Sunday, November 18, 2007

Youth Specialties

So I'm in ATL right now at YS. It has been a very engaging, uplifting, challenging, and worshipful conference. As usual, YS has done a remarkable job at bringing in a variety of presenters, and by far the best has been Phyllis Tickle. She made a compelling case for a new Reformation currently in emergence, which I'll blog about once I'm home. I'm surprised by how drawn I am to emerging or even Emergent youth ministry leaders and models. Being in practice, rather than seminary, leads one to ask different questions. Emerging and Emergent youth workers seem to be the only people asking the same questions I am. More about that in days to come. In any event, this has been exactly what I needed for this season of life. I am grateful to my church for making this possible.


At 3:49 AM , Blogger WTM said...

I'm one of those guys who, aside from wanting regular and ordered worship through Word and Sacrament, thinks that how the church goes about its mission ought to be practical and ought to make use of all the available tools. Of course, you need a correct theological rational before you start using those tools, and it is here that I can't help but feel that emergent in many ways drops the ball.

At 6:31 AM , Blogger Erik said...

I agree with you Travis, in some ways, but what do you do when you are in the middle of ministry, a kid is coming to you with all kinds of suffering and you haven't thought through all the theology quite yet? Are you stuck? I'm sure you'll say no, but I think the idea that theology leads to practice is a bit impractical. Ministry is just too dynamic than to make it that easy. There are moments where all we can do is think theologically, there are moments where all we can do is act, and then there are all kinds of moments where both are swirling about together and you just pray your way forward.

At 7:25 AM , Blogger WTM said...

The point of strenuous theological training is the same as the point of martial arts training - muscle memory, and in this case the muscle is the brain. With any luck your theological training has been rigorous enough to give you good theological instincts. But, that only happens if you have been immersed in the tradition deeply enough, and that immersion is what I miss in many.

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At 1:43 PM , Blogger WTM said...

I wanted to include an analogy to my previous comments about the tradition that wasn't martial in nature. It is like Jazz improvisation - you have to know the music, know the style, and know your instrument before you can improvise well.

At 10:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erik, it seems to me that you are feeling much the same pull I felt in emergent thought. Theology is great but if it gets in the way of us giving our beaten and bloodied neighbor a hug in a moment of need then it misses its point. The reality of the mess that is this world is experienced by those in ministry in a different way. You will constantly be confronted by situations such as these, as I am sure you are well aware. As your relationships with students continue to grow I'm sure you will hear even more. I have been and will be praying for you as you continue to strive toward this difficult balance in ministry.

God Bless,

-Tom Runyon

At 10:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any "theology" that "gets in the way of us giving our beaten and bloodied neighbor a hug in a moment of need" is not theology at all. In fact, theology is precisely what helps me care for my neighbor. The doctrine of the imago Dei, for example, (Latin--oh how theological!) or the doctrine of the incarnation.

This theology/praxis binary is a false either/or. Mission (ministry) is the mother of theology, AND good theology must inform and guide our ministry. It's not a question of whether theology is "good or bad," "useful or not," but whether theology is faithful or unfaithful. And theology that is not practiceable is not only unfaithful theology, it's not theology at all.

Chicken or egg? Theology or practice? The answer is yes. "God was in Christ (theology), reconciling the world to himself" (ministry)


At 1:03 PM , Blogger Don said...

Andy is right - emergent stuff is not an answer to the practical "ministry" questions aside from theology - but a realization that our practice has often been out of line with our theology - or at least the historic teaching of Jesus & the church. Therefore, we are in need of reorienting our practice - and in some places, reorienting our theology because some of it too has been off kilter. Truth be told, "emergent" or "emerging" is just this centuries "reformed" or "reforming":

the answers the church is providing are based on questions that our world is not asking, therefore we need to rethink what we're doing - based on Scripture.

At 7:54 AM , Blogger Erik said...

Andy summed up my thoughts best. Nothing really to add. My response was meant to say something like this, but Andy just said it way better, so ignore my comment and read his.

At 10:06 PM , Blogger jlee said...

I'm looking forward to hearing more, especially because I know that the Packers' record is inspiring positive thoughts in all parts of your life right now!

At 7:47 AM , Blogger Carn-Dog said...

I'm not really sure that I'm taking issue with what has been said, but only suggest that though theology/praxis shouldn't be pitted against each other...they accidentally do so all the time.

I strikes me that there are plenty like Ghandi who have gotten praxis right without a healthy and robust theology...or Christian one at least. And plenty who have gotten theology right without 99% of the American Church.

It seems then that emergent is another swing in the pendulum to act as a corrective to what has been handed to us by evangelicals. the problem is that both would acknowledge the praxis/theology statement while continually embracing the point.

just thoughts,
carney- who also finds himself celebrating the packers 10-1 start. The most concrete thing to suggest that we really are taking America back for God


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