Emergent Mid-Atlantic Conference with Pete Rollins and John Franke

Had the Phillies not won the World Series this season, I would have said that this was the best day Philadelphia had this year.  The Emergent Mid-Atlantic Conference at the Church of the Holy Trinity with

Peter Rollins and John Franke was fantastic.  Pete gives quite a performance.  He speaks pretty fast in a thick Irish accent, uses his hands, quotes everyone from Nietzsche and Bonhoeffer, uses parables, recites stories, employs hyperbole, and chugs coffee. 

It was great to have John Franke there to share from his perspective and to hear the two of them dialogue with each other.  You can listen to all the audio here (Thanks Scott).  

To keep it short, I’m sacrificing context – here are my highlights/questions/etc.:

– Loved the idea of the “Third Person” that is needed to justify an experience.  He used this story (that will not work in youth group) about an average guy stranded on a beach with a beautiful woman.  He hits on her with great persistence and finally she gives in and they sleep together.  In the morning, he asks her to put on a mustache  and a ball cap and meet him on the beach that afternoon.  Initially she objects, he persists, she shows up with the fake mustache and ball cap.  He then tells his friend, “You never would have believed who I slept with last night – this beautiful woman …”  the point being he needed a buddy to justify the experience.  For some, that third person is God (or our abstract idea of what we think is God).

– “… God becomes the crutch to save us from the abyss”

– paraphrase –  “(for some) we need a God to save us from fears, insecurities …. In this way, God is only an aid that leads us to practical atheism”.

– He told a story about a man who said to his neighbor that someone needed to help this poor family.  The father was just laid off, the mother was ill, the children were hungry, and the landlord was about to evict them.  The neighbor responded, “Oh that’s terrible.  How do you know them?”  The other replied, “I’m the landlord!”.  This story pointed at the disconnect between the Church’s concern with no practical application.

– He spoke about the importance of belonging over belief.  This one gave me trouble til he clarified that it was post-conversion. 

– Christianity draws a circle but the faithful Christian goes outside the circle and embraces the excluded. – This is another example of the fidelity of betrayal.

– Every time we create a god, we create a bigger/better image of ourselves. 

– Numerous examples from IKON:

       – In such deep conversation with someone that you do not even know their eye color because the                     conversation is so imtimate that you cannot even remember the external. 

      – IKON tries to encourage its people to see its community as a doughnut.  There is nothing in the center          (no pastoral authority/presence), only the person next to you.  So if the person next to you, doesn’t              care, no one is there to help you.  This encourages that each support the other bc no one else is                  going to do it.

– John Franke:

– As Christians, we must speak of God but we are human and cannot.  We must acknowledge our obligation and responsibility in that very way we give glory to God.  (I think it was a Barth quote).

– Barth – to speak about God as God knows Himself to be. 

– John shared on the obligations we have to carry the gospel (we are ambassadors)

– We must neither contradict or cohere for they don’t negate the other.

– It’s a manifold witness.

– Example of four Gospels instead of one.  There is a plurality. 

– We as the people of God to go out to the world by the power of the Holy Spirit…

As mentioned, it really was a great day.  I’ve expressed gratitude in other posts but I look forward for Thomas to send us next year’s email.

Next Challenges in Theology & Praxis for the Missional Church

On October 10, 2008, Biblical Sem will be host: Next Challenges in Theology & Praxis for the Missional Church, which will serve as the Installation Ceremony – John R. Franke as the Lester and Kay Clemens Professor in Missional Theology.

Speakers will be Brian McLaren, Scot McKnight, Tim Keel.

Hey, i don’t care if they are installing energy efficient light bulbs, I’m thrilled my school is doing this.  Seriously, I’m also happy that a guy like John Franke is being celebrated.  A good man who loves God.  His only sin is that he likes the Vikings.  May God have mercy on us all.

Here’s what I know:

Noon – Registration
1:00 – 1:50 p.m. – Plenary session, Q & A with Scot McKnight
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. – Parallel sessions
2:45 – 3:15 p.m. – Snack break
3:15 – 4:00 p.m. – Parallel sessions
4:00 – 4:50 p.m. – Plenary session, Q & A with Tim Keel

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. – Reception with refreshments 

6:30 – 9:00 p.m. – Formal installation ceremony

David Dunbar

Darrell Guder 
Brian McLaren “An Epistemology of Love”
John Franke