Brian Mclaren – Day 1

May 1, 2007

Cellphone-blogging from Achterberg. I’m currently at a camp with Brian Mclaren and 100 South Africans, from different churches. Mostly men, couple of woman. All white. As one lady put it, it’s so white we need sunglasses:-). Well, many places in the church is still only white people, but I kind of hoped that the emerging church conversation in South Africa would be a multi-racial conversation, that we could make a contribution to the global conversation in that way, since we are a multi-racial nation. But I met some wonderfull people, Danie Mouton from PE, we had an extremely interesting conversation over lunch. Spent a lot of time with Doug, also from NieuCommunities, and I finally met Roger, but we haven’t really got to talk. Would like to put a story behind all their ideas I’ve read over the last couple of months. O yeah, and I met Kowie, you will find him commenting on this blog a lot, on Sunday, that was also a great experience. It’t really great meeting the people who’s ideas you have been reading.
Today’s conversation was very introductory, but the questions really push the conversation to a new level. It’s quite a theological conversation, and I get the feeling many people are saying the stuff here that they want to say, but don’t feel comfortable saying elsewhere. Asking critical question about what we believe, and why we believe what we believe. Not really structured, but I think it works.
I like the fact that Brian tries to make this more than a western conversation. In the last Emergent newsletter he also mentioned that. Bringing Africa, America, Asia and all the rest into conversation. Maybe that is the real post-modern thing, not just a couple of western guys thinking how to overcome the problems of modernism.
Two things from today. One was a sad experience. On discussing, over lunch, the fact that there isn’t any black people here, someone said that we need to remember that they have totally different issues than we do, they need to struggle with AIDS and poverty. Well, I thought that we are actually realising that WE need to struggle with AIDS and poverty TOGETHER with those suffering from it? Isn’t that what the missional church is supposed to look like? I hope that a central part of the emerging conversation in South Africa will be AIDS and poverty.
I had a question today, which I asked but it wasn’t really discussed, maybe I’ll get to talk to Brian about it tomorrow, but until then, any thoughts? The question: If we consider the shift in worldview from modern to post-modern (I’m again using the two words I never want to use, but they get used a lot here) to be similar in significance to the shift in worldview from the middle ages to modern, would we again see a shift in the ROLE of scripture, not just HOW we read it? I later-on realised, a better way of asking it would be: Are we experiencing a paradigm shift in WHY we read scripture, not just HOW we read scripture?
Any comments or ideas on the conversation we are having, from you who can’t be here, please leave them. I won’t be able to reply with comments of my own, but I will read them. Hopefully I’ll get time to give you some more from what’s happening here tomorrow.

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4 Responses to “Brian Mclaren – Day 1”

  1. Kowie Says:

    Cobus, Great to be ia a place where people converse about God and why and how to believe. I feel that the reason we keep our conversations about God for certain places and certain days is because He is not a total part of our lives – we tend to give Him an important place, but not a overall, total place in our lives. He should be present in everything we do and think – sorry, I’m going off the subject. Yes, I agree, Aids and poverty is not a black problem, it is a African Christian problem first and second. Yes, I am a South African and a African, and so should everybody be who stay in here. I’m definitely not an European, not after been the 10th generation in this country! Although I differ from a total remix of churches – culture and language will influence the way we worship and where you feel comfortable to worship.
    On the question of the change in worship – from a so-caled modern to a post – modern style. My feeling is that we are moving from a community worship / community religion to a personalized religion. let me explain it a little. In the last couple of centuries (30 – 50 years), it was very mutch part of the tradition to be a Christian and to go to church. People did not tend to think for themselves, but held the preacher in such a high esteem that what he said was the beginning and the end. People did read the Bible, but not for self development, but because of tradition. But something changed and is changing – God is becomming a personal God to people. He speak to them, is going to work with them and become alive through individual studing of the Bible. It is not a tradition thing – it is becoming a me thing. I can be wrong and I am oversimplevying it, but that is the crux. Enjoy being there.

  2. cobus Says:

    Most of us experience our spiritual journeys to have a lot of ups and downs, to take a lot of turns, and for many of us, it’s a growth in spurts. Camps can have this influence. Many times we just go through a certain part of live which cause us to grow. I think this conversation was a occasion for growth for many of us. A kind of growth spurt. God is there always, but in a unique way we growed these past few days.
    For many faith is becoming more communal now. It’s not the “proffesional” tells us everything, but as a community we grow together. Fiath isn’t something to be kept to yourself, as it has been many times in history, and probably will become again, but something to share with others.

  3. Joe Says:

    Neil Cole wrote a book called “Organic Church”. That could be something to add to your mix of reading. What would it look like to plant house churches that then come together on a regular basis for celebration and hearing from a DIVERSE leadership team… all of whom are equal in title and responsibility? Then perhaps when the church barks its “equality” jive, it could be followed up with some “EMPOWERMENT” helping all people find their part in the body of Christ for HIS kingdom growth… for neighborhood transformation…for township transformation… for national transformation


  4. […] I spent 6 years at University, mainly finding an answer to one question: How do we read the Bible? They sent me through two years of studies in Greek and Hebrew, and I took a third year of elective Greek and Hebrew modules, as well as a few post-graduate modules in . Furthermore, a third of my theological training in the six years was spent in New and Old Testament studies, over all six years. Some of our lecturers have made the calculation on the percentage of the course that was spent on questions concerning the Bible: somewhere around 60%. 60% of six years at an internationally recognized university, focused on the question: How do we read the Bible. But the deeper question which I believe we need to focus on is: Why do we read the Bible. (you can read the story of where I first asked this question here). […]


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