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A vida é simples


A vida é simples

Organic Church by Neil Cole

Organic Church is a very practical book on how to missional and incarnational "where life happens". The model of waiting for people to come to church clearly doesn't work, what we need is to do what we were allways suposed to do: Go where people are and communicate the Gospel there.

To do so, we need to reduce the Gospel to its absolute minimum (which means take of all the garbage we added to it), and communicate it in a way that people can easily pass to others. The result is a chrisitan movement.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It's very practical and filled with real life experiences.

The Last Word And The Word After That by Brian McLaren

Just finished reading it. The Last Word And The Word After That is the last book on the A New Kind Of Christian triology. It is very similar to the others. The main theme this time is afterlife: What happens when we die? Not only that, but how the view we have of after life afects the rest of our theology.

Good book, as the others. But the second one is the best.

The Story We Find Ourselves In by Brian McLaren

With the same style, this is a continuation of A New Kind of Christian. And a worthy one indeed.

We could say that the main theme of the book is the creation/evolution debate, and although it is a recurrent subject in the book, the main theme is the story of the universe. The story of how God created the universe, and how he intervened in it, and how we fit in that story.

I think this one is better than the first book in the triology. I think its very important to know how to tell the story of life in terms that the people of our days understands them. And the way it shows why you should care about nature, is excelent.

The book might be polemic not only because of emergent theology, but also because it defends that God created earth by evolution. Not that it's polemic to me, but it might be to some :)

A New Kind of Christian by Brian D. McLaren

I started to read the "A New Kind of Christian" trilogy some weeks ago, and have now finished the first book.

I really liked the book for two main reasons. First, because it speaks about the core issues needing reformation in modern christianity (not the less meaningful exterior things). And second, because the approach used (fictional story) is a very smart way of talking about things that may hurt others.

This is an excellent book to give to that special friend that has problems understanding what that emerging stuff is all about. Because sometimes we focus to much on the superficial things, on the results, and forget to show all the meaningful reasons that led us to live christianity in a new way.

This is also an excellent book for all who find Christ interesting, but the modern church not so interesting. There are other ways of being church, of being christians, that are more appealing to outsiders.

Can't wait to read the other two books...

Shema Community

Recently I noticed Shema Community, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Looks really interesting, worth a look if you are interested in the Emerging Church. A little about them:

"Shema Community Movement is not another ‘church’ or ’denomination’ within the Christian faith or religion but a ‘grass-roots’ missional movement (missional means leading a ‘go to them’ life, instead of a ‘come to us and become like us’ life), sharing the belief that ‘good news must be good news for everybody or it is not good news at all.’ At our core, we embrace Judeo-Christian essentials measuring ‘goodness’ by what we practice, who we’re becoming, what we embrace, what we create, and whom we include."

Direct access to God

"We realized that churches where direct access to God is encouraged and that have a flat and personal relationship structure, rather than hierarchical structures, reflect the lives of people most contextually." (Incarnational Approaches to the Japanese People using House Church Strategies)

We can't talk about direct access to God without organical flat structures, because hierarchical structures undermine that direct access. It is true that hierarchical structures don't force you to neglect your direct relationship with God, but it helps. People start depending on the leaders for prayer, teaching and advising. The pastor can say a thousand times from the pulpit that people should have direct access to God, but his hierarchical position undermines his own words.

Instead of hierarchical structures, what the church needs is relational structures, where everyone acts (or try to) in love, humility and sumission on to the other. A real interdependent community, where no one is superior to the other, where everyone has something to give and receive. As equals before God and men.

You might not be emerging if...

An interesting list by Peter: You might not be emerging if.

I specially like this ones:

- you think or act as if numbers are important
- your future has a dependency on a building or buildings
- preaching / a message, sans discussion, is standard fare
- *doing* kingdom work is valued more than *being* the kingdom
- dialogue, particularly negative feedback, is avoided - rather than welcomed

Faith Revolutionaries Stand Out From the Crowd

In a study about the difference between revolutionary born-again christians (aka emerging) and non-revolutionary ones by the Barna Group, we find very interesting information.

Emerging churcher are often acused of not believing in the bible in a serious way, but according to this study, the opposite is true:

"Almost two out of every three revolutionaries (64%) study the Bible every day. That’s close to three times the percentage of non-revolutionary born again adults who do so (23%)."

"Almost all revolutionaries (97%) strongly affirm “the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches.” Far fewer non-revolutionary born again adults (65%) join them in that perspective."

Another thing people use often to defend the institutional church, is that the worship time is much better (better music and stuff), and that you feel the presence of God much better. Well, not according to this study:

"About six out of every ten revolutionaries (57%) experience “intimate, personally stirring worship of God” on a daily basis. The same held true for only four out of every ten non-revolutionary born again adults (39%)."

(Thanks to Michael for the link)

What the emerging church is not

Today, Andrew Jones wrote a very interesting article in his blog: what i would say to the young american emerging churches. I have had to deal with the same problem several times, the wrong idea people have about the emerging church given by some churches that call themselves emergent.

"The emerging church, if i listen to the more extreme critics, is just about changing the style of church to attract people and keeping them happy, of accepting any wind of doctrine without critique, of finding the coolest hippest trends and adopting them in a sunday service. Of being postmodern to attract postmoderns. Of careless adoption of any ancient practice regardless of its origin or affect, of finding identity in protest against the Modern, Enlightenment or Constantinian models of church."

As he says in the article, that has nothing to do with the emerging church. A very good post to read. A critique to some "emergent churches" and a good description of what the emerging church is not.

Mikado and other games

MikadoWe got together on saturday to play some games and eat cake. We did play some cards, and almost playes mikado, but we ended up doing very little and just talking about stuff and having fun. Its good when the relationships get to a point where we can just be together and never find it boring. This is being a community. This is being church. We really need to spend more time like this.