Monday, May 10, 2010

Thanks, Everyone--We're Taking a Break


We seem to have discussed everything about which we had something to say, so we're going to take a break/go on hiatus. Thanks to everyone who has contributed. Check back from time to time and see if something new is sprouting here...

29 comments:

Joseph Holbrook said...

Hi friends, I talked with Brian and it has seemed to grower harder and harder to get a discussion going on here … on any subject other than sex (see the extensive discussion titled SEX!!! On MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2010).

My firm conviction (I won’t speak for Brian but I suspect he feels the same) is that when God is “in” something and releasing his blessing on it, there should be a divine sense that Matthew calls the “unforced rhythms of Grace” (Matt. 11:28). Three years ago there was most definitely was that sense of being buoyed along by grace in our conversations. I learned a lot from you and I hope some of you benefited as well.

That feeling departed some time ago, and it has started becoming onerous for me to try to keep this going (again, I won’t speak for Brian—he has been my hero in this three-year process of conversation!).

So … this summer I am writing as much of my dissertation as possible, and Brian undoubtedly is advancing the kingdom as much as possible with his pastoral and teaching gift. Most likely, the only way we would start this blog back up is by popular demand …

Everything that is organic has a birth, a growth, a process of reproduction and a death … its not bad to recognize that something has served its purpose and come to its natural end. We don’t want to keep beating a dead horse.

If the consensus is to let it die, perhaps a few of you could testimonies of how you have benefited from our discussions or the most memorable moments on the blog. We make it a virtual wake.

If anyone wants to volunteer to “host” or “administrate” the blog, let me know and I will add you as a contributor. My only advice is not to get frustrated at slow or minimal responses.

In the mean time, there are plenty of great blogs still going and there is always facebook. In fact, it might be facebook or other social networking mediums that have stolen our thunder. If you look on the right side of the page, you will see a number of links to good blogs, such as Billy Long’s OUT OF THE BOX, Jesuscreed, the Curry brothers, Norton News, N.T. Wright, Missional Journal, CSM discussion forum, Debbie’s Friends4thejourney.com and Jamie Johnson’s BWAB web site. Scot McKnight does a great overview and summary of bunches of interesting web sites and blogs on Saturday morning, called Saturday Meanderings.

So … bless you, have a great summer, and feel free to comment or give feedback.

joe six-pack signing off for now!

steve H said...

It has been more difficult to stay up with everything. That being said, I will miss the connection that has been provided by the blog.

Thanks, Joseph and Brian, for the work you have done to facilitate our online fellowship.

Laurel Long said...

Good brothers,
I want you to know how much I have enjoyed discussing various topics with you. But, I also understand that the demise, or intermission, of this blog has been eminent. It seems that you have needed this forum as a kind of cathartic expression the struggles that have overtaken you in your endeavors to be obedient to the Lord. That is perfectly admirable, but it does necessarily eliminate participants who are obeying Him in other less controversial, less interesting ways. We cannot completely identify with your exigencies nevertheless we do understand that you have made courageous efforts on the part of the Kingdom. And that is always honorable.
I am honored to have been a small voice in this exercise. What ever you are doing to follow, serve, honor, obey the Lord, I heartily support. Please know that you have been an inspiration and an example to those who are truly His disciples.

John M. said...

Laurel, you make us sound so nobel. Speaking for myself, I wish my motives and actions were even partially as nobel as you make them out to be.

It's true that the blog isn't the same as it was, but it's demise makes me sad.

Covenant Thinklings has been a source of meaningful connection and fellowship for me. It has spanned a difficult season for me and you all and other former partricipants were a source of encouragement and affirmation that, at times, was like a life-line. Thanks to everyone. I'm going to miss the regular "contact" with some "glorious brothers" -- that designation includes you Laurel, and other sisters.

The blog has become like an old friend. I keep a tab open and check it daily, lately with disappointment more often than not that there hasn't been current activity.

One thing I have learned is that virtual fellowship and interaction can be real. We've discussed that before, and I would have to conclude that, although it may be "different", it is indeed "real."

I know all of our individual friendships remain intact, but I will really miss the aggregate entity that our online relationship created. Good bye "old friend."

P.S. Vicki and I would appreciate your pryaers. My 89-year-old Mother with late stage Alzhiemer's who lives with us, is entering the last stage of her life. She was accepted into Hospice care today. Pray for dying grace for her and for patience, strength and grace for us.

John M. said...

One more thing. A big "thank you" to Brian and Joseph for doing the legwork for the last three years.

Joseph Holbrook said...

Good comments all, thanks for the positive thoughts.

One of the problems with our blog, in my humble opinion, is that we have too small of a readership base, and we tend to be a bit ingrown, although we have tried to change that over the last few years. (Laurel, you definitely spiced things up and made it more interesting and fun!) I learned over the years that any small group becomes stale after two to three years of meeting with the same people if there is not some kind of outreach or multiplication. Every group needs infusions of fresh blood and fresh perspective.

One solution to that problem is to visit other popular blogs with a larger readership base and more diversity of perspectives. A great example can be found this morning on Scot McKnight’s Jesuscreed. There is a post called “Jesus and Politics” … the author (not McKnight) basically slams Christian conservatives for a lack of consistent commitment to the whole gospel. His view is simplistic and one-sided but what is interesting is to follow along the comments – the comments are about evenly divided between Christian conservatives and progressives … and some of the comments are very insightful. I would place myself (and Ed) somewhere in the thoughtful middle, but most of the participants on our blog are way over on the conservative side. We need to get more conservatives and liberals talking to one another--not an easy task! I’ll see you over there!

Jesus and Politics

Joseph Holbrook said...

oh! and one clarification, when I talk about Christian liberals or progressives, I am not talking about Christians who are theologically liberal -- but rather Christians who are theologically conservative (or orthodox) but are politically or socially liberal.

I recently began developing a friendship with a retired pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church (very Calvinist!) who is a wonderful guy and loves Jesus with all of his heart. He is now the Southeast regional overseer for the Dutch Reformed church ... he is fully committed to Jesus in every way, and is a "Sojourners" type Christian progressive.

Diversity is good for us ... although it always makes us uncomfortable -- inbreeding leads to unhealthy DNA.

steve H said...

Joseph, I thought I was the one with a "humble" opinion.

Joseph Holbrook said...

I will admit, you own the franchise, and there is no doubt in my mind that you are more 'humble' than me ... my pride has been my downfall more than once(smile)

John M. said...

Steve H was BORN humble! He was humble even back when he wore a leather jacket and was rebellious.

I second Joseph's recommendation of Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog. It is the only other blog I read consistently.

John M. said...

Guess we were the last four standing!

Joseph Holbrook said...

There is a good post on McKnight’s blog today reviewing a book by a social historian on the conciliar process that began at Nicea and resulted in the othodox creeds and the cannon.

Voting about God

They are discussing a book by Ramsay Macmullen (McKnight calls him “the finest social historian of earliest Christianity”) called

Voting About God in Early Church Councils

Looks interestings … I need to learn to speed read.

steve H said...

Concerning "Voting About God" — I've only read a couple excerpts and some online reviews.

It does sound interesting. The way the reviews read does make me curious about the author's "bias." They made me wonder if he is highlighting the politics and even violence in part because he is one of the scholars more interested in debunking or deconstructing the historical stories than in strengthening faith.

At any rate, God amazes me! He many times has clearly used fallible, politically-motivated, and "fleshy" men to further his purpose. And it amazes me that many Godly men stayed faithful to the truth through all sorts of human shenanigans. Thus we are blessed with the great creeds and even with the Scriptural canon because of the men of that era.

Joseph Holbrook said...

there is a wikipedia web page that gives some background about him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsay_MacMullen

of course most historians have some unavoidable bias ... however, if his information is historically documented, then it is worth knowing about ... in order to avoid the opposite bias of minimizing politics and violence.

steve H said...

I agree, Joseph. I wasn't trying to write the book off — only offering my first impressions.

Joseph Holbrook said...

Scot McKnight, who seems pretty orthodox in his theology (and evangelical), described the author of the book, Ramsay Macmullen, as “probably the finest social historian of earliest Christianity.” I have not read any of Macmullen’s other work, so I can’t hazard a guess about his biases. The advantage of “social” history over political or intellectual history, is that it tries to get beyond the events and/or the ideas involved, to get a realistic glimpse of the everyday nitty gritty of the people involved in making history. One thing I found slightly surprising in the review of the book, was the emphasis on the democratic process among the bishops. That might be an interesting thread to develop in patristic Christianity. I probably should not order the book, although everything in me wants to read it, until after I finish my dissertation. By-the-way, I looked up McMullen on jstor through my university account, and there are about 30 articles published by him, and another 30 book reviews about books he has written. This is a good sign that he has been taken seriously as a scholar in the academic world although it by no means indicates that he is free of bias. I downloaded a couple of the reviews if you are interested in reading them.

Brian is really taking this “summer blogging recess” thing serious … I miss him - :~P.

steve H said...

i decided to try it as my first Kindle for Mac book. WIll let you know what I think.

Joseph Holbrook said...

cool ... and "double" cool on the kindle .. I am not sure i have the courage to go that route yet ... I cannot imagine a power surge frying my entire library ...

steve H said...

I can tell you already that I will not be replacing a book I can hold in my hands for Kindle.

I don't read as well on computer (though I might get used to it). And on Kindle for Mac (a free download for the Mac) there is no scrolling a page, or at least not in the usual way. So I'm always jumping pages.

K910athrinA_Petrin0 said...

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Joseph Holbrook said...

That does not sound like much fun Steve. I can’t read a book unless I can underline with a pencil or highlight. If I have a library book, out of desperation I might resort to sticky notes.

Here is an excellent article in the New York Times by David Brooks on the differences between the British and French Enlightenments. He applies his argument to current political conflicts between the Parties and liberalism and conservatism. Brooks has been steadily growing on me. For me, he is a persuasive conservative voice.

Two Theories of Change

steve H said...

Just a note to say that I'm still checking back every few days to see if anything is happening here.

Blessings to all.

Joseph Holbrook said...

me too Steve, but I think we are the only ones.

I'm in Gainesville, in the UF library going through a radical Catholic journal in 1963 on microfilm ... fun! I also met up today with a friend I met in 2007 when Debbie and I were in Rio. Debbie is resting and soaking up peace and quiet at my advisors house out in the North Florida woods....

steve H said...

git 'er done.

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