Progressive Christianity and the loss of a moral center

John Meunier:

Chad Holtz and I first crossed virtual paths three years ago when I expressed concern in a blog post over some of the things he was writing and preaching. It has been an interesting journey since then.

Originally posted on umc holiness:

At this time three years ago I was somewhat famous.   After writing a blog piece about how I no longer believed in hell I was released by the United Methodist church I was serving as a student pastor.   My incessant blogging on matters which sought to build my public platform completely missed the fact that I had a church full of flesh-and-blood people, real people versus pixel amens , who were loosing faith in their shepherd with every word I typed.

My exit from the church gave me everything I thought I had wanted.  I was invited to do all sorts of radio and TV interviews, was part of a documentary called Hellbound? (don’t ask me if it’s any good, as I haven’t seen it), and got to rub shoulders with all the Christian celebrities I had grown to admire.

Being asked to speak at various Progressive, edgy…

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Does the Platonic infection spoil Christian death?

John Meunier:

A blast from the past on funerals, Wesley, and contemporary theology

Originally posted on John Meunier:

Thomas Long’s book Accompany Them With Singing is a great follow for everyone who found N.T. Wright’s Surprised By Hope refreshing and challenging. Both of them share a desire to reground Christian understandings of death on the Christian gospel and rescue it from Western culture and consumerism. Long’s agenda is more narrowly pastoral than Wright’s, but both appear to be toiling in the same field.

Long sums up his “funeral theology” like this:

In a Christian funeral, we are telling two stories at one and the same time. The first story is that a sister or brother in Christ has died, and we are reverently carrying the body to the place of disposition. We cannot hide the sheer facts of this story, and we should not try. Someone is dead, and the old enemy death has apparently claimed yet another trophy. Even if the deceased is a ninety-five-year-old Sunday School…

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Following up on controversial sermon at Boston U chapel

Jeremy Smith provided the following link to the chapel service mentioned in my last :

Marsh Chapel online

Smith wrote this about the service:

It was the day that the Korean Students Association was tasked with being in charge of Wednesday worship. They brought in a guest preacher: Rev. Chongho Kim (Korean Church of Atlanta UMC). He’s a BU Grad.

The sound quality on the video is not great. Smith said the sermon starts at about 20 minutes and the offending parts of the sermon at about 37 minutes. Listening to the early parts of the sermon, it sounds like it is about the pastor’s personal struggle with faith and being a Korean student at Boston a few decades ago. I’ve not had time to listen to the whole thing yet. I did listen to a short bit of the “controversial part” as I had a few minutes. What I hear him saying is that he follows the UMC teaching and cannot take a hard line on either side. He speaks of being pressed by progressives and conservatives to come down more forcefully one way or the other.

I’ve not listened to the whole sermon, but I hope people do take the time to do so before sounding off on it — for or against. What little I heard sounds like a fairly personal and earnest description of one pastor’s journey and theology. If this is to be condemned, then I do not know how anyone can speak seriously of dialogue or coming to understand each other.

Edited by JFM at 2:29 p.m. on April 6.

How to argue badly

John Meunier:

David Watson gives a good over view of the bad arguments that happen all the time in the blogosphere. Of course, none of the people who comment on my blog ever do this, and certainly not your intrepid blogger.

Originally posted on David F. Watson:

I have to admit something: I have stopped reading comments on sites where my work is re-blogged. On this blog [and its predecessor], folks are generally respectful and engage in helpful dialogue. I really appreciate that. We’ve had some real disagreement without getting personal. Out there in the wild west of the blogosphere, though, it can get pretty ugly. It’s like some of the helicopter scenes in “Apocalypse Now,” just with words instead of bullets.

At times, this has really made me want to withdraw from public conversation altogether. It’s not that I can’t take criticism. If you disagree with me, I want you to tell me. I often tell my students that at least 30% of what I teach is wrong; I just don’t know which 30% it is. I simply don’t appreciate certain ways of arguing. The blogosphere, moreover, generally has no editorial process and no peer-review process. Therefore, anything…

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