Thursday, April 13, 2006

What am I????

I had a converstaion last night with a guy about theological denomational type things. During the course of the converstaion I said I appreciate and believe that Christians and the church should be responsive to the work of the Spirit.... "Ah" he said, "so you're a pentecostal", My response
"Well if that means I believe that God's Spirit it at work in the world, and we need to respond to and find where the Spirit is at work, then yes I am a pentecostal, but if it means swinging from the chandeleres in worshop then no I am not a pentecostal."
I continued the drift of this converstaion with someone else today when I described myself as evangelical with a small 'e'.
It seems to me that the old labels do not fit, not just me but many people are finding the same thing, recently a collegue of mine has gone to another denomination that I thought they would never consider.
Brian McLaren wrote a book with a great title that i think describes the phenomenon:
- A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished CHRISTIAN
I think McLaren again hit it on the head in this. So here is my take on this.
Once upon a time a person would nail themselves to a denomiation and theological stance within that denomination. I think the same holds true but the nail is attached to a bungy cord which is then attached to one's foot. Allwoing freedom of expression that the theological/denominational position could not give but also allowing breadth and the ability to move.
So theologicaly I am but I am not also, Does this position feel uncomfortable? Absolutely not - it is a blessing, something that I hold prescious too, soemthing that i believe make sense of the gospel.


Stephen G said...

Interesting thoughts. I'd posit that we're post-denominational now though (esp. in NZ). Where people look for a congregation that affirms a basic set of values first (and not just theological positions). Those values might be - are children incorporated as valued members of the community? Or what is the worship style? Are the people friendly? How much commitment is demanded?

Within that context then questions are asked of doctrine (if at all).

When coming to a new place/town the denominational link may play a part initially (esp. if there's a great deal of homogeneity within the denomination) but only initially I'd argue.

michael said...

Thanks for the comment my only question is can and should values and theoligcal beliefs or doctrines be seperated?
While they are not the same thing clearly they shape one another - or they should. As someone involved in youth ministry my values and what I look for in a church are shaped by my theological understanding of young people - see post
They are theological also and shaped by my emergingingly messy theology. I would suspect that similar thinking under pins many people's values