November 29, 2005

Muddled Middle or Extreme Center

My friend Clif has been sending me updates on the post below because, quite frankly, I think he knows I disagree with some of the points made in the underlying article. First let me say that in general I agree with Jones and Hamilton on the notion of the Extreme Center. The question is the center of what.

As a Methodist I am certainly not a fundamentalist, and yet I adhere to the supremacy of scripture. As a Methodist I tend to be less dogmatic on certain areas of doctrine like the issues around the end times or other such things, but as Methodists we are confessional in that we believe that Jesus actually was God Incarnate, He was punished for our sins, and He was resurrected. On those issues there can be no real debate. (They are forever ensuring as doctrinal standards in our restrictive rules and cannot be changed.) In other words United Methodists...To the extent that they adhere to their own constitution and stated beliefs, are firmly orthodox.

So my question is the middle means what? I'm not big on saying we are in the middle, I tend to refer to it as the Muddled Middle and think of it as the place where churches go to die. What Jones and Hamilton articulate is not the muddled middle but the extreme center. The word extreme is important here. It is recapturing and rearticulating our Wesleyan core with confidence that we know what is in fact true about God. Namely that He has the heart of a Father and that grace is at the center of His relationship to and with us, and that this grace can transform us. That's appealing to me.

Several things drew my attention in the article. First among them Roberts said,

"But they also want a pastor who didn't ordain himself. Or who changed his first name to Bishop. Or who makes up the church's theological standards to fit her own tastes, needs or desires."

I almost fell out of my chair laughing at this one. After all we are a denomination founded by a renegade Anglican who was kicked out of just about every church he ever preached in, and who violated church law by ordaining missionary bishops (Coke then Coke ordained Asbury) to oversee the Methodist movement in America. And why was Wesley persona non grata in so many churches in England? Because they felt he was "making up the church's theological standards to fit his own tastes, needs, or desires."

Second, the Via Media is not the golden mean of Aristotle Roberts seems to suggest, in fact it refers to a radical middle way between Catholic and Protestant theologies, namely the understanding of grace. The unique focus of Wesley is the idea that grace is both the un-earned favor (Protestant) AND the power to overcome personal sin (Catholic) ... Some would call that quite radical.

Then he said:

"They want a church that didn't rise up out of a vacuum, but that has instead grown up in a creative way from the deep and nourishing roots of history and tradition. They want organization, and order, and transparency that can be trusted. "

Well this is interesting, given that the Methodist movement started as a rebellion of sorts against the established doldrums of the Anglican Church. John Wesley's famous "The World Is My Parish" quote refers to his defiance of the Church of England's insistance that he not preach outside of his parish ... and especially not to the people in the streets. John threatened the organization, order, and transparency of the established church.

So I agree lets persue the Extreme Center, not the Muddled Middle ... Centered on Christ and his mission in the world. After all it is his Body.

So recapping ... Extreme Center-Sign Me Up Muddled Middle-spit it out!

November 23, 2005

Yep, we really ARE in the middle

Adam Roberts from Shepherd of the Hills UMC in Douglasville, Georgia describes how Methodists really are in the theological middle. In the post he quotes Adam Hamilton, our senior pastor. Scott Jones, the Methodist bishop in Kansas agrees, and refers to this position as "The Extreme Center."

November 21, 2005

United Methodist News Service article on podcasting

The United Methodist News Service just released a nice article about churches doing podcasting. It features a number of quotes from Peter Metz, Resurrection's Director of Communications.

November 16, 2005

Nerd test

Jason took the nerd test. I thought I was a nerd, but I must bow to Jason who scored a whopping 96!

I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

November 05, 2005


Barna's new book, Revolution, is getting a lot of buzz, including a prominent mention yesterday in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. (Thanks, Jeff, for alterting me to this.)

My mom first told me about the book earlier this week, and offered to pay for a copy. Woo hoo! So I guess this will be on my reading list soon.

Word of the podcast is spreading

Jeff is listening to our sermon podcasts and is telling his friends. Jeff, we're happy you're listening and even happier you think it's cool enough to tell your friends.

November 01, 2005

Typo3 makes #1 on Google with "Content Management"

The creator of the Typo3 CMS posted on this discovery yesterday in the newsgroup at

Searching for "content management" you will find, at least today, Typo3 is the top result above PostNuke and Vignette.

I also noted this on the Web Empowered Church Developer Forum. To read how WEC is utilizing Typo3 in their ministry to the world, check out

Web Developer position open

At Resurrection we've had a position open for a web developer since August. As a hiring manager in the IT field, this is the first time in more than four years that I've had difficulty filling an IT job. See my previous post about how the world has changed. Now Scoble posts this morning that every company he knows is hiring like crazy. The IT labor market has changed for sure.

I just now realized that I've been remiss in not posting our job opening here. Are you a skilled web developer who is a passionate follower of Christ and would consider a ministry position at Resurrection? Do you know someone like that?

Here's the job posting:

Blend your passion for following Christ with your technical talents at one of the top mainline Protestant churches in the United States.

Outstanding opportunity for an early-career IT professional to gain experience in all aspects of IT in this multi-functional position. Work in the energetic IT department of a large and fast-growing church in Kansas City, reporting to the Director of IT. Develop both .NET web applications connecting to existing SQL Server databases and simple web applications that integrate with the TYPO3 open source web content management system. Develop new web page templates for TYPO3, support line-of-business applications including TYPO3, Shelby church management system, and the mass outbound e-mail system. Work directly with end users.

Candidate should have two years current web development experience using the Microsoft platform (Visual Studio, Internet Explorer, IIS, ASP, SQL Server, .NET). The position will require technical proficiency in HTML, CSS, XML, and SQL. Should be familiar with TCP/IP, HTTP protocols, object-oriented and structured programming, Windows 2000/2003 user administration, and SQL Server Enterprise Manager.

Familiarity with the open source platform (Linux, Apache, PHP, MySQL) and graphical web design skills are a plus.

If you are a disciplined software engineer, have the personality to work with non-technical end users, are committed to personal spiritual growth, and desire to serve God in a ministry position, this could be your calling. Please email your resume to, then call Cork Kurlbaum at 913-685-8383.