Search Results For "People Formerly Known"

There is Nothing to Writing

kinnon —  May 13, 2007 — 1 Comment

All you do is sit down at a keyboard and open up a vein.” A mild paraphrase of the words of the famous American sportswriter, Walter “Red” Smith. (Smith used “typewriter”, rather than” keyboard.”)

My friend, the InternetMonk, and the man I call my iPastor is one who regularly opens up a vein. Michael’s shocking openness stuns many. He kicks at the darkness of the post-evangelical wilderness ’til it bleeds daylight. (Metaphor borrowed from Bruce Cockburn.) He is often viciously attacked by those who cling to a fading modern understanding of the faith. (Would that it were at least pre-modern.)

There are times that I have cringed at what Michael has written. I am not one who is as willing to be as public about my condition in this journey as is my friend. There are times that I experience a body blow from his writing – the truth hurts. And there are times when his writing elicits tears. The vein he opened this weekend did just that.

I must admit that my many debates and excursions into theology have often left me as a fool, longing for the bride of Christ to be acceptable to me and my theology. I’ve become very blind to what matters most in the church. I’m afraid of many things that I ought to fear. I want to keep my answers and my insecurities and hide them in a church that allows me to be what I want to be, all the while standing behind walls of my own preferences.

This is a humbling time. I can teach a lesson on humility, but I have problems in living the lesson, and I hide- desperately- from the reality of living humility. Spending so much time in seeking to believe what is right has become sourly disconnected from living the Christ-life well. I’ve become demanding of what I feel I must have. God isn’t playing this game, but is pursuing the reality of the love of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit in me. He is not the God of my demandingness, but the God of the basin and the towel.

Michael is one of the father’s of the The People formerly known as… meme. I would challenge those of us who’ve been impacted by that meme to read and respond to Michael’s post.

UPDATE: Please read my friend, Ed Brenegar’s take on this.

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Little Blogging

kinnon —  April 28, 2007 — Leave a comment

It’s been a busy week – and on the personal front, a little confusing. I’ve had some push back on the TPFKATC blogstorm from unexpected quarters that has thrown me. A casual dismissal of the conversation from someone I thought I knew – and ‘twould seem, I don’t.

I’ve been doing a lot of processing while Imbi and I have been very busy here in the midwest. Alan Roxburgh and Pat Keifert are two of my favourite people, and spending a little time with them has been a blast – as have been the Allelon interviews Alan has done with a number of people. It will have been a very productive time here – and you will see the fruit of that over the coming months at Allelon.

More later today.

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I’m very proud of my oldest son (all three of my kids for that matter). He’s a gifted young man and a good writer. Liam comments further on the The People formerly known as… meme – in response to Dan’s post/comment from the weekend.

…as far as I can tell the church has always existed, and it exists where two or more are gathered. A lot of the reaction seems to be people reacting to pastors, pastors reacting to people, and people reacting to each other. Dan points out that this is the function of broken people in a broken world. “I know church isn’t what it should be. That’s my fault- and yours. I stamped it with my pathologies, and so did you.”

One person went so far as to say there is no biblical role for pastors, I hate to say this, but in Ephesians it does say that God, “gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” What that meant in the context of a church legally prevented from owning propery is surely different from what it means now. But we all exist in different roles to build up and edify each other. It seems like so much of this is breaking down.

Please read the whole thing and comment there.

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kinnon —  April 22, 2007 — 12 Comments

Dan is a good friend of mine and the pastor of Grace Toronto Church. (Dan will have his own blog, soon.) He wrote this in the comments of the previous post:

I raise a glass to the People Formerly Known as the People Formerly Known as the Congregation, who, upon hearing that their disaffection had created a tsunami-like publicity wave that was about to become a Zondervan marketing campaign and then a new para-church ministry (40 Days of Anti- Purpose?), quietly realized that it was no use. Even their defiance had become hip. Soon CNN would be calling, and Larry King would be asking them for an interview. Sigh.

And so, with heavy hearts, they looked around for the most authentic expression of Christianity they could find. It wasn’t in the Christian bookstores. It wasn’t in the radio programs. It wasn’t even in the TV shows; Lord, no. Oprah didn’t quite make it. Benny and Jimmy and the TBN gang had too much hair spray and too many white suits and ever-white teeth. And it was no longer in the blog weave known as TPFKATWhatever, which was now hopelessly popular, cool, hip, and with it.

So they dragged themselves down to the local church. Not the magnet Uber-church that took up 15 acres of land, but the local church with the faded sign and the musty carpet. And there, they found something bizarre.

Second-rate music, draggy announcements, bad children’s stories, dated PowerPoint templates, and something else…. real parents who were teaching children about Jesus with joy in their hearts. Ushers who loved to serve. Snacks teams that laughed as they missed the last part of the service just to feed a hundred people. Guitarists in tears over a cheesy illustration by the young pastoral intern, who was so nervous he had forgotten to button his shirt properly and was speaking for 58 minutes because by gosh, since he only got to preach twice a year, he was going to tell them everything he had learned in the past 6 months. And patient singles, couples and parents nodding dutifully to him, knowing he was nervous and helping him feel loved and prophetic and useful. and finding that in those 58 minutes were some very helpful things for them, because a Voice was using this intern in his inadequacy.

And that Voice, the Voice of the Shepherd, touched the PFKATPFKATC. And they remembered why it took them so long to become the PFKATC. Because despite the second-rate production values, the Spirit was here. He promised to be wherever two or three are gathered in His name. Excellent it wasn’t- Cheesy it was. Authentic? Go ask the snacks coordinator if her joy is authentic, and she’ll think you’re from another planet. You can’t DREAM UP this kind of second-rate cheese combined with this much first-rate joy in our culture any more; it has to be authentic.

So they- the PFTATC, that is, decided to be radical and do a crazy thing. They called up the People Presently Known as Pastors, and found a bunch of peope equally frustrated, tired, restless, and hopeful. And they talked. And the PFKATCongregation realized the PPKATPastors hardly read blogs, because they are so busy dealing with the complaints and needs of the People Still in Their Congregation. The pastors were stunned that these people cared so much; they had assumed the leaving was because the PFKATC cared too little.

And lo and behold, they each found out something wondrous and true, and that is this: that the people presently known as pastors mostly got into the pastorate for people like the PFKATC, because you care so much about the kingdom. And so do we.

And so I raise a glass, as a Person Still Willing To Call Myself a Pastor, to You, the People About to Be Known Again As The Congregation. I know church isn’t what it should be. That’s my fault- and yours. I stamped it with my pathologies, and so did you. Don’t try to bail on your responsibility just because I got paid to do this full time. Guess who paid me? This sucker is OURS, first to last. It’s wounded, and weak, and corrupted, and full of hypocrisy- I agree.

But the funny thing is… it IS the body of Christ. A messed up, messy, ego-saturated, hypocritical institution on earth. With idiots like you and me running it, what did you expect? Oh yeah, and one more thing – it is also His Bride. The glorious, triumphant, sinful yet forgiven, cleansed, spotless Bride against whom the Gates of Hell shall not prevail.

If you turn your back on His Bride, you turn your back on Him. And since you are His, you won’t do that. You will come back and help make the Bride beautiful again. Because you care. There is enough piss and vinegar and sadness and passion and real, Spirit-groaning hope in these blog threads to start a new Reformation. It’s high time we started. Who’s got the nails for the Door? I’ll bring the hammer.

And drink a glass to you all. Welcome back.



Dan made me laugh and skewered me with the truth. I look forward to your comments on this.

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One of the books that has had profound impact on me is The Great Giveaway by David Fitch. As well, my Allelon interview and then lunch conversation with David last month was one of the things that prompted my post, The People formerly known as… (See the right sidebar for links to the now seven posts from seven different authors).

David is a seminary prof, a writer, blogger and a co-pastor (with three others) of Life on the Vine in the NorthWest suburbs of Chicago.

This morning, David has posted, It is More Difficult: Why Missional Community is More Difficult and Why I Love It.

It is more difficult to take 10 people and grow a living organic body of Christ to 150 than it is to transplant 200 or 300 people (or I have heard even 600-800) and then grow that congregation to 5,000. Because a crowd draws a crowd. And if you have all the bells and whistles, 5 pastors and a youth program, all from day one, and a charismatic speaker with spiked hair (no shot intended at anyone in particular) and you don’t mind putting the smaller less flashy community churches out of business, it will be harder to stop attracting a big crowd from all the people who want Christianity to be more fun and mesmerizing. BTW did you know that the statistics say that small church growth (from 10-150) is where the true conversions (as opposed to transfer growth) come from? Why then do evangelicals exalt the mega congregations as the answer to reaching those outside of Christ?

Please read the entire post @ David’s blog. And read it along with Erika Haub’s post that I link to below.

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Thinking Bloggers

kinnon —  April 16, 2007 — Leave a comment

John Smulo tagged me for the Thinking Bloggers meme – which I do appreciate – but I tend to agree with my friend, Brother Maynard, who says:

…I’m going to break the chain and not name any further thinking bloggers. It certainly isn’t that I don’t have a number of good bloggers who make me think — naming five (or more!) would be quite easy (check my blogroll). This time though, I followed the thinking blogger meme up, down, and sideways a bit, watching who Jamie named and who several other bloggers have named… and I think the five I would name have already been tagged. I’ll leave it to you to follow the links through and see if you can guess who they would have been…

Like he said! (There are a bunch of great bloggers linked to in The People formerly known as The Congregation post – both those who agree and those who disagree with me.)

My recommended bloggers are in the right column. (New ones to be added later this week – including John Smulo. Updated!)

UPDATE: Erika Haub, one of the finest blog writers I know, has also tagged me. She is very, very difficult to resist, but…

Let me just say that Brant Hansen is the funniest, Thinking Blogger (please note the comma) I know. That is, of course, when he’s not playing stupid internet games. He can consider himself tagged. Meme is here.

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Meanderings on a Friday

kinnon —  April 13, 2007 — 4 Comments

I’m attempting to write a substantive post based on the reactions to The People formerly known as The Congregation. I’m rather gobsmacked by the response to my post, and those of Emerging Grace, Jamie Arpin-Ricci and John Frye. There is much discussion both positive and negative, some ad hominem attacks and much apparent pain. I’m both saddened and encouraged.

That being said, here are some of the things I’m tracking:

  • John Smulo, gifted blogger and missional pastor, finds himself in a rather tough place financially. Please read Rick Meigs blog post on how we can help.
  • Brother Maynard notices that it’s Friday the 13th.
  • The BHT has a lot of conversation on the Imus affair and race relations. Check out the Dick Morris link @ the BHT. Also check out their new masthead. I’m rather fond of it.
  • Read Grace’s post, Already Missional? Subscribe to Grace in Google Reader. You will be glad you did.
  • My iPastor on A Response to Roger – Questions from Michael’s review of Dr. John MacArthur’s “The Truth War.”
  • I’m working on the next in the Allelon Netcast Roxburgh Journal series. This one is a little different – Al Roxburgh being interviewed by Darryl Dash on Missional Leadership. It will be up next week. I’d recommend you subscribe via iTunes. The first two podcasts with Mike Goheen and Steve Taylor are very much worth a listen. May 1st will feature Al interviewing Pernell Goodyear. I’d also encourage your comments on Al’s Journal posts and netcast.

TPFKATC – Part Three

kinnon —  April 4, 2007 — 3 Comments

Jamie Arpin-Ricci writes Part Three of The People Formerly Known As The CongregationWe are the Community Coming To Be Known As Missional. Please go and read it all. This is how he ends:

We are the Community Coming To Be Known As Missional, but we are not there yet. We acknowledge our weakness and foolishness, as it is the weakness and foolishness of God. We are flawed, broken, proud and afraid. While we are committed to becoming this community without apology, we acknowledge that our becoming is dependant on the whole Body of Christ. While we believe we have something to offer the whole Church- something critical and prophetic- we also acknowledge that we need them equally as much. Above all, we need God – Father, Son and Spirit – to complete in us what we are created to be.

Part One is here. Part Two is here.

Who will write Part Four? (UPDATE: It was John Frye.)

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Emerging Grace has written Part Two of The People Formerly Known As The Congregation – as far as I am concerned.

Her post is titled The Underlying Issues:

To be honest, I tire of the assumption that those who come to this place are simply bitter and critical. The reason that Bill’s post, The People Formerly Known as the Congregation, hit the blogosphere with such a splash is because there are so many people who sense the validity of the issues he addresses in his post.

There are many who find themselves in agreement with Bill’s post, not out of a critical attitude, but because of a deep conviction that God’s Spirit is moving within the hearts of his people to bring about the transformation and reformation required for the church – His Church, which we love deeply – to become the vehicle of redemption that will impact the world in our generation.

This is not a simple case of “for or against.” There are specific issues that we are convinced have been a hindrance to growth in the maturity of the church and the advancement of the kingdom of God.

Do we have a better way? Oftentimes not. However, we have placed ourselves in a position of learning and experimenting. We will boldly or perhaps foolishly go against the status quo in our attempts to follow the direction of God’s movement.

Emerging Grace goes on to outline 10 Issues & Values that are important to the discussion. Please go to her blog to read and to comment.

I wonder who will write Part Three? (UPDATE: It was Jamie Arpin-Ricci.)

The Blog Conversation: Track the conversations here and here.

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The conversation around The People Formerly Known as The Congregation continues. (Technorati traffic here. Google Blog Search traffic here.)

Darryl Dash riffs on my light hearted (but pointed) April 1 post – which I see as a continuation of this conversation. My friend, Brother Maynard, has suggested offline that perhaps we create a Cluetrain Manifesto type response (which itself uses the Lutherian metaphor of the 95 Theses). Ed Brenegar asks what’s next – and responds here.

I think there’s a lot more conversation here and I’m wondering how we engage in it. I look forward to your responses.

UPDATE: The post is also up in the Articles section on the Allelon website. It would be great to engage in the conversation there…if you don’t mind signing up as an Allelon member. Membership does have its privileges :-}

UPDATE 2: In the post above, I point to what I see as Part Two of TPFKATC, from Emerging Grace. Please go to her blog and read it. Thanks.