Archive for November, 2008

Drum Majors Re-cap

November 28th, 2008 by Kelsi Johns

The  2-day “Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice” conference on November 20-21st led by civil rights leader Dr. John M. Perkins and Dr. Metzger addressed various issues to inform, encourage and challenge church leaders towards a theology of engagement, holistic participation in the gospel and redemptive reconciliation. Perkins, Metzger and the community leaders who joined them for panel discussions offered meaningful reflections that helped those gathered to keep marching forward to the beat of a different drum in community development work. We are witnessing today the need to break through social comfort zones and develop true community that takes us beyond simple acts of charity and affinity groups.

 

 In the first session entitled “The Need of the Hour,” Metzger and Perkins discussed the need for raising up leaders and churches whose concern for the poor far outweigh their own self-concern. In the second session, Dr. Metzger challenged us with the statement that, “none of us are free if one of us is chained” (referencing a Lynyrd Skynyrd song). We have a hard time sensing that we are bound up together in solidarity with one another for good or for ill. In the third session, Perkins addressed the three r’s of his community development model: relocation, reconciliation and redistribution. The second day of talks focused on spiritual formation and building a network of ministry and service partnerships where the church of the greater Portland-Metro area learns how to work with others toward helping people in community own the pond together.

 

This all requires a genuine paradigm shift. Right now, we live in a culture that tells us to congregate with those we like. We are often encouraged to sacrifice little and gain much. We are sometimes told to take back America and take out our enemies. But the gospel paints a different picture. And it is one that we, facing 21st century challenges, are called to respond to and participate in.  Christ has called us to join him in his grand narrative of identifying with “the least of these.” But how do we get beyond the brokenness, the individualism, the segregation, the gentrification to respond holistically and redemptively, struggling for solidarity with others through our union with Christ Jesus?

A fundamental change

November 17th, 2008 by Kelsi Johns

“Fundamentalism is wondering just how is it that a world-changing message narrowed its scope to the changing of isolated individuals.” –Carl F. H. Henry (“The Fundamentalist Fallout Revisited: From a World-Changing to a World Resistant and Worldly Gospel” Section from Chapter 1 of Consuming Jesus)
That’s what I want to know. I have spent much time thinking and dialoguing with others in order to understand what role politics should play in and throughout the Christian community. It becomes further complicated when I am a citizen with an allegiance that is ultimately to Christ, not my nation. In light of this, I’m trying to understand why it is that evangelicals have achieved the reputation of being those that, as Metzger quotes James Montgomery Boice in Chapter One, “fix their gaze on gaining the kingdom of the world and ‘have made politics and money our weapons of choice for grasping it'” (p. 28).

Metzger quotes Carl F. H. Henry saying, “Whereas once the redemptive gospel was a world-changing message, now it was narrowed to a world-resistant message” (p.26).  So rather than voting and living out of a sense of concern for justice that is truly social, evangelicals are driven by concern for the individual. And this influences our voting patterns.  It is Christian to vote pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and lower taxes. The Religious Right “gives scant attention to issues such as universal health care, concern for the environment, and the rights of minorities” (p. 27).

I am not undermining rightful concern for the human unborn or seeking to legalize same-sex marriage, but I am deeply concerned that evangelicals have an earned a reputation for being concerned about personal and nuclear familial issues at the expense of other social issues. As if they must choose one or the other, and larger social structural issues (such as those mentioned in the Boice quote above) are exempt from their sphere of concern.

Does this bother you?

Considering the fact that issues such as health care, minority rights, and the environment in which we live affects everyone–especially the poor and minorities–how do you think this value structure among evangelicals affects solidarity among all of us–rich, poor, black, white?

Personally, I think it suggests a message that we evangelicals would rather have “success, wonderful marriages and nice children,” (p. 28) as Boice laments. I have heard Christian pastors essentially say that those who are Christians cannot vote in favor of these social issues. Yet when I read the gospels, Jesus’ primary concern was loving his neighbor, helping the poor, and connecting with those that were worlds apart from him ethnically, religiously, and socially. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Jesus seemed to place more emphasis on larger social issues (love of neighbor, including one’s enemy) than on issues pertaining to one’s own nuclear family, affinity group, and class. Why such a disconnect?

I know there are many evangelicals out there who must be able to offer a differing view, considering that I am not the dominant voice. I want to hear your thoughts. Dr. Metzger and civil rights leader Dr. John M. Perkins will be engaging related issues in their upcoming “Drum Majors for Truth, Love and Justice” conference this coming Thursday and Friday, November 20th and 21st. Join them as they encourage and equip church leaders to live out a holistic and redemptive gospel. Visit http://consumingjesus.org/wp-content/drum-majors-event-details.pdf for more details.

Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice Event

November 16th, 2008 by Bryan Dormaier

There is an upcoming Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice event in the Portland area, on November 20-21.  Dr. Paul Louis Metzger and nationally acclaimed civil rights leader Dr. John M. Perkins will be leading this event, offering a biblically rooted message about the theology of engagement for running a marathon race of holistic gospel service.  This conference is open to anyone interested in developing a theology of engagement for a lifetime of service.Check out the Drum Majors Event Details for more information on this event!

Consuming Cyberspace: Leadership Journal

November 5th, 2008 by Bryan Dormaier

Consuming Jesus was recently listed in the fall 2008 issue of Leadership Journal (leadershipjournal.net) as part of its Golden Canon–the top 10 books of 2008.  Also featured in the journal is a great review of Consuming Jesus by David Swanson (who has contributed his story as part of this blog).  Be sure to look for it in the most recent Leadership Journal.  In addition, Out of Ur, the official blog of Leadership Journal, just posted this audio interview of Dr. Metzger by David Swanson.