Civitas, Friendship, and Practicing Pentecost

Had a great time at the conference. It was a blessing to be able to put faces to names and meeting friends for the first time. Here’s the paper I presented.

Thoughts on the conference:

1. One of the themes I kept hearing in this conference is the need for Evangelicalism to become more of an embodied tradition rather than a trans-historical faith, at least in its self-understanding. Which I think is part of the reason many younger evangelicals (to borrow from Robert Webber) are looking to ancient Christian practices and traditions that have been around longer than a couple of centuries. There seems to be a growing understanding that Christianity didn’t start with the Reformers or that the Reformation was some kind of re-pristination of primitive Christianity. There is the growing recognition that there is much in Christianity to draw from in its 2,000 year history. While I think this to be a good thing I just hope that aspects of ancient Christianity doesn’t become essentialized and uncritically embraced.

2. Another theme that was brought to the table was the conspicuous absence of historically marginalized voices. This was brought out by Arlene Sanchez Walsh. She is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University. She is the author of Latino Pentecostal Identity: Evangelical Faith, Self, and Society. It was quite refreshing to hear her thoughts on Latino Evangelical identity. I see many parallels between latino and black pentecostal traditions that I found interesting. Especially the growing influence of the ‘prosperity gospel’.

3. Postmodernity didn’t seem to be the bug-a-boo you often hear about in many Evangelical circles. There seem to be a critical embracing of postmodernism or at least a recognition that it is something that we should not be afraid of (looking forward to James Smith’s forthcoming book, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, And Foucault to Church).

4. Apparently Scot McKnight set the record straight about the Emerging church. Unfortunately I wasn’t there to hear him. We got a chance to briefly talk. He’s taller in person. He’s good people. I sat in on Phil Sinitere’s presentation on the emerging church and its potential relationship with world Christianity. Phil talked about the need for emerging leaders to become (if not already) more conversant with voices like Lamin Sanneh, author of Whose Religion Is Christianity?: The Gospel beyond the West. Dr. Sanneh’s translatability of the gospel thesis is something I have been chewing on. Great stuff! I also got a chance to sit in on Steve Bush’s presentation. Brother Bush proposed a political theology for Evangelicalism and gave a critical and nuanced appraisal of the work of Hauerwas and Radical Orthodoxy.

5. A big deal for me was being able to hang out with my blog (and non-virtual) friends Phil, Steve, and Bryan. Check out their thoughts on the conference at their respective blogs.

6. While I got to practice Pentecost with these brothers I got to see a church striving to do this. After the conference I was truly bless to hang out with Andre. He is senior pastor of Mosaic Life Church in Grand Rapids. I also got a chance to worship with this beautiful church…truly a mosaic of God. Andre is a very thoughtful and engaging brother.

7. One more thing and I wasn’t going to say this but it sucks being mistaken for the help (wink! wink!).


12 thoughts on “Civitas, Friendship, and Practicing Pentecost

Add yours

  1. Anthony,

    It was great to meet you and spend time discussing some really important issues that we aren’t talking about a lot these days (even though they need to be discussed).

    I look forward to getting up to Charlotte sometime soon to check out the emergent postmodern negro experience. πŸ™‚ I’ll be cleaning up that audio later today and try to e-mail it soon. IF you have a different e-mail you’d like me to send it to, e-mail me at scmurley -at- mac-dot-com.

    Bryan Murley

  2. Anthony,
    This will be my “blog of the week” at the end of the week. Steve Long almost came to NPU two years ago.

    Your suggestions here excellent and insightful, the image of practicing Pentecost sticks with me. Thanks.

  3. Ant,

    I just read your paper. I must say that we are travelling on the same territory brother. Your paper is really what my blog is attempting to be about.

    Good stuff, I feel like I really am not crazy after all. There is someone out there who sees what I see. Thank you Ant.

  4. Anthony,

    I used your experience with the “help” in discussing the difference between primary and secondary sources with a couple of reporting students yesterday. A secondary source, I said, could tell you that they know racism still exists today. A primary source can tell you about some racism that happened to them, *today*.

    It really helped illustrate the point.

    Interestingly, the day after I got back, a discussion erupted on a listserv I’m on about the media’s coverage of the Katrina aftermath and whether it was racist or not.

    Bryan M.

  5. Anthony,

    Home is the one place that you’ll NEVER be mistaken for the ‘help’… (“wink, wink!”)

    Shica πŸ˜‰

    (by the way, i really liked your paper… you already know that)

  6. hey,

    I’ve been checking your blog quite a bit lately. I linked to you from Anthony Bradley’s world mag blog. I wish I had checked yours a bit more frequently as I too was at Civitas this past weekend. Unfortunately I didn’t see you present your paper, or get a chance to talk to you. But I was excited to check your post and see that we had somehow crossed paths. Small world.

    any way I really enjoy your blog here… where can I download your paper?

  7. wow, sounds like it was a great conference ant. how exciting that you got to read a paper!! i’m downloading and going to check it out. i hope all is well in life right now. we havent talked in a while.


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