The Out of Bounds Church? - Postcard 9 – Keeping the Campfire Burning

Out of Bounds ChurchMost people end trips by sending a postcard saying “I’m heading home, I look forward to seeing you soon.”

Instead Steve writes his last postcard from home, it’s purpose is to encourage the (emerging) church and to wish new travelers well.

And that’s how he ends the book, by telling a story then wishing us all well and asking us to keep the home fires burning.

Interesting Quotes:

Rather than move from theory to practice, the emerging church has simply practiced, sometimes without much theory. The emerging church needs the space to keep practicing, yet it also needs to be theological about it’s practices. We need to move from emerging by being all about candles to emerging by being a truly new kind of life with God.” (pp161)

Things I’ve been thinking about while reading this chapter:
It’s ended it’s ended!!!

Tallskinni said he read it in the bath, yet it took me a number of beers and three days to get through. I’ve enjoyed the journey with Steve as he traveled the world and met people, shared their stories and began to ask theological questions about the ministry and mission of the communities and the culture in which we live.

I do think that this is still a part of the beginning of something, this is a part of the calling for us to rediscover a theology of mission and of the calling we have. It’s not an ending and so I look forward for further travels.

I love the way that Steve has written this book, its been fun, enlightening and thought provoking. I really enjoyed the sections on community; it’s given me a language to describe my feelings and experiences.

I am left wondering about the generations beyond X, this book has highlighted to me the centeredness of mission to Xers that the emerging church seems to have… Is it self serving? If so, is that bad? If so, what about the generations after X? Where will that conversation happen?

I’m also left increasingly miffed at the constant use of “emerging church” and not “church.” I personally think that while it may be a helpful marketing tool, (to pick the emerging church market) but it may also mean that the larger church ignores the messages that Steve offers the wider community. I continually ask when the emerging church will stop describing itself by what it is not (Church) and start to embrace it’s place as a part of the holy and catholic community that we are each a part of.

And as for the use of postcards… I like the idea, and in this book it works really well but who uses them nowdays? If we’re wanting to connect with people at home and say hello then, im many countries we can just sms them, email them, send digital photos by phone or by email, we can use msn or skype or if we’re lucky Voip. Postcards nowdays are forms of cultural advertisements, small enough for people to wander up to think “hey that’s cool” and pocket them, they’re not to tell people how you are but a way that products now connect with people. In a way postcard advertising is a way of “pegging” people into the community of people who own the product. I havent bought a postcard in about 10 years, and even after moving I send people e-postcards with photos and text in an email… something I took, something I created…

All up this book has been a lot of fun, challenging, enlightening, encouraging, easy to read and it’s been one of my favorite reads of the last year or so, I’d like to encourage everyone to pick up a copy and give it a go, then to continue the discussion that Steve has started, it is a process of emerging afterall…




Soundtrack to this postcard: Faithless – “No Roots”
Beers drank: Beer all gone…
Insignificant fact: I am loosing the ability to write “the” properly, it keeps coming out as “teh”

Comments (2)

  1. Brett wrote::

    Hey Darren,
    Thanks for the book review. I share your concern to be looking beyond Gen X to ensure longer term relevance and that our current paradigm isn’t too blinkered.
    I agree too its unfortunate to box ourselves into ‘EC’ or any other terminology, even if convenient.
    Making EC distinctly Pomo seems fraught with danger to me!

    Friday, May 6, 2005 at 1:47 pm #
  2. Darren wrote::

    Gday Brett,

    I guess mine is not really a concern for the EC, it’s more a realisation that the church is now really needing to look towards the Yers and beyond. I’m an Xer and most of my friends don’t church, but I still connect with them in spiritual ways, and so the EC discussions are extremly important, but there needs to be some discussion beyond it now.

    I’m not anti- EC, infact, I’m the opposite, i love the discussions coming out of it, as an Xer and as a minister I am thankful for the thinking and discussion and practice of the EC… Just that I’m now feeling the push to look beyond it.

    I heard a friend say that he things that Xers are the only ones who can minister to Xers, I’m not sure if i entirely believe the sentiment, but I can see how it could work in practice. So I’m not anti-pomo-church either…

    I joke occasionally that the reason I dont label myself EC or Emergent is because I don’t want to be boxed, I’m an Xer through and through ;)

    Friday, May 6, 2005 at 5:12 pm #