We started out our day without hot water to shower in, which was really bad, considering the general lack of heat we experience at the moment. But we survived quite well. This morning we touched on some serious theological stuff, especially penal atonement, which kept us busy for a while. But personally, the two things that stood out today was the missional conversation, and informal conversations.
We heard some stories out of the group of missional experiences. I’m not going to try and retell it, but it was amazing. A woman working with kids on the streets of Durban, a couple seeing how God is working in and through Muslims in Afghanistan. But what really stood out was the fact that so many of us are realizing that this is what it’s about, being a missional community, missional individuals, in this world we are living in.
Pieter just visited today, and we had a really good conversation. We really share this fear that our church would just run with the emerging fad, changing our churches into hip post-modern congregations, but not really working towards being missional communities. Then myself, Roger and Steven had a really good conversation on ‘What is the emerging church’. It doesn’t seem to be that easy a question, seeing that Brian also tried to explain it yesterday, and so many books have been written, and blog-posts, but still we are struggling to define this. Maybe it’s undefinable?

I think the great thing about the conversation was that we had the freedom to change our views, and even the freedom to contradict ourselves. Met more people blogging at Emergentafrica and I had my conversation with Brian on the WHY of reading the Bible. Maybe I’ll blog about it later.

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.