Radical Preaching

Can preaching again have something to say?
This blog marks the attempt to bring the theological vision of Radical Orthodoxy into the worship and preaching of the local church.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Radical Preaching

Personal Relationship?

Hello -
The church in which I am serving has a university student who is the youth director. I supervise him by meeting weekly to discuss the youth worship service and his weekly message among other things. He is what I would consider a postmodern fundamentalist. I that I mean that he believes in a sort of hyper-solo scriptura with no respect or desire for the guidance of tradition or doctrines and no concept of ecclesiology. In the 6 months I haved supervised him it has been a constant push by me for him to think about theology and worship in a new light. With this said...His conception of salvation as completely internal and personal has forced me to defend my own position in his language. Because of this I have been rethinking my own understanding on this issue.

I am Wesleyan in most senses and I remember times when my "heart was strangely warmed" as a youth being called back to the faith. It is clear in the emotionalism of contemporary worship that "feeling" is the end. But hasn't our faith been unfairly romanticized in the past couple of hundred years because of American revivalism and a culture that glorifies sentimentality? Any Christian can give examples of persons (perhaps themselves) that have claimed to have experienced a personal relationship that didn't last. The language of "personal" faith is rampant in my generation and I wonder if the entire notion is wrong. I am not implying that emotions are not present in our salvation. I believe that some people are knocked off their feet by the Gospel. And my own faith is woven into every part of my being. I feel more strongly about it than anything.

But I believe that it is practices that help form us as Christ's body; As we participate in the means of grace we are "being saved."
In most ideal senses, becoming a Christian is socialization. This is one of the arguments for infant baptism. Maybe it's simply learning to live in a different culture.

There is an element of individual belief to our faith: "If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart..."
But is the language of a "personal relationship" somewhat of a western construct emerging from, among other things, an individualistic economy and democracy? How "personal" if at all is it? What is the balance?

I am sure the question is raised here without expounding further.

Peace -

Friday, February 17, 2006

I Haven't Fallen Off the Earth...

Sorry everyone that I have taken over a month off from blogging. I just wanted to update everyone as to what is going on in my life.

First, my comprehensive examinations are due on March 15th, and I have a tremendous amount of work to do for them.

Second, I am presenting a paper at the Wesleyan Theological Society on March 2-4. You can find that paper here. It is on recovering an Augustinian notion of friendship in a postmodern world.

Third, I have been applying to Divinity Schools. I hope to begin an M.Div. degree program at Vanderbilt in the fall of 2006.

Fourth, I received a call (and accepted on Monday) to be the Youth Director at Blakemore United Methodist Church and West Nashville UMC. The youth group, Blakeville, is combined, and they are a wonderful group of kids. I am looking forward to serving the church and guiding them. I am following Jonathan Norman (St. Phransus on our many blogs), who was there before me. I am hoping to receive special permission from the district to go "on loan" to the Methodists.

This time is one of great joy as I will be closer to my parents. My father has a number of health problems, and my mother's health has recently also become a problem. It is frightening to be 8 hours away from home when your parents need help. At the same time, it is a time of great sadness. The Waycross Church has been such a blessing. Here, in SE Georgia, I have a congregation that welcomes weekly communion, fairly radical preaching, and has a deep desire to serve the Lord incarnationally in our community. Each person in the congregation is like a member of my family. My daughter has a best friend that is like a twin to her. I would appreciate your prayers during this time. We will be moving to Tennessee on March 16th, and my first Sunday at Blakeville is on March 19th.

Grace and Peace,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Popes Lenten Message Focuses on Jesus' Gaze

ZENIT - Says It "Embraces Individuals and Multitudes"

Asianews.it - Pope: the development of all of man and all men in his Message for Lent

Benedict XVI's Full Message for Lent 2006 - "Jesus, at the Sight of the Crowds, Was Moved With Pity"