« I'm Back!! | Main | You rocked my world, Wilbert Shenk! »

August 03, 2005



So wonderful here, Ryan - so many times in our story, we offer to God part of ourselves - can I follow you and still be x or y or z

the Incarnation is pretty clear: no, then yes, but ultimately, why ?


sometimes I think you have to be to be emergent...Christian worldview is a perfectly fine phrase might 1 add

small rant:No POMO
emergent defined: post evagelical, indie coffee shop intelligetical, moderate theologians who are starved for litergy and candles in a 21 century missional context who are focused on the arts, questioneering the new pomo world (not porno) and jesus and social issues.

yeah I am a bit Post modern emergent-ed out but they are still cool...


I like your answer, Ryan.

+ Alan

Glad to see you back in the blogosphere Ryan. One thing that was a bit troubling in your student's question - something you may bring up with them - was the statement...

"postmodern, i.e. emerging"

That's a problem thought that I've been trying to point out for a while and it keeps cropping up. I guess saying it again won't hurt. The entire "emerging church" phenomenon is NOT dependent on postmodernism. In other words, I do not believe one needs to be a "committed postmodernist" (whatever that is) in order to be involved in a community that is a part of the emerging church.

Again, it's unfortunate that a certain sector of this whole "thing" is limelighted and therefore, in the minds of outside onlookers, end up defining everything.

Besides all that, it's not something you "join" like a denomination or club. "Put your hand on this Brian McLaren book and repeat the following oath/creed..." Not quite. Peace to you.


Yes, as long as your Sermon on the Mount is the same as Jesus' recapitulation of the entire OT law and prophets brought into clearest focus through his renewal of the older misunderstood and mismanaged revelation.

I hear so much Sermon on the Mount stuff that is a bit too far removed from Matthew's lens. To be cliche, the North American Church often preaches the Sermon on the Amount.

The Sermon on the Mount always kills me - I think Jesus meant it to. He stretches the boundaries of the kingdom into his realm of sheer grace. John 17 gives me hope and a way into the trinitarian life. The way through suffering...

Any Rabbi can pontificate upon a hillside. When Jesus descended from that place what was the first thing that happened?

A leper cleared the air, "Lord, if you're willing you can make me clean."

From Isaiah 1 (NIV)

Ah, sinful nation,
a people loaded with guilt,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the LORD;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.

Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.

From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with oil.

Of course Jesus was willing to make him clean. He was willing to make them all clean - to touch them all with that coal from the altar. In Word and Deed, revealling His Way. The burning ember of His sacrafice.

Some say "Do". Some say "Be". Jesus said, "dobedobedobedo."

Ryan Bolger

I agree, one does not need to be a postmodernist per se to be 'emerging'. However, someone looking to embody church life in these emerging cultures will share common cause with much of the postmodern critics have said and done: offering a challenge to secularity, i.e. pointing out the spirituality of everyday life, offering a challenge to individualism, a challenge to disembodied spirituality, a challenge to hierarchical power relationships...and the list goes on...Postmodern critics offer tools to listen to the marginalized, point out other options. True, we don't need to align ourselves with postmodernists, but they offer an extremely helpful set of tools to those seeking to do mission in the West.

Ryan Bolger

yes, i agree -- the sermon the mount that challenges all our loyalties and models a completely different reality to be lived among the various sub-cultures of the world.
Thanks for the post.

ray rawley

I would love to be part of a world where people no longer think of themselves as conservative or liberal, or even modern or postmodern or emergent, or whatever label we are prone to give ourselves and others, part of a world where we (the blood-bought)are seen only as being Christ. I realize that we feel it neccessary to have a framework in place or a context for our culture, but my desire is to mature beyond any of that. I live in a very rural area of Southeast USA. The discussions that take place surrounding much of the emergent church (involvement of the arts, questioneering the pomo world, etc.) has little if any to do with life out here. I would scarcely even consider these folks modern, and consider them blessed because of it. All they want is religion that is real and to be with people they can read well, people who mean what they say, say what they mean, and do what they are supposed to. They are simple folk and pray that their lives only simply show Jesus to the world around them.

Ryan Bolger

Ray, thanks for your comments on traditional culture and faith. I wish you well on your service to them...


I'm amazed at the lack of logical consistency espoused in the emerging postmodern perspective. You reject (sort of) the notion that one must become liberal to be emerging because the very nomenclature is a modernist construction in that it "holds up single ways to view things." But then you go on to note the authority of the Sermon on the Mount as the ultimate arbiter of political action, holding it up as the single way to view political engagement. Furthermore, your identification itself of "liberal" and "conservative" as a modernist construction is a single way to the view modernist ideology. Moreover, how many emerging leaders are actually "politically conservative, economically pro-capitalist, theological”?

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Hi, welcome to my former blog! My name is Ryan Bolger, and this is where I posted my thoughts on Jesus, culture, new forms of community, among other things. Come visit me at my new blog: http://www.ryanbolger.com. I still teach at Fuller Seminary in Southern California where I'm doing some writing as well. Feel free to bounce around the new or old website -- I hope it might stir your imagination -- feel free to stir mine as well by leaving some comments, preferably at the new site... Peace...


  • www.flickr.com
    thebolgblog's photos More of thebolgblog's photos

Fuller Seminary

Current Classes

Upcoming Events

Recent Events




Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2005