I have a '65 Fender Telecaster™. It's a great guitar. One that makes me sad as I rarely get around to playing it.
Bought it from the son of my parents' next door neighbours in 1978. For $300. Three months later that son wanted to buy it back. I declined. But that isn't the reason for this post.
In the few minutes I had to read blog posts yesterday, I did manage to read one of my favourite bloggers. This blogger is of the more Emerging/Emergent type rather than missional (and yes, Virginia, there is a difference). The post mentioned this person's church, with a link. I clicked. And wandered around the "really cool church" site for a while.
What surprised me was how much this apparently emerging church resembled all the other North American "heading towards megachurches (h2m™)". The senior leader spoke at lots of conferences, wrote books and was an all-round cool person. The team players weren't much different from those you'd find in any other expression of h2m™.
Even the opposite-gendered spousal unit of the senior leader was on staff. In the role of VisionCaster™.
Now, VisionCaster™ ain't from Fender and doesn't play all that well for me. The action's set way too high and the intonation is terrible. (That's a guitar joke.) In fact, I despise the term. It speaks of control (and hints of casting spells). It says that this person casts the vision (that they have supposedly heard from God) and the loyal gathered follow.
I don't buy it.
I'm well aware of the proverb, in the King James rendering, that says, "where there is no vision, the people perish." It's the one used to justify the vision casting role. Even if to do this, the text must be eisegeted rather than exegeted.
If the casting of vision played such a central role in the church, one would think it would be easily found in Scripture. Yet, I don't find VisionCasters™ in the New Testament.
Well. OK. There was Simon the Sorcerer.
What I find is a community gathered together, praying and hearing from God.
In fact, zipping back to Proverbs, Eugene Petersen translates the passage,
If people can't see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.
In responding to issues in the Antiochian church, the apostles say, "it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..." Peter didn't stand up and say, "I, Peter, the rock on whom our Lord says the church will be built, declare that this is God's vision..." James did not stand up and say, "Hey, I'm Jesus' younger brother. It's a bloodline thing. I've heard from God and..." John didn't stand up and say, "Any other vision than my vision is di-vision!" You get my drift.
The iMonk does a fabulous job of taking apart some of the present titular nonsense in the world of evangellyfishism in How Many Different Kinds of Pastors Are There?
Well Michael, I'd add VisionCaster™ to the list. Right next to Cultural Architect. Geez!
I need to go pick up my guitar and play. Just like (a long ago) yesterday. And hope we don't get fooled again.