Young, Restless Reformed…

18 Jun

So I am reading the book “Young, Restless, Reformed” by Collin Hansen.  It is excellent.  One of the things that I find humorous is how it keeps referencing Grand Rapids for it’s supposed “Reformedness”…the irony of course being that the only people who are still truly theologically reformed in this city are usually Baptist….But even more ironic than that is when John Piper says “We are not the sort who are off in a Grand Rapids Ghetto crossing our t’s ad dotting our i’s”… Which leaves those of us who are reformed, urban ministers and actually living in a ghetto in Grand Rapids confused.  But to be fair I seldom cross t’s or dot i’s…



7 Responses to “Young, Restless Reformed…”

  1. Denise Malagari June 18, 2008 at 3:15 pm #

    I’m reading that book too. It’s been a nice summer read.

  2. Joel Shaffer June 18, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    Ha! I read Hansen’s article in Christianity Today several months ago with that quote from Piper. The following sentence that Piper makes after the Grand Rapids ghetto remark is this: “We’re in the New Orleans slums with groups like Desire Street Ministries, raising up black elders through Reformed theology from 9-year-old boys who had no chance.”

    Uh, that’s what Grand Rapids ministries such as UTM and Crosswinds is doing in the G.R. ‘hood and Godwin Heights as well!! Despite the impression that Grand Rapids is such a conservative Christian Mecca without any social problems, the murder rate of our city from year to year is 1 and 1/2 to 2 times higher than the average American city (per capita). One of these days, we may have to clue Piper in on the real Grand Rapids.

  3. poopemerges June 18, 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    Exactly my point Joel…They don’t understand that all these so-called Dutch reformed have largely abandoned the faith and definitely the Theology…They also don’t understand that our neighborhood had a 200% increase in the latino population for 1990 to 2000 and it has only increased since…They don’t know that where we live you seldom see any white folk walking the street and if you do they are not dutch…They don’t know that about the funeral you recently attended for one of your slain students..they don’t know about Libbie’s student who shot someone to death a mile from our house in a gang fight…they just know the the stereotype…

    So I guess I am reformed and living in some ghetto in GR 🙂

  4. Joel Shaffer June 19, 2008 at 8:59 am #

    Agreed. I have a question, when you say that these Dutch reformed have largely abandoned the faith and their theology, what specifically are you referring to? My connections with the CRC churches are with the few churches in the ‘hood who seem to be doing alright (Madison Square CRC, Roosevelt Park CRC, City Hope) as well as Sunshine CRC. However, I will have to say that a few of these churches embrace some of the arminianism from Evangelicalism-such as Sunshine CRC going through Rick Warren’s 40 days of purpose. I’d like to here your perspective of what you see concerning the overall DNA of this “Reformed” culture in West Michigan.

  5. poopemerges June 19, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    Joel: I will grant you all of those…though I tend to think that a couple stand more in the mainline evangelical stream than a very reformed one..Still, those are all excellent congregations…But they are also the least Dutch..(which is what people are talking about when they talk about GR and reformedness) They are all (with the exception of Sunshine) Multiethnic congregations…I was referring more to the individual old school Dutch among us who could not enunciate their theology if their lives depended upon it. You know the folks who send their kids to Grand Rapids “Christian”, but have no other abiding connection to the faith. I encounter a lot of these, their faith is cultural..they are like liberal Amish, instead of riding horses and baking pies, they drive SUV’s and don’t tip well…But they do not seem to have a deep commitment to the radical call of Jesus. I was not so much referring to the churches (though I think it is true there too) but to the individuals in the churches….

  6. Joel Shaffer June 19, 2008 at 5:14 pm #

    “I encounter a lot of these, their faith is cultural..they are like liberal Amish, instead of riding horses and baking pies, they drive SUV’s and don’t tip well…”

    I’m going to use this quote from you. Should I footnote it?

  7. poopemerges June 19, 2008 at 5:21 pm #

    Do as the Lord leads you 🙂

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