expressed that concern there. But at the same time I think we need to look at it from the non-Christian's perspective. Will they listen if all we do is harp on them about the truth? If we can't just talk without constant "intentionality," how well will those relationships really work?

The way I see it, there is a relational breakdown between the body of Christ and the rest of the world. And until we fix that, nobody will listen anyway.

One of my favorite recent quotes comes from a book titled "No Perfect People Allowed" By John Burke. If you liked AKA, you'll LOVE this one. Anyway, he says in his book that it doesn't matter that we have the truth if people don't like us. If we have the truth, but they don't like what we've become, the'll never even consider it.

But you're right, if we NEVER say anything sinificant or leading, we're only making people comfortable in their lostness. But if, on occasion, we make well placed, thought-provoking and civil dialogue, then maybe, just maybe, people will listen because they already like us.

Mike O said...

Here's a couple of posts I posted over at Off The Map that may resonate with what you were saying. Your views will be accepted there. Mine were.

Interview with Mike O
Conservative Christian Changes Mind
Mike O. Cries "ICK!"

Jim Henderson said...

Andy

You have invited an Off The Map pile on- we wont stay long so dont worry about a takeover.

Here's why I think Helen, Mike O and myself have been drawn to interact with you... You create dialog. Most people do not know how to do this.

It is a rarely attempted spiritual practice particularly among groups focused on "rightness" (Christians, Muslims come to mind here but there are many other lesser knowns as well)

Here are a couple of things you did or do that signaled to us "Hey, I think I found a dialogist over there"

1) You expressed your opinion without idealizing it or demonizing those who disagree with you

2) You asked curious questions certainly with a bit of an edge but not a mean spirited one

3) You continued the conversation - something rarely practiced. Most of the time we use each others comments as a way of setting up our preaching opportunity.

Keep this up and we may have to spread the word about your blog since we think this is the way Jesus would blog.

BTW- I know I am not your idol :-) whoever said that must not have read the bible - dont know - just guessing :-)

Drop by www.conversationattheedge.com and join in the conversation I think you in particular would really benefit from it and bring a very helpful mix of ideas.

Also for some real controversy check out www.churchrater.com where we ask people top rate churches

Thanks
Jim Henderson

The Creature said...

Mike O - thanks for coming by. I had a look at "Conservative Christian Changes his Mind" the other night after having another look at the "Mercedes" post again. I enjoyed what I read and relate well to it.

I also agree with the comments you made about intentionality in relationships and agree 100%. I think I'll cut and paste that bit to MM along with the links you provided.

Thanks again and hope to see you around and hear more about your journey soon.

Jim - thanks. Your kind words have made my day.

Pam Hogeweide said...

Andrew, Jim perfectly described my first impression of your thoughtful blog.

Welcome to the OTM love fest, brother...see ya around the blogs, I hope!!!

The Creature said...

Thanks Pam! Yep - catch you 'round.