Thursday, January 09, 2014

Small Sips Broke Its New Year's Resolution Already

How many cyber-calories will that cut out? Zach Hoag has made an ambitious resolution for 2014: he's quitting what he calls the "Progressive Christian Internet." Here's how it works:
No, I’m not quitting blogging or Twitter or de-friending a couple hundred people on Facebook (though I’ll likely do a bit of trimming for the new year). Nor am I giving up on certain topics that might be deemed by some to be “progressive” and “Christian.” Rather, I’m quitting a conversation that has come to define the “Progressive Christian” label online,  a conversation that I have been a part of here and there and on and off over the last year or so. I’m putting the kibosh on what seems to me to be a rapidly devolving, fragmenting, and, yes, schisming ideological experiment manifesting uniquely on blogs and social media. And I’m saying sayonara to the talking (tweeting) heads and childish cliques that often dominate this discussion, a discussion which has at times become a parody of itself playing out in plain view of the watching world. 
This is not a call-out post, so I won’t be naming names or linking links. That’s not the point. The point is that the Progressive Christian conversation has lost its way, primarily because of the third word in the label: the Internet. The Internet has fostered a disconnect between the Progressive Christian Internetter and rooted, relational church realities, such that the ideology expressed online has become an end in itself rather than a means tethered to the end of ecclesia. The conversation is increasingly non-incarnational. Whereas evangelical church-planting culture is often plagued by shallow pragmatism, the Progressive Christian Internet goes to the other extreme, philosophizing its way out of any substantial, practical ecclesial application.
He does mention a few specific instances without naming names, but those familiar enough with what he's talking about would be able to figure it out. That's not really the important issue, though. The issue is the overall tone and tactics of the corners of the internet he's looking to leave behind. And I totally get it, because I've seen many of the things he mentions for myself. While I enjoy social media, there have been certain aspects of it that I've given up on or distanced myself from because I haven't found it edifying any more.

There was a period of a couple years where all the deconstruction and dreamy pontification really spoke to me. But it also came with a lot of snark and unnecessary clique formation where people were no longer able to see that we're on the same freaking side. It became tiresome. I'm much more selective nowadays as to what authors/blogs/tweeters I keep up with. I myself don't see the need to give up everything cold turkey, but I get why somebody would.

So Godspeed, Rev. Hoag. I hope it goes well for you.

You don't say. Jan has written a brief reflection on how maybe we should give up on the whole "this is what Millenials like" thing, because, well…
The answer to connecting with each other seems to be more about authenticity (being who we really happen to be while allowing others to be who they really happen to be) than about creating programs  “that singles will like” or planting a church “that GBLTQ people will like” or  reaching out to “young families” by making assumptions about what “they all want.” 
What if we honestly connected with people by asking them about their lives, their stories, their fears?  Before we started programs, before we planted churches, before we redeveloped establish churches, what if we simply connected with people we already know and people we meet in our daily living?  What if we stopped making assumptions about each other based on age, race, religion, etc. and simply connected as individuals?
This is the type of thing that should be stapled to every "church growth expert's" forehead. Stop telling me what this or that generation wants. What we really can only know is what this person, and then this person, and then this person wants. But y'all will write your books and charge for your conferences anyway.

The thing referenced in the post title. One thing I told myself I'd do less of on this blog this year, if not cut out completely, was write about sports. But with this news, I couldn't help myself:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke announced today (Wednesday, Jan. 8) that offensive coordinator Al Borges will not be retained for the 2014 season. 
"Decisions like these are never easy," said Hoke. "I have a great amount of respect for Al as a football coach and, more importantly, as a person.  I appreciate everything he has done for Michigan Football for the past three seasons."  
Prior to joining U-M in 2011, Borges was a member of Hoke's staff at San Diego State in 2009 and '10. 
The Wolverines will begin spring practice on Feb. 25 and finish with the annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 5, at Michigan Stadium.
To say that most Michigan fans were a bit unhappy with the way Michigan's season progressed in 2013 is a bit of an understatement. A large chunk of the blame was placed on Borges, who didn't seem to set up his offense for success with his play calling. Once the other team's defense figured out his plan, he had nothing to fall back on in the midst of games, and overall the personnel didn't seem to match what he wanted to do. So now he's been let go, fulfilling the wish of most of the fan base.

As for his replacement? Alabama's Doug Nussmeier. No, for real:
Nussmeier's got a pretty good resume both as an OC and a QB coach, what with Smoker/Stanton/Bulger/Price/Locker/McCarron on his resume, and quickly climbed the ladder. He's got a good rep as a recruiter and at 43 is relatively young for a BCS offensive coordinator; his Washington offenses were spread/pro mish-mash amalgams and then he seemed to do just fine with Alabama's pro-style attack. It's possible Michigan was going to ride with Borges for another year before the rarest commodity of all appeared: a proven college offensive coordinator with pro-style genes.
WOO. That is all.

Misc. Nakedpastor on something Tony Jones wrote, or the latest reason why Zach Hoag is quitting the PCI. Jan on the way God smells. Yes, really. Just read it. PeaceBang on some basic guidelines regarding how a suit should fit. Hey, it's important.