Posts Tagged ‘tony jones’

OK, with my normal book reviews I have to do the whole legal thing of saying I got this book for free in exchange for a review. Not so this time, I had the get the book all on my own (what’s up with that Mr. Kluck?) and then I decided to do a review.

Kinda Christianity is a tongue in cheek, sarcastic little book that is a play off of Brain Mclaren’s book “A New Kind of Christianity”. If you are looking for a book that debates the points Mr. Mclaren made in his book, this is not it. If you’re looking for a book that digs into the theology of Emergent verses the traditional Christian standard, keep looking (Maybe towards “Why We’re Not Emergent by the same author). If you’re looking for a funny take on the stereotypes with Emergent’s loudest voices that bust through the smoke screen of defenses to deflect from the errors with the Emergent movement….. one that will make you laugh and say “That’s not right….” at the same time….. BINGO! You found it!


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I don’t know a lot about Scott McKnight but after reading his latest post (recommended by taddelay, a blogger I casually follow and has posted here before), I want to know a little bit more about him. It appears that he and Dan Kimball (one of the only ones in the “Emergent” movement that I have liked some of his writings) are doing some new things together. I have plenty of more research to do there of course.

Anyways, this lead to another blog which was a response from Tony Jones (an “Emergent” leader who I have not been impressed with in much of any way at all).

In this blog, Tony joins Scott in their disregard for titles such as emergent and emerging. That titles mean nothing and what matters is the heart of any of these discussions.


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The Jedi Error is a concept to me for the last couple years, ever since my visit to Emergent’s Summer Institute. While it originally was a sermon, I also turned it into a blog. You can read more about it there but the basic principle is taking one of the positive elements of Emergent, having conversations, and calling to the ultra conservatives that they could learn from this. Often, the ultra conservative church is not the best at letting people struggle, doubt, and ask questions without judgement. I believe the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit (not one or the other) are strong enough to handle our struggles so we don’t need to be scared to enter into the muck together. Struggle through any situation in the light of the Word and you will be a more loving and stronger person for it.

OK, that said, I have an update on this topic that saddens me. As I continue to talk with people within the Emergent community, read writings of leading voices in the Emergent community, and study more of the latest books and events of Emergent, I must say it appears that Emergent is losing the art of the one main thing I loved about them. The conversation circle appears to be smaller and smaller to only include people that agree with them and becoming more hostile to those who do not.


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The following is a post by Emergent leader, Tony Jones. You can find the orignal at Belief Net.

“I had a long chat with a reporter yesterday. She’s writing a story for News 21 about the changes afoot among “evangelical” voters in the coming election. I put scare quotes around “evangelical” because much of our conversation revolved around the usefulness of that term.

In short, I find the term “evangelical” almost completely unhelpful.


 Here’s why: to most evangelicals – at least those who’ve been to a Bible college, a Christian college, seminary, or been involved in the leadership of an evangelical ministry (e.g., Young Life, Campus Crusade, FCA, InterVarsity) – “evangelical” is a theological category. It represents what one believes about the Bible, about Jesus, about salvation, and about the afterlife.

But to the mainstream media, “evangelical” is a cultural category. One is an “evangelical” based on whom you vote for, whether you listen to Christian radio, shop at Christian bookstores, contribute to evangelical ministries, and vote for certain candidates.

So there’s a great disconnect.

When doing our PhD work at Princeton, my friend Andy Root and I were reading lots of sociological work on evangelicals in America. Andy suggested that instead of the usual sociological markers like whether one considers oneself “born again” or attends an “evangelical” church, we would put together a list of fifty items, including

Chuck Swindoll
Christianity Today
Young Life
Youth for Christ
James Dobson
Wheaton College

Respondants would check any of these names, organizations, and periodicals with which they affiliate, and they would receive a score. Then we would determine a threshold and, if your score is above that threshold, you are an “evangelical.” At least that would make journalists, sociologists, and pollsters happy.

Evangelicals themselves, however, would still be unsatisfied. As the recent Evangelical Manifesto attests, evangelicals still want to be classified theologically. Too bad that document didn’t get nearly the media play that I assume they hoped for…”

Not to boil it too much down to a side point but this was my response.

“Whatever you want to do with “labels”…..Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the person who takes a jab at the “evangelical” were hoping to get media coverage (as if they were doing it more to be in the press than to stand for their beliefs) is the same guy who started his blog by saying he working with a reporter as part of a news story (I assume he MAY be mentioned in that story?).

Kind of a pot calling the kettle black?”

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