Aside from smart-ass but salient wise-cracks, this is my first official post on the first blog I’ve ever been on, so be gentle…
Paul and I are in our 50s, which means this whole blogging phenomenon is very new to us. I think we’d still be BVs if it weren’t for Chad and company graciously inviting us to participate. So all wise-acre commentary aside, I’m truly appreciative of being welcomed to this forum.
While we were walking yesterday morning, I was pondering the difference between blogs and ye olde chat room experience and realized the vital distinction: in a chat room, one is a nonentity floating in a sea of little screaming amoebas, each clambering for their pathetic little insecure selves to be noticed, whereas on a blog thread, each person’s opinions and emotions are recognized as being noteworthy (if not agreed upon). Because I know the blog community is actually listening (gasp) and weighing my comments, it stimulates me to attach more weight to what I put out there, instead of babbling for a laugh (which has traditionally been my normal mode).
So my theory is that a healthy blogging community kindles provocative thinking, which leads to humans who are evolving because they are wrestling with (not shouting down) each other’s ideas and feelings. If the community’s agreement is that every person’s opinion gets a fair, open-minded hearing, then there is a free flowing river of ideas that (hopefully) results in growth for everyone involved.
Okay. So here’s the segue.
This whole “emergent church” phenomenon has revitalized me in a way that hasn’t happened since the early 70s when I was a hippie-evolved-into-Jesus Freak at the Light & Powerhouse in Westwood and later up in San Francisco, solely producing the Right On underground newspaper for the Jack Sparks’ Christian World Liberation Front.
The Jesus People movement took a whole generation of adolescents who had rebelled against their traditional fundamentalist upbringing and allowed us to come in from the cold (hippiedom). We were enabled to come back to the fold because the rules were all different: we could come back but keep our weed, bongs and free love. What a great deal! All grace, all the time. Old time religion in the Age of Aquarius — yes, thank you! We brought our love beads and Birkenstocks to live communally in places like the J.C. Light & Powerhouse (where I was from 1970 to 1973), listened raptly to Hal Lindsey, Bill Counts and Tom Brewer, breathlessly read Watchman Nee, grooved to Larry Norman, trooped to Dallas for Explo 72, drank, smoked, and waited for the Second Coming. It was so very stimulating. We knew exactly who we were were and what it was all about.
And then we got married.
So here I am 30 years later, Rip Van Winklette, reading Brian McLaren and feeling dusty neurons firing for the first time in decades. This post is getting too long for me to describe the profound epiphanies I’ve been having for the past few months, but I think I speak for many when I say that the EC authors are articulating exactly why I’ve grown cynical about religion (not spirituality) in the past 30 years. And this time around, it’s not just changed window dressing on the same old message. We’re not stoned adolescents anymore; we need real thinking that makes sense. I feel like the attractive woman in the Twilight Zone episode who lived in a world of disfigured people. She thought of herself as an ugly misfit, until one day she was brought to a small colony of other people who looked just like her (Malibu Kens and Barbies).
Like a healthy blogging village, the community that populates the world of EC thinking is doing just that: thinking. Gosh, it feels great to get back to…thinking.