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Maybe I will email you. It seems that you're getting quite a push-back from some Anglicans a few replies up. The last thing you need is to answer questions from a merely curious Orthodox Christian with no investment on either side (Anglican or non-denom). Let me just say briefly that if I were a member of New Life (pre-Orthodox conversion) and I was impressed with your new life with Anglicanism I would be more than tempted to convert to Anglicanism and I would choose to attend an Anglican Church in order to get the full flavor. In the months and years ahead I wager you and the New Life pastoral staff will have numerous members who follow my hypothetical situation. I wouldn't be able to carry a "dual citizenship," but that's just me. It would be wholly out of the question in the Orthodox Church. For us it would be the equivalent of continuing to date after getting married. Cheers friend. Good luck!
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Hey Glenn, Been a long time since I've visited your blog so I'm behind on these new happenings. Let me first say congrats to your crossover. It is exciting. Your article and video left me with some curiosity questions, as I'm sure the like of which is becoming a daily social task of question-answer for you at every turn. For starters, is Anglicanism really all that complimentary with independent evangelicalism, and vice versa? You said you were "recommissioned" by the Rwandan Archdioceses as a missionary to New Life. Is this what it sounds like? Are they expecting you to evangelize the evangelicals in your church with the hope of bringing them into the Anglican fold? I'm assuming most Anglicans feel that their church is THE church, the one that has its tradition, theology, and worship which the Holy Spirit has given. Independent non-denominational churches, regardless of how many Anglican traditions they include in their services, are still not "Anglican" strictly speaking. I think you put it best, you felt like a "liturgical thief" prior to making your crossover. Are the rest of the New Life congregants then liturgical thieves since they have not crossed over? I'm not trying to be offensive in any way, so please forgive me if that is the impression. I'm truly just interested in how it all works in a practical sense. In short, if independent, evangelical/non-denom (whatever the right word is) Christians are to mix with Anglican Christians they will have major points of division. To say that there are not these points of division makes the titles irrelevant hence your church should have no problem becoming Anglican, or vice versa, you should not be motivated to become Anglican. At bottom, you must be desirous of converting your flock to Anglicanism. Or no?
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It's always nice to come back to Bonhoeffer. The best theologians in history were ticked off Lutherans. And, if I may add a teeny tiny Orthodox insert into the discussion, the real union of the Church is found in the mystery of the Eucharist - the many becoming one in the Body and Blood of Christ. This is why men cannot on their own create such a communion. The communion is from above, it cannot come from below. :)
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"IF you will grant me victory over these enemies...then I will believe in you..." Ouch. I can't imagine that God is too thrilled with the 'let's make a deal' using the old "If/Then" criteria.
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Rob Bell lost me at "bricks" and "springs". However, I do believe the little frenzy that his new book, which hasn't even come out yet, has created is in large part due to Bell kicking the legs out from under some Protestant sacred cows. His promo video is totally lacking anything that would contradict or offend orthodoxy, at least from what I heard. Excellent and well presented post, Glenn. You're truly a teacher bent on truth and not agenda. Cheers.
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Indeed. The whole point about Adam and Eve and Christ as the "second Adam", and His restoring us to our original state before the fall, etc, is all contained in the idea of being Eucharistic beings. Jesus was THE Eucharistic Being. His entire life was a sacrament - a receiving life from the Father in and through His contact with humanity and the world, His receiving it as His Father's gift and offering it back in a perfect, endless communion. We are invited and gifted with the grace to also be Eucharistic beings here and now. Its not so much that earth "will be" transformed but that it is transformed, just as the Eucharistic elements are transformed, into a sacred meeting place between God and man every moment and every place in which we carry the Holy Spirit. We are after all port-a-temples of the Holy Spirit. This is why obedience and submission to His will is so important, not because it "will" gain us eternal life, but because it is the actual acting out of eternal life here and now. Glenn, I think its time you just come on home to the Orthodox Church. You basically embrace the theology, it would be an easy transition :)
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Well done as always, Glenn. I especially like the point about our message, or rather way or experience, as being incarnational. The Church has always been sacramental. Our Western theologians have often disgarded the Church both as sacrament and as having its primary mission in the world being that of sacrament (this idea is especially guarded by the Eastern Orthodox). Sacrament is a "transforming" of our world into the Kingdom of God by the act of the Holy Spirit - i.e. incarnational. This idea has been all but abolished in the West. Not sure exactly how we can bring it back except to attempt to destroy one very serious false dichotomy: that one must choose between the Church as sacrament or the Church as dissiminator of the Word. We must realize that the preaching of the Word is entirely sacramental, in that it transforms the words written by men into the gospel of Christ, and transforms both speaker and hearer. Also, the idea that preaching and pastoring can be divorced is about as ridiculous as come in terms of modern attempts at innovating the faith. Anyway, just some immediate ideas from reading the blog. Great job, bro!
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Is it possible to have an encounter with the Maker of heaven and earth and not begin immediately to engage your mind in pursuing Him? It would be like falling in love with a girl and taking no interest to know about her intellectually. Of course, some do fall in "love" with girls without the care to know them intellectually. This usually happens when one sees a girl from a distance and her physical appearance, and the way she makes you feel, is what you're really in love with. In short, if you lust after her, "effortless and spontaneous" "magic" indeed take over ones entire being. This shouldn't be how a true child of God relates to Him. If you love how God's presence makes you feel, rather than loving Him, magic is probably all you need. His "disciples" have a much more intense road to travel. This is a great post, Glenn. Keep em coming!
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Awesome article, Glenn. I especially like this line: "Just as porn creates an artificial feeling of intimacy but is grossly depersonalizing in the end, so a leader who gets so caught up in the theatrics of a conference that he tries to re-create the conference atmosphere at home will end up running over people in pursuit of the illusion." Well said!
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Andrew, first point, great insight. You're not the first to note the ACTUAL condition of mind that many homeless people are in. It's usually the people who sit behind academic textbooks and coffee house mugs that think of the homeless as an adstract statistical group that is deprived success because of someone elses success - as if success is a zero-sum game. I appreciate you making the observation. To the second, the OT, and much of Christ's own words, are directed straight at nations as a whole. I think to some extent being part of a particular nation will invite you into a particular blessing or curse based on the social structures and activities surrounding you. However, you're right "Babylon" cannot respond. Only the individuals within her grasp can. But Babylon (as perhaps America now) takes on a symbolic meaning that relates to the 'spirit' of the generation, that which defines much of the thinking and culture of its people. Maybe its the "Babylon" or "Egyptian" or "American" attitude that God is warning us about. I don't know. I think we are essentially saying the same thing. I'm only calling attention to highlighting the "individual" for the sake of moving him out of his abstract religion and into his real life. Great chattin with you, bro. I miss our coffee time:)
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Andrew, sparring partner par excellence indeed:) Let me answer you in reverse: 2.) The problem with the rhetoric of "social justice" is that it means so many different things to so many people, one might as well call it "unicorn hockey" for all the sense that it makes. The term has traditionally, for the left, meant justice in terms of goals and results. Like: everyone should have housing therefore 'give' everyone houses. On the right, it has traditionally been understood to mean the 'process'. Something is just or unjust according to whether we are all held to the same laws. Let the outcomes be what they may. I prefer the latter. If someone is willing to work and buy a home, let him do it accordingly. If not, let him sleep under a bridge. Just let the process be just. I like how Dr. Thomas Sowell put it speaking on social justice: "The question is not what anybody deserves. The question is who is to take on the God-like role of deciding what everybody else deserves." This is not the job of the Church or the government. 1.) To answer your first point, here's a question: when Jesus says "go, and take this gospel to the ends of the earth," or "feed the hungry, clothe the naked" is He speaking to an abstract "crowd" or "public" or to individuals? I like Kierkegaard's words on this: "Christianity has protected itself from the beginning (from permitting us to "run together" in what Aristole called the animal category - the crowd). It begins with the teaching of about sin. The category of sin is the category of the individual. Sin cannot be thought speculatively at all. The individual human being lies beneath the concept; an individual human being cannot be thought, but only the concept 'man.'" I think if we are not careful, you and I will talk past each other on this point. I'm only saying that the gospel speaks to the individual and not some abstract 'group' or 'public,' because, divinely considered, there is no 'group' which God confronts, but individuals within a so-called group. The emphasis is on the individual precisely because it beckons him/her to respond to the gospel and live it. If one considers himself a "mass-man" a "cog in the holy-machine" then no action is necessary. It's the difference of seeing oneself as a single letter in a sentence, or the entire sentence. Alone, a single letter is meaningless/useless. This is the real trouble with what the Evangelical gospel promotes - a "thought" Christianity and not a "living" Christianity. If you want to avoid the former then harp on the individual's response to God - not the mass public's response. Does this all make sense?
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Hey Glenn, I'm enjoying this discussion very much! To your 1st, 2nd, and 4th point, no doubt Isisah spoke of "Messiah ending war, feeding the hungry, ending injustice, making the wolf and the lamb lie down together, all nations coming to worship YHWH, etc" and in there we find part of our calling as His Body in the world to accomplish. The only caveat that I think is vitally important to add is that the Gospel is, throught and through, speaking to the individual and not to society/the crowd. By that I don't mean that He is not speaking to the Church community, but that when He says "feed the poor" he is not asking us to enact legislation that would make it mandatory to feed the poor. He is telling individual believers to take up the responsibility as a response to His grace and love - and not government mandate - to feed the poor. The issue is the believers heart. I can force you to do good, but that doesn't mean you are made good by it, nor does it mean you've glorified God by it. This is probably not your point at all, I don't know, but I hear this sort of "social reform," touted by Christians all the time. Its as if they've confused Marx and Jesus. Accomplishing the work of the Gospel through government power is simply removing the responsibility of the believer and placing it on an abstract entity - "the crowd." Crowds don't have hands and feet, only individuals do. To your 3rd point, I completely agree that Christians must see their day-to-day lives, and their activity in this physical world as consequential to spiritual realities. As James said, "you believe there is one God? You do well, the devils also believe and tremble, but won't you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead." Faith and action, faith and life/works, cannot be divorced. Faith IS the life you live. If one says he knows what forgiveness is but has not forgiven, he's worse than ignorant, he's self-deceived. Ironically, this point goes to make my point above about social justice and the like. One must LIVE his or her Christianity. They must become that sacrifice unto God, doing His will and not their own. But if he or she fluffs off their enacting God's will through their own life by passing the duty to some abstact "crowd," all they've done is dismiss themselves from the duty to have "connected spirituality." Now its the crowds responsibility, and since they are not the crowd, but only a fraction of it, they need not worry about "doing" anything themselves. Again, this may not be relevant to your own perspective of social justice, but it is to the idea of social justice that I often hear. Replacing a funky political-right, Pat Robertson type Evangelical gospel with a funky politically-left, Marxist type liberation gospel is not the vision. When we speak of "social reform" I think this point needs to be made very clear. I tried to condense this, I swear. Cheers.
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Hey Glenn, great food for thought. Here's my initial push-back: 1.) Is it really an Evangelical Gospel that promotes a "detached spirituality," as if the Evangelical Gospel can be separated out from every other movement on this trait. As far as I can tell, detached spirituality, as you describe it, is a human trait and not the result of a specific ideology. Returning to a more Jewish centered way would not help in the least. In fact, Jesus accused the Jewish leaders of His day for practicing the very thing you noted: traveling land and sea to make a single convert, yet unwilling to lift a finger to lighten the burdens of the people. 2.) I hear the call for Christians to enact "social reform" quite frequently, but I'm never sure what the call is exactly calling for. What sort of social reform do you believe the Church should be involved with? And, as a follow up, what evidence from the sermons in Acts do you find for Christian based social reform? 3.) I've also heard the doctrine that Christians should be more earth/environmentally concerned and that modern preaching stears us away from this. I'm not sure how believing that one will leave this earth and go to heaven is a logical straight shot to crapping on the environment. In fact, its brought up frequently by my own pastor. If I believe that I'm going to live on earth forever will that somehow make me recycle more, ride my bike more, use green toothpaste,...? This resent push for a more environmentally aware Christianity has me a little baffled. Not that I intentionally pollute and give earth the middle finger, simply because I do believe in a non-material heaven. But, you get my point. What are your thoughts?
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