Back from Hiatus and Introducing the NuDunkers

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Church of the Brethren, Things of Faith
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Footwashing station

I’ve been away for a while. Well at least from my blog, so it’s nice to be back. Please accept my apologies to those of you who regularly read my postings and have been wondering where I have gone. Against popular belief I did not move to the isle of misfit toys.  My absence also doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped thinking and talking with others. Most importantly I have had the opportunity to continue some intriguing conversations with friends both among Brethren and with some from other traditions. In fact during this time I have been able to continue an ongoing theological conversation with my close friend Ken Archer. It is always a blessing to be challenged and provoked to thoughtful reflection. However, most recently I have been engaging with some fellow neo-anabaptists of the Brethren persuasion. So this blog post will introduce some of that conversation as well as begin forming some ideas surrounding an emerging movement within the Brethren tradition.

In my last post I introduced this budding conversation around the topic of pneumatology and what I may have been remiss in is what I find so fascinating and exciting is less about the topic of conversation as this emerging movement. I label it a movement because I have come in contact with a growing community of Brethren who are dissatisfied with the status quo and who hold great concern for the theological direction our tradition seems to be taking. About a year ago I wrote an entry that raised questions regarding the various community disjunctions and the theological discrepancies to which they hold. I digress. Anyhow, four of us youngerish (age is relative) Brethren began gathering unofficially for reflective theological conversation regarding a variety of topics. In one such meeting we came upon an appropriate nomenclature for our budding movement (if it can truly be called that). We landed on “NuDunkers.” You might be asking, “what are NuDunkers?” That is an excellent question and exactly the one we are trying to answer ourselves. The following paragraphs will try to set out an explanation from my perspective.

Several years ago Stuart Murray wrote an intriguing book entitled, The Naked Anabaptist. In it he provides a series of convictions that represent the core values of what he sees as Anabaptist (or more appropriately neo-anabaptist), particularly the form of which is developing in Great Britain. Taking a cue from him we began wondering what some of the markings of Brethren neo-anabaptists were. While we haven’t settled on a unified description, my simple perspective on this emerging movement is that the NuDunkers are a renewal movement within the church. They are a growing group of organic-intellectual Brethren[1] who share a dissatisfaction with the current state of the church and a deep desire to define what it means to be Brethren in the 21st century. This group is especially disenfranchised with the wide embrace of national politics (by all constituencies) and its acceptance as the most effective way to affect the change believed to be commanded by Jesus. It is a christocentric group who are about missional faith and practice.

This is but a brief introduction and I look forward to the ensuing conversation. I’m curious how many other Brethren could imagine themselves numbered among the NuDunkers?

[1]See, h




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