Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A request for progressive church links, news?

Hope you all who visit can send me links to stories about what, if anything, the churches in the general sphere of "religious left" or "religious center" are currently envisioning or doing when it comes to church planting.

I am hoping to moderate if not eliminate my current hypothesis that the religious left is trying to "take back religion" from the religious right by resorting to publishing books about how the religious right is so contrary to the message of Jesus; instead of trying to do so through church planting, which is one of the ways the religous right got to be so numerous. There is no shortage of these books right now and I will be posting from my recent diving into the most public of the books, and rarely if ever in these books is the role of church planting mentioned (and in fact only vaguely is the role of any kind of new community building mentioned). It's as if we are just going to convince the unchurched and dechurched that they should help progressive/liberal faith and churches because we have a better arguement, a truer arguement, and through such enlightenment all will be well.

I am building my essay on why liberals take this approach and what it costs us, but I sure hope I am missing something in the books and websites both institutional and bloggers. Where are the other progressive planting voices from the center/left here? I know they are out there. My hunch is you can find them through local church plant websites if you know where they are and are on the ground near them, but not through any visibility given to them through denominational websites, events, publications, etc. Maybe that is a mutually agreed upon strategy these days, helping both local church plant and the denomination to stay out of hot water with their own core, and differing, constituents.

4 comments:

Ron said...

Also, in creating authentic new communities, in Christ, mission has a way of tearing down the labels religious right, center, and left. Not erasing the well-differentiated person in community, who is able to laugh at his or her most strongly held committments while still holding them. But, ala Paul in Galatians, there is something Greater that all identify with and serve. Or, ala Paul in Corinthians, try to...:)

Peachcreek Media said...

Ron Killer posting. I participated in a church restart in the Minnesota Annual Conference of the UMC. The bulk of what went wrong could be attributed to lack of knowledge around how to do a successful launch. The irony is most conservative churches want to provide feedback. We simply can't get past our own prejudices to get the knowledge. My launch failed, but I know that next time I am going to partner across the theological spectrum with folks who know how to plant....And I'll probably do it non-denominational!

Ron said...

Thanks Ron K. I know there is a lot more experience shining through what you posted. It has been my understanding, and a little experience, that planting in the UMC varies so much from area to area depending on how permission-giving there is from the D.S. and Bishop, but I wonder if there is a theological component there too. That maybe the places where the churches lean more theologically conservative have more connections and relationships already with the conservative churches that are planting and growing and so fewer prejudices and less fear to get over.
I wonder how much pre-launch coaching you had too? My hunch is that progressives tend to "submit" themselves to that, or to provide the opportunities, for that, either from lack of available resources or those fears and prejudices again that you mention.
These are all questions and speculations without knowing the context and situation.
Also, how much of the failure to launch do you think might have been due to it being a re-start?
Good luck and prayers on your next plant.

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