Month: June 2011

30 Years? Couldn’t Tell at the NWC ’81 Reunion

Last weekend Patty and I attended our 30th high school reunion. I know we don’t look like we have been out of high school that long. Bite your tongue!

I was glad to snap this shot. These girls spent some time together “back then.” Seeing them laugh about those days was fun.

Like many of my classmates, I could describe some things that have changed. Already someone pointed out Chas is quite gray. Chuck belted out not just a few songs during the karaoke portion of the evening. Sure, we all look a bit different – some more, some less.

What has not changed is the camaraderie that goes with enduring those middle and late adolescent years together. There may have been a time or two the laughter sounded a bit like those days.

Patty mentioned that we should plan to get together more frequently as we get older. I hope we will. Who knows what our memories will be like nearing 60 in ten years. Did I really type that? Ouch.

Joe put together just the right atmosphere. No frills. No pressure. No high expectations. Just gather then reminisce. And, there was plenty of that.

Friday Photo – Disconnected

For at least 33 years our family has traveled to Lake Taneycomo for a family vacation. On occasion we have arrived to a lake is disarray.

Sometimes the lake was “turning over.” On other occasions abnormal rainfall or floods left the lake full of debris.

It was not uncommon to see pieces of boat docks floating downstream. I could not help but think of those disaffected by the experiences of life feeling disconnected from life-giving relationships.

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Friday Photo – First Swim

Would he love it or hate it? The verdict is in. On his maiden trip to the pool, Cohen Alan loves the water.

Fitting nicely into his shade float, Cohen enjoyed the water and the attention of his second cousins. He awaits the arrival of his first cousin for next year’s trip.

Enjoy!

We do.

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Stina Busman Offers Questions and Suggestions to Fitch

Stina Busman described David Fitch’s project in The End of Evangelicalism as “impressive.” But, that does not imply a wholesale endorsement. David would not want ti that way. Instead, he would invite conversation partners to help refine his constructive way forward for the Church. Here is Part 2 of Busman’s review. You may read Part 1 here.

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With that said, there are a number of places that give me pause in Fitch’s work.  I will suggest two as I conclude my thoughts here.  First, as I read through his critical application of Žižek’s ideas to the evangelical situation, there is a sense of obviousness that emerges for me.  For example, while Fitch recognizes that the centrality of the idea of the United States as a Christian Nation is debated now more than ever, he still affirms that this conceptual object is deeply embedded in contemporary evangelicalism.  I do not – at some level – doubt this, and yet, I am not sure Fitch’s assertion would be affirmed readily by a younger generation of evangelicals.

While my experience with this demographic is limited (and while I am admittedly part of this younger generation), I rarely hear any of the evangelical college students I teach supporting this concept of a Christian Nation.  Instead, many recognize this belief has characterized evangelicalism in the past but do not retain allegiance to this conceptual object.  Undeniably, there is an ever-growing body of literature on generational differences within evangelical Christianity, and in many ways this body falls outside the scope of Fitch’s work.  Nevertheless, the enduring relevancy of his project is directly related to the younger leadership arising in evangelicalism – not simply the established evangelical torchbearers that Fitch mentions and analyzes.  Thus putting Fitch’s work in conversation with Bob Wuthnow’s text After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion, for example, would be an enlightening endeavor.

Another area that gives me pause concerns a certain narrowness that characterizes Fitch’s account of evangelicalism.  Read More

Guest Post(s) – Stina Busman On Fitch’s The End of Evangelicalism

What about the future of Evangelicalism? Recently Trevin Wax suggested in the early days of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention high profile Evangelicals lent their weight in the effort to stave off liberal drift. Wax thinks it is now time to return the favor. Trevin sees the current situation among Evangelicals to need the now re-invigorated SBC to lend their support and involvement in shoring up what to him is an Evangelical stream that has become too wide.

I have been chewing on Wax’s piece since it came out. The one thing that I believe he misses is explicated in David Fitch‘s, The End of Evangelicalism. Sadly the book may never make it into those circles. We tend to see books by the droves on the same old theme – “if we would do better and try harder, then we could remake, reshape, improve on what we have.”

Willard suggests the notion that, “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again,” has made its way into the church. The error prompts us to do the same things harder rather than step back and see just what it is that keeps us failing. If this practice is prevalent in churches, it is perfected in denominational structures. Maybe the folks over at Lifeway would do well to consider a book study with their research team using Fitch as their subject.
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