Monday, August 20, 2007

Ken Silva Calls Me Out - The Gathering as Clueless, Blind Guides

Thank You to our buddy Zaque for calling our attention to this post by anti-emergent church fellow Ken Silva. Ken is living in New Hampshire, so I will need to visit him someday soon - well, after returning from France, and the UK.

He noticed that we held our "God: For People Who Hate Church Conference" back in May and decided to respond to it, and even to link to one of the dialogues.

Now he responded to the dialogue, which can be downloaded here, with these words:

"Although these people are currently spiritually clueless they do know the repainted social gospel and theology, such as it is, of the emerging church quite well. But the tragic truth is we are not dealing with the orthodox Christian faith here. No; rather this is a mish-mash of things roughly related to Christianity which they simply pick and choose by their own existential and highly subjective feelings about what they think God might be doing.

After listening to this the discerning Christian will hear the Voice of the Great Shepherd say – “Leave them; they are blind guides.”"

You can find Ken Sliva's daitribes against anything even remotely Emergent (which tag I am not sure I fully fit) at this website. He is sure that I am part of a neo-liberal cult, and with my friends moving toward the "religious bondage of Roman Catholicism."

What do you think?

I tend to think that he has replaced Roman Catholic Bondage (whatever that is) with his own brand of theological, and practical do and don'ts which look even more like the bondage of the law than anything he berates.

I guess this post came out a couple days ago, while our missions team was returning from London, and I was bunking up at Mike and Jules' place.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Greetings from the Fringe

Here we are in Edinburgh Today. I'm sitting in a pub with wireless access near High Street where the action is centered in this combination of over half a diozen festivals which occur in August. My city of Salem could learn a lot from this larger city of Edinburgh, Scotland on how to create a festival - or a series of them over month.

We are on a recon mission to see who we might crash The Fringe in the future. This is one of those locations from which someone could reach the world. Great city - great festival - tons of opportunity to present the Gospel in unique ways.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

O'r Eisteddfod yn Gogledd Cymru - From the Eisteddfod in North Wales

Shwmae Frinddiau,

I am able to access my Blogger account for the first time since being here at the fiirst time since being here in thee UK. The WiFi internet access is desperately slow here on Maes B at the Welsh National Eisteddfod, but perhaps I can get a few words out before I disappear into a kinder, gentler medeival existence once again.

Here's what we have done since being in the UK as of August 3rd:

First we traveled from Gatwick Airport in south London to South Oxfordshire, an area recently in the news for being among the flooding which has occurred in the UK. The Lammas Games were being set up. The Games is a gathering of Druids organized by the Druid Network. We offered to interpret dreams for people for free, and we arrived with no resources to host our space on the event. But help arrived. Our dear friend Stephen Nicholson brought tents to sleep in, chairs, and a table for our set up. We then built our own table from rough hewn logs on the property of Brazier's Park. We then helped set up the stage for the event. The stage was to host a competition for the Spear of Lugh. This would be held for the year by the Druidic Bard.

We did not have many takers for Dream Interpretation during the Saturday of the event, but the few we had were profitable and helpful to people. We did however hold many discussions, and were asked many questions about our faith. People who were raised Christian, but have since embraced alternative spiritualities such as Druidism, and Witchcraft came to ask us questions. They wondered why we were there, sometimes even wondering how we could be there, but after some time we thankful for our presence, and admitted to still admiring (even loving Jesus) although rejecting the Church. We will be continuining to keep in contact with these people in the future. Later that day I competed in the bardic competition. I did not expect to even be considered among the possible winners, because I am not a Druid, but some of the people considered me a crowd favoriet with my song Cum Tacent Clamant, and its Latin chant whicch I taught the crowd.

Later that night we sat raound the fire and swapped tales, and songs, and poetry which Pagans are often known to do, and once again discussions of our faith, and stories of our life in Jesus became the order of the evening. I am so thankful for a team of people who are able mix with a Pagan crowd and feel confortable being themselves, and sharing their life in a manner which is simple, gentle, more like Jesus, and less like the expectations of typical evangelistic campaigning. Kudos to Carlos, Josh, Mizumi, Elizabeth, and Kevin. Each person has their own tales to tell about this event.

On the third day we arrived at Y Gorlan at the Welsh National Eisteddfod late at night. Since then we have been supporting the team of evangelical Christians who run the food service tent on the Youth Field (Maes B), which is an all Welsh Speaking week long concert series. We have been preparing, and serving food at a drunken youth event for the week now. The food tent (Y Gorlan - meaning The sheepfold) is a 24 hour service, and so we are keeping strange hours to help out. I have been working from midnight to 4am, which is the rush hour strangely. No one on this trip has ever seen such drunkenness with so many people all at once, and most of them under age. I warned them that this would be what the Maes B was like, but they were still surprised. It is surrealistic to find this in the middle of an otherwise squeaky clean event which the Welsh National Eisteddfod is, but relationships are developing, and we are able to help those who speak Welsh to do more serve food, but to share their faith with others. The opportunity to reach people here is great, and as of yet relatively untapped, and I hope for great thigns in coming years. I would like to return for next year's event which will be in Caerdydd (Cardiff, South Wales).

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lammas Games, Eisteddfod, The Fringe, Mike and Jules, and Taize

So, the title lists places I will be in the next month. Thank you to all who have made this trip possible - both the mission, and the sabbatical. Hopefully I will be able to blog from Europe, and give some details while I am away.

Joy fills my heart. My hiraeth will be soothed shortly, when I cross the border and see the sign which says "Croeso." Wales here I come.

I have been short on blogging while I prepared for this trip. The same may be true while I am gone, but we will see. II will return to my home in Salem, MA on September 4th.