Friday, January 09, 2009

Pioneers vs Townspeople

Heres some good thoughts on Pioneer Theology verses Townspeople Theology from Mike Brantley, a practitioner of Pioneer theology living in New Orleans.. As a christian who wants to reach the 85% of people that the traditional church (including mainline, traditional, evangelical, charismatic and penticostal churches) do not reach.

Subjects: • Subject theology: wants it settled, organized, safe.
• Subject churches are in the town square, the courthouse framing and mandating life in the town. It hosts the trials, taxes collected, symbol of stability.
• God in Subject theology, he is the royal, the aristocrat, the magistrate, the aristocrat…dictating. He is ordered and not seen, predictable. He is dressed like coronation day. In some denominational towns. Scotch is replaced by soda, cigars by gum. Peace and quiet are his concerns.
• His sheriff is sent to check up on pioneers riding in. Jesus is the sheriff. He is sent by the aristocrat with a white suit of armor, drinks milk, out draws the baddies. He determines the jailed.
• The Holy Spirit is a pub girl. Her job is comfort. Her job is helping when they are lonely, tickles them under the chin. She squeals to the sheriff when things go bad. Whisky is non-alcoholic.
• The Christian is the subject, fears the unknown and open. Wants to stay in good stead with the lord mayor and avoids the Sheriff. He wants peace, order. Keeps his money in the bank. He stays in the shade and never misses the ice cream social.
• Faith is the safety of the town, obeying the laws. Sin is breaking one of the towns laws.
• The clergy is the banker. He is respected and hides his gun. He has a lot in common with the sheriff.
When we wait in the town, do not go out and share the gospel with those outside the walls of the town, we lose our potency. We are called to be sojourners, journeying with those who do not know Christ, out in thier natural habitat. We are called to be ambassadors to a foreign land, that foreign land are the places that we see as unsafe, the wildernesses. They are naturally dangerous, hold many traps and snares, but we go in the faith that God will keep us safe.

  • Pioneer theology: live the strange gift of life, a wild adventure to uncharted land. In Pioneer theology is not the church in the town square, but a covered wagon, but scarred, bandaged, where the action is, ready to move, doesn’t glorify it’s past. It is about exploring.
  • God in pioneer theology he is the captain on the explorer ship, the rough and hard one who gets in the water and in the mud, keeps it going, slugs the soft. His fist is an expression of His concern.
  • Jesus is the scout or the wild one who climbs the rigging to the crow’s nest – dangerous, solo, there in the storm and the dark. He is out ahead showing the dangers, suffers the hardships, feared by the subjects. He shows concern and sees the future. He is willing to go ahead alone, and calls others to risk the same. He carries a cutlass and a gun, loaded all the time.
  • The Spirit is the hunter, unpredictable. He scares the subjects. He rides into town just to shake up the subjects, can’t wait to get back out to sea, to the new lands.
  • The Christian is the pioneer, ready for the new. He is tough. He knows how to use a gun. He tries to tell the subjects back home about life on the trail.
  • Faith is the spirit of adventure – to risk. It is obedience to the restless voice of the captain explorer.
  • Sin is wanting to turn back.
  • The clergy is the one who serves what the hunter provides, ready when the trail boss calls, just a pioneer who learned to cook. He serves the wagon train.
I have been learning this last year what it means to be a pioneer, the country is unchartered, the road is dangerous, but it is rewarding.

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