I’m just sayin’…..it looks wrong for a reason.
I’m just sayin’…..it looks wrong for a reason.
I’ve been following some of the renewal movements that have been happening with American Christianity these days. The two that have piqued my interest the most are the Emergent Church and New Monasticism. Both of them are quite interesting and fascinating, especially in their connections to Anabaptism. One interesting commonality between these two movements is the fact that they are centered around cities. That’s all fine and good except for a couple of things. There are two phrases that seem to keep coming up in their discussions. First is the phrase “organic”. Everyone wants to be organic. Now, I’m not really talking about organic food but rather about community, leadership, and structures being organic and coming together from the ground up.
The problem with this is that if you’re going to adopt this language, and you live in the city, then you had better be pretty intentional about getting out into the countryside and getting to know some people who know what the heck it really means to grow things from the ground up, literally. I don’t care what you say, a flower box and a community garden only begin to get at an understanding of what it means to be connected to the cycle of life. The language of “organic” might be all inspiring to those in the city, but for those of us in the country, we know that it is neither easy, consistent, or always healthy to be organic. Poison Ivy is still “natural” and “organic” but not exactly healthy for us to be involved with.
The other phrase that is specifically tied with New Monasticism that I find interesting is the idea of intentionally inhabitating places abandoned by empire. Quite narrowly this means industrialized parts of the city that have been destroyed by various industries. While I do admire this commitment and I fully support it, there is also a case to be made that rural areas are just as abandoned by empire as the industrialized parts of our cities. Farming over the last 100 years has turned into just as big of an industry as making cars, airplanes or any other manufacturing system. Anyone who has ever been to a feedlot in western, Ks will attest to this. As the farming industry has risen up over time, we have seen the demise of small family farms that once defined the midwest, both in economy and in culture. As a result, there have been entire towns that have dried up and disappeared. I know people who weren’t able to sell a house for 10 years because no one was moving to that town. The town I currently live in once had a thriving downtown complete with hotels, banks, and (of all things) an oyster bar. So while I admire and sympathize with the idea that we are to reclaim and re-inhabit abandoned places, one who is living in the city might do well to spend some time in the parts of the country that really have been abandoned.
I don’t really want to make this a huge blog posting but I just had to note a bit of cognative dissonance that I felt a couple of weeks back. I had just heard about a number or court cases in which teens were being prosecuted for sending nude pictures of themselves to other teens. They were ultimately being prosecuted for child pornography (that’s a whole other interesting bag of logic that I won’t unpack now). This also happened to be around Easter and Maundy Thursday where we had a footwashing service. In the past when I’ve done footwashing with high school youth I will ususally have some who can’t bring themselves to participate because they don’t want people to touch, or in some cases, even see their feet. In many ways, footwashing was too intimate of an experience for them. How is it that feet have become the most private part of our body and everything else is on display?
So here’s the deal. If you’ve been following my blog at all you’ll know that’s it been hosted on Alanstucky.com for quite sometime. While that website is still up and running, I’ve decided to switch up the blog a little bit and move it to WordPress.com. There are a couple of reasons for this. While I really like the Mac website creation software, the version that I have is a bit cumbersome when it came to running a website hosted by someone else other than Macintosh. One of the downsides was that the blog didn’t support comments. So that will be all fixed with the one here. Also, the old one required me to post new entries from one single computer located at my house. Now that this one is web-based, I can update it from anywhere with internet access, so hopefully posts will come more often. Anyways, I hope this change will all work out. So, the new blog website is https://thewanderingroad.wordpress.com