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My Emergent Guilt

How did I get here, dancing off-beat, and out of touch?

I'm sorry. I've tried. But I just can't do it.

I used to be known as a real progressive type. Entrepreneurial. Adventurous. Cutting-edge. In my Midwestern, conservative church circles, I was known as a firebrand of innovation.

I brought drums into church. I introduced drama to worship. I encouraged the gradual abandonment of the hymnal. I bought one of the first video projectors at 300 lumens (we had to darken every window in the building and put towels in the door jambs to keep out the ambient light). I showed a secular film clip once as an illustration (from The Sound of Music), and one time I used a secular song to make a profound introduction (Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford). I took off my tie before preaching. And I baptized some people in a lake.

I've done it all. And not just for fun, either. It's no fun to be labeled a radical. It's no fun having a church member write hate notes questioning your seminary's slipping foundations. It's no fun to be called into your district superintendent's ...

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