Jonathan, thanks for helping me with the uneasy feeling I had reading your earlier post about "green evangelism." I couldn't get past this pastor's comments in this paragraph:“I’ve never been good at door-to-door evangelism,” said Deb Conklin, the pastor at Liberty Park United Methodist Church in Spokane, Wash., where an aging and shrinking congregation of about 20 people worships on Sundays. “But this has been so fun. Everybody wants to talk to you. It’s exciting. It’s ministry.”The gears in my brain began to grind and screech. What? "I'm not good at evangelism, so I'll go door to door and talk about recycling. That's more fun anyway." What do you do with that? How do respond to someone who says, "Saving souls with the gospel is difficult, so let's save the planet from litter instead"?Then you wrote about nominalism and calls to radical discipleship. It seems to me we respond to that pastor's misguided efforts with radical discipleship.But isn't "radical discipleship" redundant? Discipleship--in any true, biblical, dying to self, taking up your cross, following Jesus sense--is always radical. To say "disciple" is simply to say "radical." One may be a radical and not be a disciple of Christ. But one may not be a disciple of Christ and not be radical in the deepest, most spiritual, most world and sin-confronting way. it seems that the idea that we can be disciples and not be radical is in fact the definition of nominalism. It seems that the idea that we can be disciples and not be radical is in fact the definition of nominal.Having said that, let me be clear. I'm nowhere near as radical as I want to be. I desire more zeal. I want to burn for Him. Lord, don't let my spiritual fervor cool and weaken!How to foster this radical discipleship?I think my walk with Christ took a step in a more radical direction when I began to live actively in a church community. When the local church really became a family I was committed to, nominalism simply ceased to be a viable option. You can't walk together with other saints, commit yourself to the cross-carrying "one anothers" of Scritpure, and remain a lukewarm disciple. Everything gets radical when you live in Christ's covenant community under His glorious word, don't you think?
Jonathan, a couple of the people commenting on your last post spotted the problem I had with the definition you quoted. I'm not sure it makes any sense to ask a question and not expect an answer or to act as though there is no correct answer to questions (even if we have to say we don't know what the correct answer is). It makes even less sense to then try and build an entire "ethos" or subculture on questions without answers!
So, here's my question, why are we spending so much ink and energy talking about emerging and emergent churches anyway? What is it about this "movement" that captures our attention, and sometimes ire? I've been listening to the positions and counter-positions, but is there really anything there that warrants the energy channeled at this "thing"? Can someone tell me if I should be more concerned than I am, and, if so, over what exactly?