My Jesus looks just like me - loves the same things & people I love, hates the same folks I do. My Jesus does stuff like me - he is white, male, overweight, tall, American, with power, from the South - a regular sensitive new age bubba.
The Incarnation was shocking - God present in a form that did not topple the corrupt leaders by military actions, did not set up a new physical temple to rule from - God came as a lowly mongrel and wandered.
Efrem Smith & Tim Condor both pushed me hard, to a place that so many of my friends at school are already at - the point of the Incarnation is to visualize your worst enemy - George or Sonia or Osama - then visualize God come into our lives as that person. Until I can get out of the small, safe, perdictable box of a Jesus just like me, then all the cool new methods or packing in the world is just a new suit for me & my buddy, sensitive new age bubba Jesus. The Incarnation, the Crucifixtion, the Resurrection, the Ascension and Jesus in my own life & the lives of all those around me - that is not male or female, not black or white, not liberal or conservative, not patriot or terrorist.
On June 1, 2 and 3, 2004, thirty women leaders who are both national connectors and early adaptors in ministry will gather in Dahlonega, Georgia for the Emerging Women's Leadership Initiative National Consultation. The purpose of the event is to engage a diverse group of the nation's most innovative and passionate women leaders in a generative conversation about new ways of leading which make sense for emerging forms of church.
To surround this wonderful discussion with the sense of hope & prayer it deserves, we are organizing a prayer vigil. In the 43 hours from Tuesday (June 1) at 6 p.m. Eastern time in the U.S. to 1 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday (June 3), folks around the globe will be committing their prayers by raising up this glorious event for at least 1 hour.
If you'd like to join this virtual prayer vigil, please leave your name, email & the time slot (by hour & day) in the comments section below.
Churches seeking a new pastor tend to want a man under 40, preferably married to a nonworking woman who volunteers on church committees. It's a caricature, but only slightly so, says sociologist Adair Lummis, who is describing not congregations from the 1950s, but those today. This preference exists "even in those denominations which have ordained women to full ministerial status for 50 years or more," according to her little-publicized nationwide study.
The preference for a male may be unspoken or obliquely voiced by search committees, especially in liberal Protestant denominations where "it is totally unacceptable to refuse" pastor candidates because of gender, race or ethnicity, and it is "frowned upon" to make age or marital status an issue, said the study, published last year as part of the Pulpit & Pew project at Duke Divinity School.
I hit a duck this past week - wheeled around a corner at 15 mph & WHAM - it & my windshield shared the same space for a few moments. As a Texas native, I thought it might be low impact hunting. As a resident of California for the last 6 years, I thought - this is a fellow creature of God. So I stopped, looked over the stunned duck, which amazingly steaded itslef & flew off. I got back in my car & drove off, more than a bit fashizzled.
A friend passed along the data in this report (Download church_summary.doc) - it strikes me (wink wink, nod nod) that a duck has the window of the North American church. We have a choice - we can back up & drive over the duck, we can speed off, or we can stop & start figuring out stuff.
This article also reports ducks hitting windshields across the pond:
Johanson claimed that “Emerging church must be shaped by the mission content of today and not as churchgoers might prefer it to be. We must listen to the people- the 60% who consider themselves as not connected with the church.”
The address provided an honest and frank assessment of why traditional Sunday worship is seen by many as outdated and irrelevant and yet the interest in spirituality, new-age faith and the occult has never been greater.
I grew up a Sensitive New Age Bubba (SNAB), masking my bias & bigotry in lingo that made me seem evolved, while I continued to weld the power & priviledge that I received just by the nature of my gender, sking pigmentation & social location.
For more than 10 year of my adult life, I've lived in 2 states (CA, NY) which are considered in the belly of the beast of struggling for a multi- world, rather than the silos that we find comfort in right now.
Having bounced between those 2 polar opposites, I wonder if the root isn't actually deeper. How do we envision God ? Is God some old judging daddy in the sky ? Do we traffic in words & images that are exclusively androcentric ? Does the thought of a God that could be non-white, non-Male, non-human ever really penetrate our relationship with God & others ?
Aren't we really called to embody ?
To give a bodily form to; incarnate.
To represent in bodily or material form
To make part of a system or whole; incorporate.