Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Friendly Conversation

A conversation/video blog between Tony Jones and John Crisham.
Tony Jones, along with his blog writing, is head of Emergent Village, and has a new book: The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. John is a Pastor, and a big contributor to the evangelical blogosphere who has been very vocal in his opposition to Tony and the Emergent movement. I thought that this was an enlightening conversation, no matter which side you may fall on. I would love to see more people who profess faith in Christ stop attacking each other and have more conversations.

What are your thoughts? fav. comments? questions? let me know!


  1. Thanks for posting this interview. I really enjoyed this discussion and have a new respect for Tony on how well he handled this discussion.

    Still can't past the way those "on other side" (like John Crisham) seem so certain in their belief. It always seems fake to be inable to humbly say "I don't know". Boiling God down to their own little box just doesn't work for me.

    Again, enjoyed the interview!

  2. yeah, I thought others would enjoy this.

    At our group last night we talked a lot about FEAR being a driving force in EVERYTHING we seem to do. I've actually been focusing on "certainty" in our faith a lot on another blog discussion. I think that certainty in faith (as with most things) is a coping mechanism for the fear that we have. So MUCH emphasis in religion was placed on "knowing" and being "certain" in the 20th century mainly as a REACTION to things religion was against...or feared. Science had a way (scientific method) of "being certain" or at least "proving", and this upended the idea of "belief without proof" ideas of the Ch. Thus enters the theologians and apologeticits. They set out to "prove" those things they they already believed.

    The problem I have with that, is that it is a departure from the scientific method, and a departure from traditional ideas of faith being a mystery. They seemed to stray from both; not completely embracing the new, and almost completely throwing out the old.

    The scientific method is based on a HYPOTHESIS. Yes you start out trying to prove something that you think or believe to be, but you don't warp the path or results to prove your hypothesis. That's because their is just as much to gain from the wrong hypothesis as there is to gain from a correct "guess". In an experiment, ALL the data is taken into account and given fair credit.

    However, in the apologetic discipline, what is believed (the faith hypothesis if you will) will be proven by the person setting out to prove it. If questions or "data" comes up that contradicts the finding or simply calls up some areas of question and unexplainable portions, then those things are tossed out in favor of the "logic" that proves the argument.

    Where is the mystery in this? Where is God allowed to move?

    I think fear caused and still causes a lot of REaction (as opposed to action) in our religion.

    so yeah, this topic has been on my mind a lot. People are scared what might happen when what they "know" to be true no longer stays true. Hence why we always get the same canned arguments (I've never heard Crisham speak before doing the background for this post, but I have heard his same arguments from many, many people!) about the same questions/beliefs from many sources.

    I think mystery scares people. I know it scares me at times. It's sooooo much easier to believe the simple faith I had as a teen: "There's a God, There's Jesus, There's heaven, There's hell, you have a choice, and that's ALL there is to the Christian faith!"
    But there's so little value and direction in that for me personally now. I think you would agree.
    It lacks passion! I think the reason (as Trace pointed out last night) is because passion is a proactive emotion, while fear is a reactive one. You can't be proactive while weighed down by the reactive.

    As a side note, another person at our discussion last night called his theology his "God Box". That admits that we ALL place God in some box, but that some of us are more aware of it and fight against it more than others!

    thanks for your thoughts,
    I'd love to hear anymore you have!


  3. 2 Things:
    1) I love that while both of these men are considered spiritual leaders, neither can cite the scriptural references for the opinions they espouse. Well, other than John 3:16..I'm sure their pastors/professors would be proud!
    2) Is the term "agnostic Christian" not somewhat of an oxymoron? I understand what he is trying to say, but to say he isn't even sure if there is a God seems a little spiritually immature. I think he would be better served to express doubt in his religious system, as we all should, rather then in the God that he serves every day. He knows there is a God, he is just uncertain of what it means to believe in him.

    Good post Justin...keep 'em comin'!