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Friday, April 27, 2007



Brodie, I have started to post on why I was wrong to use the word DEBATE on my blog.

However, my dictionary says one of the meanings of the word debate is:
to deliberate; consider

and that was part of the "conversation" for me....to consider something I don't know as much about as other people do

surely that's OK.....

Chris Goan

Hi Brodie

Thanks for the invite and inclusion to the discussion the other day. A few thoughts linger with me, and so I need to work hard to be concise!

Firstly, the more I think about it, labels can be dangerous and misleading, and this seems to be as true of the EC label as any. The EC is not a constituted, organised body, and never will be. The label has two main uses then- it brings us together for conversation and critique, (eg wed. night) and it gives some a target to shoot at! I think some (Like Gibbs and Bolger) have had a good stab at trying to pull together some common strands, but there is always a danger of descibing something into existance. My own experience of EC and such projects, are that few groups have ALL the supposed common features!

Like many though, I have found a home and a passion within this new unfolding debate- which has almost given legitimacy and direction to where my heart already lay. In many ways, the theological debate has always been secondary to its practical outworkings however- the need to live and love in community, and to seek to serve as agents of the new Kingdom. Also, the application of these ideas can only really be seen or tested in the small landscape of personal relationships. For me, working as a social worker in a small Scottish town, the fact that churches are largely irellevant to the dayly life of most of the towns inhabitants became impossible to ignore.

So back to the point of my post (oops, verbosity has taken over again!) the Scottish Context. I have thought long and hard about this, as I feel the need to be careful. Almost like a White South African pronouncing on the race issue. I am English. Actually I am half Irish, but my accent is from south of the border. But outsiders, if I am one, often provide a good commentary on culture. We might miss some of the fine nuances, but some of these are perhaps not as relevant as we would like them to be anyway!

I think that these are some of the relevant questions to ask-

What forms the character of place?
A convergance in the personality traits of locals? Styles of communication and how we deal with conflict?
Economic factors- predominant forms of employment, poverty?
Religion?- is this shaped by the above, or is it always subject to contextual adjustments?
Our chosen leisure pursuits, and use of alcohol/drugs?
Politics- who do we collectivise our debates?
Change! What is changing- who are the winners and the loosers, is this embraced or resisted? does it lead to confusion and a crisis of identity, and if so, what do we define ourselves with and against?
(There will be more!)

I think that all of the above will form our society- both in a hard to define national sense, but also, in varying degrees, locally. I have some thoughts about what might be my answers to some of these in my context, but would be interested in othre peoples thoughts.

As to how this relates to the usefulness that EC may or may not provide in Scotland, I suppose that I start with my friends. We are a strange collection of folk from Dunoon, England, Germany, Wider Scotland, Ireland. Some of us are not really interested in Theology, and are sick of the word 'postmodern'. However, we have this common thread- a sense of release from the controlling influence of religion, and an engagement once again with Jesus. Can it really be that simple- where ever we start from???

I have waffled long enough...

Thanks again


Duncan McFadzean

Brodie, I'm just back from the Q conference in Atlanta which was on how the church can shape culture, by interacting with the various areas of culture (business/ government/ arts & entertainment/ media/ politics/ social sector/ church ) - but what was encouraging was that it was a missional outward focus predominantly, rather than an attractional mindset. Of the 750 attendees, there was only 5 from the UK....we came away feeling that there is a lot from it that can translate pragmatically (although will need to be though through) but there's still an argument for doing something similar over here. The reason I wanted to mention this is to just to say that there are conversations on emerging/missional/church going on at Morningside Baptist Church (I think Stuart might even have been preaching there when I was in the US) and so I'll be keen to hear where you go with this.

I've read through your papers and can't disagree on the institutionalism point - having live in London for a decade and worked in finance, it's been like night and day coming to Scotland sometimes!

So just to say, I'm thinking what it means to be missional, as an individual and as a leader in the church.


Chris - Thanks for you comment and thanks again for you guys making the journey


Duncan - the Q conferance sounds like it was good. will watch your blog to see what your thinking about how to live missionally.


I think we veered off topic a bit in that we didn't interact enough IMHO with the Scottish issues.

I've been thinking a lot about this since a similar comment was made on Stuart's blog. I definately think I had to understand more about emerging church before I could start to think of it in a particularly Scottish context. You and others were starting from a different place from me in relation to your knowledge about emerging church. So having learned more and thought about this........I'm ready for another cnversation sometime where we focus on the Scottish bit.


Margaret - great to hear we did not put you off and that you are ready for more.

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