Andrew Jones is blogging on the debt dependent church. Here are some of the gems from the post
I have seen a number of Seminary graduates come overseas to hang with us and to potentially find work in the "emerging church". After a short time, they have gone back to USA disappointed that there are no paid positions. Huge and wonderful opportunities . . . puny financial benefit. What did they teach those students about the emerging church? My guess is they pointed to a few cool mega-churches and said these were emerging. Wrong!
Of course what do they find in the United States?
And what about traditional church ministry and its dependence on buildings? I heard a Desiring God podcast last week where one pastor claimed some of his churches in Texas were worth $150 million and $250 million. How is it possible to reproduce this model without incurring incredible levels of debt? And has anyone stopped to ask if buying a huge building is the best way to spend God’s money?
How much does it cost to start a traditional church with a building and paid pastor? A million? Two million? A million dollars on the mission field could help launch a huge sprinkling of house churches that would saturate an area with small vibrant communities of faith where every believer is a minister. This is happening today and it is wonderful.
I think Andrew has some good things to say here but he is missing the point that a privately funded (this means paid for by massive tuition bills and student loans) theological education creates a system where all by the wealthiest have to find full time ministry jobs just to service the student loan debt. Right from the time we start to seriously educate church leaders, we ask them to embrace a worldview of debt and unless your parents are rich and want to help out, there are few alternatives paths to explore. I wish Andrew had kept pushing the idea of Suddenly Seminary. I am not sure if it the alternative but it was a way of creatively addressing the issue and it is one that keeps needing to be explored.
I posted a couple of weeks ago that I had ordered A Year Under the Perfect sun from the Ecclesia Collective. It’s a zine put together by Jason and Brooke Evans and within minutes of submitting my order, I got an e-mail from Jason saying it had been sent. A couple days after Christmas it arrived and Wendy and I sat down to read it.
I haven’t bought a zine in years (which along with the fact that I am bald and now own a Honda Accord may mean that I am not the hipster I think thought I was) and I almost forgot what to expect. What I got a well written, beautifully designed piece that actually inspired me and reminded me what living as a Christian is about and has made me think that if I was going to move, moving to be a part of what the Ecclesia Collective is doing in San Diego would be a good idea (although that may be the -47 degrees celcius weather talking as well).
If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, head on over and get your order in. While I am sure the black and white version looks good, you will want to get the color copy, it’s worth the extra money. After reading the zine through, I found myself (and Mark) going through it a couple of times just to enjoy the design and the graphics.
I was going to take some photos of it but I saw these on the Collective website and they give you an idea of how it looks and the time that was put into it.
Not only does it give a great overview of what the Ecclesia Collective did in 2008, it’s a great conversation starter for what your community can do in 2009.
This came via Spencer Burke today. I got my copy and it is well worth the full asking price and is an incredible deal at 50% off.
This holiday season, give an entire conference in a box! Use the code, “HOLIDAY08″ at checkout and receive
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Featured in this 2 disc set:
- N.T. Wright
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You get 40 hours of both Audio AND Video combined!
Jason Evans was one of the first bloggers I read way back when Blogger was independent and less reliable than an investment in General Motors. I was surfing the web the other day and writing a blog post that will never see the light of day.
The story of the Ecclesia Collective and the Hawthorn House is a story of a commitment to those marginalized places.
We live in a unique region. San Diego–a city of beauty, affluence and distraction-borders Tijuana, a city rife with crime, poverty and pollution. Few places in the world have the extremes we do in one region. Truly, we are “Siamese twins” as author Mike Davis has written; dependent upon each other, for the good and bad we each reciprocate. But these labels are not limited to each of these cities. In the shadows of San Diego, are the invisible poor and Tijuana has a beauty all to it’s own. We are a region almost completely without the change of seasons. We are the endless summer. It breeds transients and a non-committal posture in those of us that call this place “home”. The high cost of living here causes selfish lifestyles, always looking out for ourselves, rather than our community. As if there is never enough.
But amidst all of the challenges that exist in San Diego and Tijuana there are those that are choosing to live differently, that are working together for a different kind of region. In a transient culture we seek to lay deep roots within our neighborhoods. In a shallow, externally-based culture we desire to learn how to value what is inside each of us. In a fast-paced, non-stop culture we are looking for rhythms that balance our lives, giving us a livable pace. In a city committed to holding up what divides, we will stand for what unites us. In a culture that functions on scarcity we desire to function on abundance. In a region with an unsatiable appetite for sprawl and the negligence of the natural world, we desire to reconnect with the created world and work for it’s healing. In a culture where the market effects all, we seek to create spaces outside of the market where truth, humanity, beauty and creativity are celebrated without being commodified. We are a group of people that are desirous of a more equitable, sustainable and peaceful San Diego.
Why San Diego? Because, as Earl Pomery said, “San Diego hoped more, or longer, than the others.” San Diego is the gateway of El Norte: the land of hopeful future for the poor from the South. We are a land of possibility. That is why we are here. Hope.
Not a lot of church mission or statements make me consider packing up and moving to a different country but this one does. If you are going to exist, exist for a reason that matters.