Emerge and Restore

Exploring faith, God, and church in the 21st century...

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Location: Kansas, United States

Monday, December 20, 2004

still learning


I was listening to some lectures and discussions from a recent Emergent Convention (which you can find at the above site - the haven for emerging church leaders), and it really showed me how far from even entering the discussion most churches of Christ are. It showed me how shallow my understanding still is, how narrow my focus, how uneducated about Christianity at large.

It reminded me that aligning ourselves with Postmodernism is not the point...it's to bring the church to a place where we can make an impact in this brand new world...and a world that the Churches of Christ are struggling to understand. To deal with this confusing new place, we are sometimes trying to shout our old answers louder, without realizing that postmodern people aren't just disagreeing with us, they are ignoring us because we aren't engaging them on the same level. We're barely speaking the same language. We care about things they don't, they care about things we've never looked at carefully before. Postmodernism is the goal only in the sense that it makes us able to be useful in this new world. And that is what we need to learn.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Getting Started


Here's a link to one of the best websites for anyone wanting to familiarize themeselves with the postmodern church movement. It's from the title of a very challenging book by Brian McLaren, who is sort of the godfather and postmodern guru of the emergent movement. Check it out.

the goal

Posted by Hello


I'm pretty new to the world of blogging, so I'm still experimenting. Hence the lighthouse picture. Lighthouses are sort of my own personal metaphor for my Christian journey. I'd like to end up like that. Tall and unmovable, visible to the world, a reference point for those who are searching for I can't provide, but I can reflect. Structures that don't exist for themselves, but only to help others (and in way, to be beautiful). I hope God is building that kind of life in me. I hope he's doing it in Christians across the nation so that his church will be transformed, so we will die to ourselves and get lost in blessing others. Houses of light...very cool.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Emerge & Restore

Welcome to my blog, Emerge & Restore. This is an unapologetically Christian blog, admittedly geared to a relatively narrow audience. It is dedicated to pursuing a dialogue between the emerging postmodern Christian "movement" and the Churches of Christ. It is an amateur effort to help the church engage the culture and its recent postmodern shift and emerge as a community that is more faithful, more loving, more helpful, more culturally appropriate than what we've experienced in the recent past, without forsaking the beauty of and our heritage within the fellowship of the Churches of Christ. My dream is of an alliance with the Emerging church while still honoring our birthright as a group born of the Restoration movement(1800-1840).

I have no liberal or conservative agenda, no desire to do away with our distinctives, but I passionately want to ensure that Churches of Christ survive the next few decades in a manner that leaves us in a position to fulfill our mission as a church; to reach out the hands of Christ to a world that is crumbling - a world that desperately needs to know a carpenter from Galillee, who raised the dead and healed the sick, who calmed the wind and sea, and who confronted the evil and corrupt, the self-righteous and arrogant. He died for the sins of the world and rose from the dead - and he is the answer for us even in a postmodern, post-Christian world. He founded this community of the faithful that we call the church - and we must live up to our calling.

I'm concerned that the Churches of Christ are convinced that our allegiance to the over-rational, propositional mindset of modernism is equated with being faithful to the Word. I'm afraid we are approaching the world loudly proclaiming answers to questions that are no longer asked. We think our apologetic IS our faith and so we end up speaking a different language than the people we are trying to reach. If the culture around us is in transition, then as disciples, we must be too.

My name is Neal Whitlow and I am a 20-something minister with the Church of Christ in central Kansas. I have a wife, two daughters, and a passion for Jesus. If I have a contribution to make to the church, I think in will be in this arena. Thanks for reading. Soli Deo Gloria.