The New Christians

Last week at Christianity21, GENERATE Magazine debuted. With the tag line, “an artifact of the emergence conversation,” it fit perfectly at the gathering. When I actually got around to reading it last weekend, I was truly surprised at how good it is.

GENER8for_TonyJ.jpgThere have been several efforts to begin a paper journal that capture the exploits of emergence, and none has quite succeeded. GENERATE does.

First off, there’s a fine defense from the editors to the question of, “Why a paper journal in this day and age?” Then there’s the commitment to sustainable printing practices — a stronger commitment than I’ve ever seen elsewhere.

Then, of course, there’s the content. An interview (by Troy Bronsink) with the founders of Paste Magazine, beautiful and challenging poetry, arresting photography, Soup’s amazing sketches, and no-bullshit music reviews from DJ Word (which, alone, are worth the subscription price). Then there’s Julie Clawson and Thomas T. Turner II calling out Soon-Chan Rah for his caricature of emergence and even asking if he employs reverse racism in The New Evangelicalism — I don’t suspect you’ll find that in Christianity Today.

Speaking of subscriptions, it’s only $20 — or for $34 you can get one for yourself and give a gift subscription, which would make a fantastic Christmas present to someone you love.

So, join me, and subscribe to GENERATE. You won’t be disappointed.

In our attempt to exterminate Christian euphemisms from our vocabulary, Nathan nominated thusly:

“Unbiblical” when what the situation really is is
“I really, really DON’T like that” OR “I disagree” OR
“Your words challenge my deepest held idolatries posing as genuine
Christian faith.”

This euphemism seems to be more prevalent today than I remember it — or maybe I just ran into it less in the past. Of course, what it implies is that there is a consistent, reliable, and mutually agreed upon hermeneutic for a particular passage, or for the entire narrative arc of the Bible.

I ran into this at the Cornerstone Festival this summer, while on a panel discussing gays in the church. The two anti-gay members of the panel, both “ex-gays” who were affiliated with Exodus International, repeatedly stated that theirs was the “biblical” position, and that opposing views were “unbiblical.” They said this with no anger, and really no passion. It was said matter-of-factly, and simply, as though no counter-argument could possibly be summoned.

I received loads of great comments about what Christian euphemisms we should drag, kicking and screaming, into the light of day in an attempt to euthanize them. I won’t be able to tackle them all, but I’ll highlight some of my favorites this week.

Chris Enstad nominated this beauty:

“The Lord laid it on my heart…”

Which is a euphemism for: This is something I want to do.

I grew up in a home in which, while faithful and Christian, we didn’t talk a ton about faith. In fact, most Christian euphemisms were new to me when I went to college and got involved in an evangelical ministry. It seems to me that liberal Protestants have far fewer insider euphemisms — that’s probably because we’re more “worldly” and “secular” (read, not residing in a Christian ghetto).

Thanks to Don Heatley