Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What an interesting day it's been! I had lunch plans with Cole Young (Ken's son) at, yes, Baja Burrito. (Clarissa clearly does not get the deep profound meaning of good Mexican food.) As I waited for Cole, I talked with Greg Wilson who was also waiting for DAREN STANLEY. As Greg and I talked it was like a teaser for my afternoon at Emergent. Even though Greg and I share many of the same opinions, even though we worship together at Otter Creek, even though we have similar backgrounds, we were still missing each other with terminology. (nothing huge, but still) Too lengthy to get into, but it struck me. Communicating can be so tricky. Words like "missional", "Church" etc. bring a certain amount of baggage--even though they're great words. Greg encouraged me so much in talking through some things but as we talked I thought it's no wonder we have such a hard time communicating with the world. Sometimes we can't even understand each other! Hold that thought.

So, at Emergent, they have us broken into these things called Learning Communities. We have 4 sessions with the same community and then there are the other seminar offerings where you can choose for yourself where to go. My Learning Community heard from Todd Hunter and John Franke today about "Truth". Now, as you can imagine, it was DEEP. Geez-o-pete. Seriously, some great stuff! It made me really think about communication...our communication with God and each other. We are finite beings. God is Infinite. As I listened to John Franke speak I wrote in my notes, "The language of God and man intersects at our ability to understand the infinite." God reveals Truth (Himself) to us in ways that we can somehow try to grasp, and yet--he IS Truth. He IS Infinite. We are boxed by our understanding, our surroundings, our background, our sin, etc. We are finite. It made me think about Maddie and Ella. There are certain truths I want them to know. And yet, I can't talk to them like I would to an adult. I have to try and put it in their frame of reference. I might use stories, illustrations, etc. to help them understand, and yet they are still somewhat limited by their experience and age. Is this making any sense? We make these outrageous claims to know all truth. I think that through relationship with Truth, He gives us peeks into His nature and His will, but we can never fully know (in my opinion) the fullness of the Infinite. We are like Maddie and Ella--trying to understand in our limited way. The funnier thing is when Maddie and Ella try to tell each other the right way to do things. (While either not making any sense or sometimes completely missing the point.) Again--like us. Obviously, there is a role here for the Holy Spirit--wisdom, discernment, etc. But, in our most Spirit filled moments, we are still, as Paul said, "Looking through a glass dimly." One day, my friends, one day!

The thing Franke said toward the end of the session that I thought was so good was, "The best apologetic is not an argument but a way of life, community and a living faith. Many people are won to community before they're won to faith."

This totally resonates with me in things I've been thinking about lately. Community is so important. Through community we can hold each other accountable, practice group discernment, pray for real needs, hold up tired arms and feeble knees, and practice real Jesus-breathed love.

I know these are random thoughts at best as I am processing through today. I believe there is absolute Truth with a capital T. God is Truth. I won't ever pretend to fully grasp Him. My life will be spent in that endeavor, and through His Spirit I will have moments where He will give me glimpses into the Infinite. But only glimpses. Through relationship with Him I can become more and more familiar with Truth as it changes my life.

I'll close with this. There's such power in authenticity. People really don't care if you know all truth. They care more if you're truthful. Are we authentic? Is our faith a way of life? That seems such a more difficult challenge than to claim to know all truth.

More tomorrow.


Owen B. said...

Brandon -- thanks for posting on Emergent! I was hoping you would. I so wanted to be there but just couldn't swing it.

Wow! That's pretty simple but pretty deep! What you said in your second post today is said much better than I've said it, but I've been wrestling with the same thing. One of my posts on my blog generated a really interesting comment from my friend Marshall tonight, related to what you've shared here. You might want to check it out sometime. It's the fifth comment under my post entitled "locked in Manzanar". I had said in a comment to one of his comments, "The last (i.e. final) thing I would suggest is that perhaps we read God wrong in these sacred writings. Perhaps our impression of God is more reflective of our systemized theologies about him and less reflective of the experiences of his interactions with people in the stories we read there." Marshall was reacting to that statement. His response makes one think. Forgive me for going on about this on your blog, but his comment tonight and yours seemed a bit more than coincidence.

Please keep posting about Emergent. At least we can get a taste of it from your writings. (I'm especially interested in the learning community topic that McLaren is involved in [not just because of McLaren, but because of the topic].)

Wish I was there! Oh, do I wish I was there!


k2 said...

so how was your meeting with cole? any word on a "stream in nashville" now that hallal is in nashville/franklin? i know ken was working on, or wanting to have something like "stream in the dessert" in nashville.

Clarissa said...

Some (or many) would say there are many (or some) things about which I "clearly do not get the deep profound meaning". Apparently one of my lots in life, though my hair is decidedly several shades darker (and much flatter) than it used to be.

Looking forward to seeing how what you learn this week impacts us at OC.

Deb said...

Okay, now I need an absorption break ...

Love and blessings, and THAT'S the truth, Sweet Thang!

Tim Castle said...

"...profound meaning..." ?? You mean, of course, profound NECESSITY!!!!

I keep thinking that the emergent movement, along with all of us who are thinking and talking about the same kidns of things, are spending a lot of time and words to say something simple: Live your life in such a way as to show people that God loves them. Everything else is extrapolation and implementation. I hope that emergent thinking doesn't systematize itself out of the richness of that idea.

Randy said...

Good post. Good comments. Great closing thoughts.

Brandon, you can bet your words will end up in a sermon of mine!

k2 said...

if you meet a guy from arlington, tx, named ryan gibbons, tell him ken harris is jealous!, and i'll see him sunday night.