Deep Church 1

Ok, so here we go.  I’m going to throw out several questions that came to mind as I was reading the introduction and first chapter. Feel free to answer any, all, none, others, or ask entirely different questions.

In the Introduction, Belcher paints a picture of the rift that has and opened between the “Traditional” and “Emergent” church.

How aware are you of this growing division?
Would you identify yourself as leaning more traditional or more emerging?
How have you been affected (if at all) by the in-fighting?
Do you think Belcher’s broad strokes paint a fair picture of the current state of evangelicalism? Would you describe it any differently?

In chapter 1, Belcher briefly recounts his own story and relationship with the church.

How has your history with church influenced where you find yourself in relation to these two poles within (North American Evangelical) Christianity today?

Belcher describes a strange sense of being both an insider in the emerging movement and yet at times feeling alienated from (an “outsider’) as well.

Can you identify in any way with that “insider”/”outsider” feeling as it relates to church?

3 Replies to “Deep Church 1”

  1. The reoccuring theme that kept popping into my head during the reading of the the Foreword was “What the heck have I gotten myself into?” I’m quite the simpleton and in no way consider myself a scholar no matter what the subject, and clearly this book was going to fly right over my little pea-pickin head. I mean, where was the cartoon of Calvin and Hobbs to point me in the right direction? But then, the Introduction got me settled down and provided some much needed relief regarding the subject at hand, so I was ready to dive in. I don’t know where this book will lead me….the only thing I do know was that I grew up in a traditional church and it engrained absolutely zero motivation in me to learn about God, and now that I have found a more engaging, contemporary church, the fire at least has been lit to a certain degree. I am certainly unaware of any in-fighting, but even if I were, I am pretty sure I would not care one inch about it all, to be honest. I would equate that fight to 2 brothers arguing over the fastest way to get to a certain vacation destination. It’s not the way you get there that is important, it’s the decision to go in the first place that will matter in the end. That decision is the one that will create the memories, the experiences and endless amounts of photographs that your wife will inexplicably take…I mean, how many shots of the little one holding Mickey’s hand DO you need, anyway?

  2. Gerald,
    The two brothers analogy is priceless. So to press it into use a bit further, what if one of the brothers thinks that the path that the other is taking won’t bring them to the desired destination? That the road they are planning to travel is a road to nowhere. AND what if the other brother (younger?) was convinced that while they may be ending up at the same destination, but that the real stuff that makes the vacation is the journey there? And that the road they are taking offers so much more. AND what if that same younger (now sounding somewhat arrogant) brother thought that in their efforts to encourage others to take the journey with them was convinced that the older brother’s itinerary isn’t going to be one bit interesting to anyone considering the vacation? So at this point, the older brother gets very offended and puts the younger brother in a full-nelson, and says, “little punk, quit being such a whiner baby.” Ok, so maybe the last bit didn’t happen, but you get the idea.

  3. Brothers? I thought we were talking about churches. Very confused…

    In all sincerity, this issue is alive and well with me. After spending 3 years in college at THE mega-church of mega-churches, Willow Creek, I experienced one side of the spectrum (though they’ve recently begun to shift), I then moved to Southern Baptist, bible-belt whipping, Appalachian Mountains, “Victory in Jesus”-singing, Hazard, KY. After more than a year there, we moved back home to Fellowship North here in North Little Rock, a church that is closer to a “deep church” than perhaps it realizes.

    I’ve personally experienced both far-ends of the church, and am personally invested in finding the “third way” here as I work in full-time ministry. There is something big and important brewing in the church landscape as a whole, and I’m hoping this book continues to illuminate that to each and every one of us. Here’s hoping. Here’s praying.

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