Monday, May 14, 2007

PP: "Sewing A New Wineskin"

Phoenix Preacher. The blog we love to hate to love. To hate.

Or something.

Generally a very... interesting blog; I have in the past on simplemindedpreacher tongue-in-cheekedly called it The Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak (the word "bitter" is the color red), I have lurked there for just over two years now, for a variety of reasons. It began as a sort of morbid fascination thing, roughly akin to watching a train wreck in progress. However, over the course of these two years, I've watched as Mike Newnham, the mods (most of them all of them), and many of the participants grew in grace and slogged through the actually real issues that many have been dealing with.

Calvary Chapel is a great movement to be a part of, and I am in many respects a Chuck Smith dittohead, but let's face it; there are no perfect movements or denominations or churches, and even in the best, with the best of intentions, people get hurt.

It complicates the issue even more when bad men within the movement cause that hurt.

Phoenix Preacher has been a place of often extremely amusing venting by some really... angry people (must...not...say...bitter...) ...but it's also been a place of real outreach and communication and healing for many who have actually and legitimately been hurt by some truly unsavory people within the Calvary Chapel movement.

So it has served an overall very good purpose, and just as Mike and the mods (most of them all of them) have grown over the course of these two years, so have I as I've read, and considered, and prayed.

Mike Newnham has his issues (he's a stark raving pinko commie Calvinist for one - much like one of my personal heroes, Mark "blankety-blank" Driscoll), but he's no Doug Gilliland, with whom I've butted heads waaaaaay in the past when his "CC FUAQ" was still up. Newnham has serious issues with CC, but doesn't seem to be a rabid "Chuck Smith is the Devil" type like some I've read and interacted with.

Oy, vey.


I said on another blog that I neither recommend Phoenix Preacher, or not recommend it; it is what it is. The blog certainly isn't for the faint of heart, or for those who aren't already well-grounded in what they believe, or for those who are uncomfortable questioning and/or challenging their worldview. I read it precisely because I disagree rather sharply with most of the things said and conclusions drawn - and so it keeps me thinking and considering from a perspective I wouldn't naturally look.

Enter today's post, "Sewing A New Wineskin." Well-balanced, and overall quite good and thought-provoking. When I have time (being a bivoc that's really a good joke... get it? When I have time? Heh... heh... whimper... cry...) I'd like to unpack it a bit, but let's say I largely disagree with Mike's conclusions... and somewhat agree.

But regardless, it's an interesting, thought-provoking post.


Shane said...

I've come to the conclusion that I probably can't recommend the Phoenix Preacher. Like you, I am grateful that it dealt with the Skip and Mike K. situations, but I don't see a lot of good fruit coming out of it. There is a lot of unhealthy bitterness that gets expressed there. But I am happy that some healing has taken place.

It was fun to read some of the Calvary guys posting on it. You got to see their personalities come out. For the first time in my life, I felt at peace with leaving Calvary Chapel. They didn't make me feel like I had left the faith (as some did within the movement). They see the bigger picture in Christ's church. Many of them love Piper and Keller and respect the broader Evangelical church. They didn't look down on me for leaving but saw it as God's way of moving me on to different parts of the Body. Whether I see it or not, Calvary shaped a lot of good things within me. Some of those things are now coming out in the context of the SBC churches. I will never regret being apart of the Calvary family.

Having been a "ditto-head Chuck is my Pope" person like yourself, it was refreshing to see people come to the conclusion that yes--Chuck is flesh and blood. Wow! What an amazing admission. He makes mistakes. He screws things up.

There is nothing healthier in the Christian life than to knock down our personal idols. If frees me up to love all Christians for who they are in Christ and not for who they think they are apart from Him.

Just repeat after me Mike, "Chuck is a sinner. Chuck makes mistakes. Chuck isn't always right. But I love him anyway."

Feels good doesn't it? While you're listening to your daily dose of chuck tapes, repeat that mantra before every session. It will put things into perspective for you. I do this with Piper and Keller myself. As much as they minister to me--I know that they aren't always right. I can be blessed and learn from Piper and Smith, without falling into the "I am of Paul" trap.

God bless you today my little Arminian buddy!

Commie Calvinist,

mike macon said...

Ah, Shane, Shane, Shane...

I don't think that Chuck is my pope; when I call myself a "Chuck Smith dittohead," I'm taking a page from the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. "Dittoheads" in that sense are people who generally agree with (in this case) Rush, but are not (as is caricaturized in the MSM) Rush clones.

I am not a Chuckite; he's not my pope - I don't even consider him to be my pastor (something I'll comment on in more depth when I - heh, heh - get time to "unpack" the PP blogpost). But I am a Chuck Smith dittohead - I wholeheartedly stand behind the Distinctives.

And I fully intend to answer your question, "soooooo, what do you believe" RE: Calvinism.

Have thou mercy with me - my time is very limited.