Okay, so I didn’t exactly talk to this girl… but I was slightly delighted yesterday as I sat at Backporch Coffee for my, nearly daily, visit. As I was sitting there with my copy of Brian McLaren’s, Everything Must Change, I happened to look up to see what the person at the table next to me was reading. John MacArthur, Truth War. It is hard for me to think of two more opposite books. One, very non-religious right, and the other, very religious right. One, very emerging church… and the other, written with the purpose of condemning it.
I am not a confrontational person (though definitely not afraid of conflict) and I won’t go looking for it or causing it. But I do love a little drama and I do love to ask questions. So controversy, if I am the observer, can sometimes be pretty interesting. I thought about asking this girl what she thought of the book. Usually, when I start talking to people about the emerging church, especially if they are skeptical of the movement in general, I don’t come right out and say that I am actually helping get one going.
I waited a while as I sat at my table and it ended up that some friends came up and asked her what she was reading. As she talked about the book, she mentioned that it was only making her mad. Her exposure to the emerging church was through Rob Bell and good ol’ Johnny Mac and company definitely loves to get down on Rob. She didn’t really like what MacArthur was saying or how he applies scripture in many cases. But… as she said, it’s good to get a balanced perspective. Much better perspective than me, as my balanced perspective is limited to an occasional book by a bitter atheist.
While we didn’t talk, I left feeling pleased that I knew a little bit of how she was reacting to the book. I am excited when I hear people talking, reading, or thinking about the emerging church. The movement is so new in Bend, at least in practice… and things are just beginning to happen, as in like less than a year. We have our third official Bend Cohort meeting tomorrow at the Backporch and 12:15.