pastor and a man with a vison
here for books by brian
- what do you feel is the most important part of the
a - Great question. For me -- and sorry if
you were looking for something very profound, because this really is so obvious
and simple -- it's the questioning of modernity. Even today I was
realizing in some new ways the degree to which my thinking has been captive to
modernity. It's not that modernity is bad, any more than my size four
shoes that I loved to wear back in kindergarten are bad ... it's just that
modernity isn't the
one-size-fits-all way of seeing and thinking that we have to squeeze into
q - most define the postmodern movement as a "age thing." while
others see it as beyond a generation. how do you define the postmodern
a - In my opinion, it's certainly not an age thing.
It's an emerging movement that is in its very, very early stages (surely
still far to young to define with any clarity or completeness), united around
the belief that the sets of assumptions, thought patterns, and values that
characterized modernity (both outside the church and in it) are used up and need
to be reexamined, sorted through, and wherever necessary, moved beyond. It
is highly diverse and experimental. It is challenging to all of our modern
"certainties," and for this reason, many people are afraid of it.
But, I am confident that it is a cultural phenomenon that is very open to
the gospel, and in which the gospel will prove as good news as ever.
- what do you see as the most important issue facing
- Inside the church? Rediscovering (sorry to be repetitive here) what the
gospel can mean when it hasn't been sliced and diced by modernity. Outside
the church? I guess the same thing!
- who do you look to for support when you are faced with
a like crisis?
a - I have such a great cadre of friends and family. At
Cedar Ridge where I pastor, I would look to my fellow
staff and board, along with many good friends.
Outside of Cedar Ridge, I have a network of
mentors across the country who I trust and value
immensely. And I am fortunate enough to have a
wise wife, loving parents, and nearly grown children who
are there for me as well. We actually did have a
life crisis a few years ago -- one of our four children
is a cancer survivor. So we learned first-hand how
great it is to be part of a caring network.
- a postmodern mindset tells us that friendships are
extremely important. what do you do at CRCC to help
develop new and lasting friendships?
- Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that we try to create an accepting
environment. We believe that the gospel is about God's acceptance of us,
and we try to live that out with each other. But here in the Washington
area (I think Stephen Shields, who is part of Cedar Ridge, wrote about this) our
great enemy is the speed of life ... and I think all of our relationships
struggle against time pressures, and speed, and hurry. It's not easy, and
I think we all wish we were better at it.
- what do you believe is the best way - not the only way
- of sharing your faith with a
a - I like what my friend Jim Hendersen says ... we
become "Christian consultants" or
"spiritual consultants" to our friends.
Not salesmen. Not preachers. Not
manipulators or broadcasters. We're friends, and
we make ourselves available as consultants or guides to
people in their spiritual journey. I often say
(actually I have a book about this coming out next
spring, called "More Ready Than You Realize")
that the essential thing is "to count conversations
more than conversions." If we are always
trying to convert people, we'll shortchange
conversations -- with all their questions and twists and
turns and ups and downs -- and as a result, conversions
won't happen. But if we focus on asking good
questions and keeping conversations going, conversions
naturally occur. At least, that's how it seems to
me. Sometimes it's just best to ask
questions, like "Tell me about your belief in
God," and then just to listen, listen, listen.
We may preach more effectively by asking questions
and listening than by anything else.... as you are doing
by asking these 7 questions!
- a great many of us see pop culture as an important way
of communicating, what do you believe is the roll, if
any, of pop culture in the church?
a - Well, I think those old lines between pop culture,
folk culture, and high culture are really blurring,
maybe even disappearing. So, to me the issue is
simply recognizing that culture is everywhere, and
churches that think they are isolating themselves from
culture are really only isolating from THIS culture
(i.e. the one into which they were sent by Christ), and
instead, they are staying tied up in some other culture
-- maybe 18th century British culture, or 1950's Kansas
culture, or whatever. I'd rather be part of a
" missional community" engaged with a living
culture than a " museum community" engaged
with a dead one.
The challenge, of course, is to recognize that culture
changes fast -- and we haven't learned very well to be
churches of constant change.