Thursday, October 22, 2009

One Step Closer to Knowing

By the end of tonight, I will have had a total of 3 classes in the past two weeks, as opposed to my normal 4 every week (8 every two weeks). Last week was "Reading Week" for Gordon-Conwell, but since I still have a class down at Boston College through the BTI, Ethics in an Ecumenical Perspective was still on! This week, two of my teachers had cancelled class for the week, so suffice to say I have had lots of time to read from the stacks of books that are required, work on my photography skills, and knock out a paper for my Calvin class (of which I promise to share my thoughts on tomorrow, but am not fully ready to blog about today).

For today, I have a rather "humorous" observation from my most eye-opening class of the semester - Ethics in an Ecumenical Perspective. It has not been the reading that I have found particularly eye-opening. I mean, for the most part I have understood that Catholics and Protestants think differently, approach ethics differently, and therefore, our writing on the subject will differ. What has been most eye-opening to me has been my interactions with my fellow classmates. The woman that I sit next to in the class, let's call her Kerri, happens to be a practicing Universalist (they come in all shapes and sizes at these "Jesuit" schools!). For the most part, she has identified whole-heartedly with those Ethicians that have proclaimed an Ethic of Love, Free-Spirited Will, and Good for Humanity type stuff. For those of you who are lost - just think Utopian Society based on Love and Respect for Humankind (without the hippy-dippy free love of it all).

For this class, we have a rather daunting 25-30 page paper that is due by the end of the course, and since we are quickly approaching November, most of the students' thoughts have turned to this paper along with their topics of conversation. So, Kerri asked me what I would be doing my paper on. I told her that I would be exploring this movement in the Evangelical world called the Emerging/Emergent Movement/Church (I am not going to particularize here on the differences, if any), their theological ethic, and how this has affected the Gospel of Jesus. She was intrigued and asked a little more about this, so I let her know that this movement was very missional focused, and related a lot to what Stanley Hauerwas (a moral theologian that we had read about three weeks prior) had written about in his book Resident Aliens. She asked what I meant by them being missional focused, so I told her that they had gone above any approach prior in Evangelicalism on how to affect and care for the poor, needy, diseased, etc. Their focus was to be like Jesus - the "pure Jesus" that came with a message of healing, etc.

I want to disclaim right here and now that I am still in the early stages of my study on this paper, so there will be more unfolding on this topic, but this is what I understand about this movement so far.

After I told her this, she got really excited about the movement, and asked what exactly I was against with it. Simply put, the Emerging Movement is doing great things in the way of affecting the world, the poor, and those that Jesus would have gone to first; however, there is an EXTREME disconnect between what they are doing, and what they are presenting as the Gospel. Long gone are the days of unrighteousness, sin, and repentance. The Gospel has become something else - a Secret Message, something that the Church has gotten wrong for centuries, and something that today is too offensive to be a part of any longer.

The funny thing is that by the end of our conversation, I gave her the name of some Emerging writers and their books, hoping that this would be a step in the right direction, leading her to a saving faith with Jesus. Maybe there can be something good that comes from this after all? Who knows except God above.

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