Thursday, February 15, 2007

Jim and Caspar go to Church

So last summer Jim Henderson, co founder of Off the Map, hired Caspar, an atheist, to go on a road trip with him to visit 20 churches across America, and they wrote a book about the experience--"Jim and Caspar Go to Church", which will be out later this year.
And Dr. Gary Gilley, pastor of southern view chapel, got hold of one of the galleys for the book, and wrote a review--the first review of the book.
And Caspar responded to the review here.
I had a bit of a hard time not just writing off "Dr." Gilley. The university where he got his doctorate has a flat rate of $4500 for a doctorate, and their accrediting agency is referenced *nowhere* on the web except on their own web page (according to google)! That sounded a bit iffy to me. Plus he attacks the 12 steps and psychology (the discipline) as being unchristian and unbiblical and scary, and finds Dr. James Dobson, of all things, too ... liberal.
But I am learning this brilliant lesson from Jim and Helen, who both help run Off the Map's five blogs. The lesson is that it's more important to be kind than right, and part of that is being willing to engage people as human beings with innate dignity, no matter how off the wall they seem. So Jim and Caspar totally engage with Dr. Gilley, based on what he says in his review of their book. They warmly and curiously and genuinely invite him into dialogue. I think that's awesome. I want to be more like that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,

Could you explain what you mean when you talk about the 'emergent' church? Is this a movement in the States?

Benjamin Ady said...


what a delightful question. thankyou!

Emergent *is* a movement of sorts, but I rather suspect it's not exactly limited to the states. I'm definitely aware of an emergent stream in the UK, and I rather strongly suspect there is such a stream in Aus as well.
In fact we got to hear Jason Clark, an emergent UK leader, as part of an interview panel at Revolution Conference this past year.

So I could sit and explain for a while what the "emergent church" is. But I think this wiki article probably does a better job than I could do.

Having said that, the emergent or emerging church is, among other things, decentralized, postmodern, interested in stories over propositions, relationships over correctness, compassion and justice over numerical or financial growth ...
I could carry on, but here's some further leads for you...

I've only ever heard good things about emergent village
I've really liked everything I've read and heard from Brian Mclaren a prominent emergent church leader here.

Hope all that answers your question a bit. Please feel free to say so if that was totally unhelpful or you have more questions.