Archive for February 22, 2007

The Ministry of Semantics

I’m a firm believer that language is one of the most important tools of the pastoral trade. However, it can also be tempting to abuse language.  We have to approach it carefully.

Semantic AlarmLately, I’ve noticed that I find myself retyping one particular statement in a different way. Often, I’ll find myself talking about “my congregations” or “my church.” Everytime I do this, for whatever reason, there is a little alarm that goes off in the back of my head, “Whose congregation? Whose Church?” So…backspace, backspace, backspace, I retype “the congregations I serve” or “the church I serve.” Because first and foremost both churches I’m appointed to are God’s churches. They do not belong to me. I don’t own them. I’m called to serve them.

Semantics matter. Can we even say that language shapes our thinking? Maybe so. So, the next time you think of “your church,” maybe you’ll hear that same alarm that’s been hardwired in my brain.

February 22, 2007 at 1:02 pm 7 comments

Southern Baptists, United Methodists, and the Emerging Church

Here is an interesting blog post about a Southern Baptist layperson from Missouri who wants to introduce a statement against the emerging church (h/t Tall Skinny Kiwi). This sort of debate pushes my thinking that the United Methodist Church could be an ideal place for emergent churches. Most of our folks are used to some of the ideas that the emerging movement is pushing. We also wouldn’t get bent out of shape over most of the complaints leveled against this movement by this guy or the complaints by Calvary Chapel (again, thanks to TSK for these interesting posts). For instance, we’re not anti-“smells & bells,” we aren’t going to kill one another over inerrancy, and we have some space for some of the other things Calvary is worked up about. My big question is whether or not our polity could handle true emerging churches. Can they fit in with our administrative structure or would we need a new missional category for churches that are seeking to minister from this paradigm? I think we could create something specifically for missional churches that would provide them space to grow and flourish within our denomination.

February 22, 2007 at 8:22 am 2 comments


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