Started re-reading Eugene Peterson's Run With the Horses this morning (as if I'm not already reading enough books). He begins the book lamenting how badly we live. "Not so wickedly, he says, "but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly." He goes on to say "We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs." This book was written in 1983! How much truer is it today than it was even then? We don't even apologize for entertainment celebrity anymore. We accept it, indulge it, draw (phony) strength from it.
I don't want to lump well-spoken, well-meaning, mission-oriented, Spirit-filled (let it mean whatever it means to you) Christian celebrities with the vapid celebrity of image, but I am grateful for people in my life who can be real stars without celebrity. And I'm grateful for "conversations" at Emergent with regular folk trying to figure out and live this Jesus-following life.
Jeff and his wife, from right here in the Nashville area for, instance. I approached Jeff in the bathroom (I have no shame) and asked about his church community. Jeff and wife (don't remember her name) are not your traditional Southern Baptists, but true to their SBC heritage, they are mission-oriented. Jeff's frustrated with empty tradition (not that tradition is necessarilly empty), and for his frustration and conviction he's been ousted from his congregation.
But from that bathroom conversation (and the outside-the bathroom-conversation with his wife and two friends) we had said enough to set a breakfast appointment for the next morning. Jeff didn't want to talk about his ousting congregation. He was concerned about the Scripture conversation in the learning community. I hadn't experienced that Scripture discussion yet, but it concerned Jeff. It seemed a litttle TOO open for his taste. If the church is emerging, to what is it emerging? And what is our touchpoint of authenticity, of Christian integrity? If Scripture is not that (I think it largely is), what can we rely on?
I won't bore you with my thoughts on the topic. I'll save that boredom for a later post. This one is about the joy of conversation with Jeff. Since we're local, I'm hoping we can get together to hash this stuff out together.