Friday, April 24, 2009

Wesleyan/Anglican on Facebook

Just to let everyone know, Wesleyan/Anglican now has a group on Facebook! There are 46 members, according to my last count.

So far, there has not been much conversation!! However, that could change at any minute! - In addition, the Facebook group could be a means of networking with others of similar interests and convictions.

If you are on Facebook, and you have not yet found the group, it is located at

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An Evening with Marva Dawn, Robert Webber & Dan Kimball: Explanation & Comments

(See the previous two posts prior to reading.)

You will notice that we did not spend much time talking about worship. However, for those who are familiar with Robert Webber, you will have noticed that the evening followed his often used analogy of the ancient four-fold pattern of worship. There were rituals of gathering, rituals of communication (service of the Word), rituals of relationship (service of the Table), and rituals of departure.

Bob and Marva were both committed to this pattern. Marva’s commitment went beyond the pattern to the “proper” and “traditional” ways of accomplishing the pattern (e.g., “The Lord be with you,” her insistence that Dan quit playing in his food, and her preference for filet mignon.) Dan was obviously not committed to this pattern, though he was committed to the content of the evening.

You will also notice that Dan showed up early, in that he and the emerging worship movement are “out front, on the cutting edge.” Bob was chasing behind, because he is, self-consciously, trying to help shape some of the emerging worship movement. At the same time, Bob was trying to pull Marva along. I see Robert Webber as trying to be the mediator. Marva Dawn was determined not to be early or late, but right on time. That is also reflected at the conclusion of the evening.

One of the reasons that Dan wasn’t content to be in the living room, though he did still carry on some conversation, was simply to reflect his insistence to be “hands on.” The cross in the mashed potatoes was another attempt to express emerging practices in worship.

One thing that they all had in common was the critique that much of the contemporary “seeker movement,” along with much of the rest of the Church, had lost much of the “meat and potatoes” of the gospel (i.e., the content of worship).

Perhaps obviously, I am in much more agreement with Robert Webber. I want to be open to “new (postmodern?) expressions” of worship, as reflected in the emerging church. However, I am committed to the ancient four-fold pattern. The freedom of expression needs the historic patterns of worship to help guard it from becoming something less than Christian. Unlike Marva Dawn, however, I am much more interested in blending elements and styles within the pattern. I agree with all of them that the true content of worship must be restored.

An Evening with Marva Dawn, Robert Webber & Dan Kimball: The Visit

(See the previous post before reading.)

It was about ten minutes before they were to arrive when the doorbell rang. As I opened the door, I saw Dan Kimball. As I invited him in, I heard someone hollering, “Wait up.” As I looked down the sidewalk, there was Bob Webber running to catch up with Dan, while, at the same time, holding Marva Dawn’s hand, pulling her along.

I said “Hi” and “Welcome” to each one of them, as they arrived, inviting them to come in. Dan immediately headed to the kitchen. Bob, responded to my greeting, and Marva said, “The Lord be with you.” Bob and I said, “And also with you.”

As I invited them into the living room for a moment, I heard Dan holler from the kitchen, “Thanks for inviting us over.” - Bob and Marva sat down with me in the living room. We had a drink and talked a bit about their trip to Greencastle. I could tell that Bob was a bit distracted. He eventually stood up and walked a little closer to the kitchen in order to ask Dan about his trip. As he did so, Marva said, “I just don’t understand why Dan can’t come in here and talk with us.” Bob said, “I have tried to talk with him about that. You know he has a very ‘artsy’ personality and is a bit of a ‘free spirit,’ but I have tried to explain to him that he can still be ‘artsy,’ and that the traditional form can actual help to aid his ‘free spirit.’ Marva responded, “Well, I don’t know about all of that ‘free spirit’ stuff, but he should be in here with the rest of us.”

After some time of small talk, we entered into the dinning room. Dan met us there, bringing some of the dishes with him. (It was obvious that he had already been snacking on some of the dessert.)

During dinner we discussed some of what has happened in the “seeker movement” of the ‘80’s and 90’s. All agreed that much of the content of the gospel had been diminished. Marva was convinced that it was by design, but Bob was not so sure that it was purposeful. Dan didn’t really comment, but we noticed that he was drawing a cross in his mashed potatoes with his fork. Bob said, “That’s a cool cross.” Marva said, “Oh, Dan, quite playing in your food and grow up. - And please use your napkin rather than your sleeve!” - After dinner, all expressed their appreciation for some real meat and potatoes, but Marva did express that she would have preferred fillet mignon, but the roast was still pretty good; certainly a lot better than the hamburgers that so many serve when she comes to dinner.

After what seemed like a short time, Bob looked at his watch and said, “Oh, it’s getting late, and we had better go.” Marva looked at her watch and said, “I told you that we should have left fifteen minutes ago. We got up and headed to the door, but Dan stayed behind for one more helping. Marva was ready to go, but Bob insisted that they wait for Dan. I thanked all of them for coming and expressed that I would love to have them back again. They all expressed appreciation for my invitation, and then headed out the door.

An Evening with Marva Dawn, Robert Webber & Dan Kimball: A Prologue

Recently, I have observed some discussion on and connected to Face Book concerning the "emergent movement," and "Emergent Nazarenes." The "emergents" were identified by "Concerned Nazarenes" as being less than Christian and more than dangerous. Additionally, a very large brush was being used to paint a wide variety of people as being emergent.

The late Robert Webber was included as a part of the (dangerous) emergent movement. First, I considered the labels to be far too general and too broad. Second, I took some issue with what was stated about Webber's role in the emergent movement. I should explain at this point, I have been greatly influenced by Bob Webber and his work, and I do not consider myself to be "emergent."

In the following two posts, I will be presenting a copy of my online response to a question given to one of my D.Min. classes a number of years ago. We were supposed to have imagined having coffee with Dan Kimball, Robert Webber, & Marva Dawn, and describe the conversation that would have taken place concerning worship. My response was nothing profound, but I had a lot of fun and others in the class seemed to enjoy it. - I hope that you do, as well. (I did take some liberties with the question.)