Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Explaining Post Restorationist Radio

I realized as I posted the link to Post Restorationist Radio that I might have several new readers who might not be familiar with what's going on with that, so here's the explanation.

About three years ago, I "met" Adam Ellis through the Grace Centered message board. We had both mentioned Brian McLaren in posts and started instant messaging each other. We found a great deal of similar affinities (emerging theology and ecclesiology, blogging, comic books, etc) and started talking back and forth a lot. As I became more and more familiar with podcasting, I thought it would be fun to do a conversation between him and me concerning some othe issues within Churches of Christ from a "Post Restorationist" perspective.

Two questions might naturally follow:

Question 1: What is podcasting? Podcasting is to talk radio what blogging is to writing articles. It's basically a way for the common person to get ideas out to the world through different media. In blogging, it's self publishing your writing, basically. In podcasting, it's distributing your vocal thoughts. Adam and I use Podomatic to distribute the episodes and we've had a lot of fun. The term itself is kind of a pun on "broadcast," but podcast is something that can be downloaded to an iPod or any mp3 player or played on a computer.

Question 2 is most likely "Post Restorationist"? What the heck is that?

Some history. In the early 1800's a movement began, springing from the Presybterians amazingly enough of the idea of trying to restore the First Century church. The idea sprang forth that God had given a pattern of what worship and church structure was supposed to be like in Scripture and the current denominational structures were an aberration of what those were supposed to be. Hence the need to restore the church. There were some eschatalogical leanings behind that (restore the church and Jesus would return kind of things), but mainly it was an attempt to purify the faith. From this ideology sprang the group alternatively known as the Churches of Christ or Disciples of Christ. The terms were used interchangeably for several decades until 1906 when they were recognized as separate group, primarily designated by the use of musical instruments in the DoC and unaccompanied/acapella music in the CofC. Now, I'm grossly oversimplifying here but this gives you the basic idea.

The term "Post Restorationist" is pretty much stolen from an idea by Dallas Willard, but he uses the term "Post Evangelical" and defines it thusly: "Post-evangelicalism is by no means ex-evangelicalism... post-evangelicals are evangelicals, perhaps tenaciously so. However, post-evangelicals have also been driven to the margins by some aspects of evangelical church culture with which they cannot honestly identify."

Remove Evangelical and insert Restorationist and that's me and Adam (and Matt on this most recent episode). We love the Church of Christ and desire to see the Kingdom work through her. So we identify as participants in the Restoration Movement, but know that it is being shaped and evolving. We recognize a certain futility to trying to revive the 1st Century Church in Palestine and elsewhere as related in Acts and the Epistles in 21st Century America, but we recognize that there was a spirit/Spirit about those men and women that we can take inspiration from, as there has been in saints throughout the history of Christianity.

At any rate, that's what we're about. If you get a chance, take a listen. We have fun doing them and try not to get too esoteric or pie in the sky about our ideas. And if you're not in the Restoration movement, we don't really hew too closely to that mindset. Hopefully what we talk about is applicable for all Christians, not just the dysfunctional Restoration one.

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