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Christianity Today magazine feature on Paul Louis Metzger in the May 2011 print edition

My (FIRST!) Christianity Todaymagazine story for the May 2011 print edition of the magazine is a “Who’s Next?” feature on Paul Louis Metzger which is now on newstands and on their website as well. The link is at the end of this post–(though I would have chosen a different headline)

WHO’S NEXT? People You Should Know:

Paul Louis Metzger knows what it means to feel shunned. Sometimes mocked for his faith in his youth, he now says, “I have often felt like an outsider. And I’ve seen my wife, a native of Japan, treated as an outsider.”

Breaking down walls is at the heart of Metzger’s work as professor of theology and culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary—and especially as founder and director of the seminary’s Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. He wants to see “authentic expressions of holistic faith lived out” in a diverse culture, and pursues that by engaging various faith groups and secular organizations in conversation. Metzger, author of several books, including Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church, is also passionate about racial reconciliation.

Evangelical civil-rights leader John M. Perkins says that in a divided society, “God is creating a post-racist people who are loving God first and sharing his love, and Paul is one of them.”

Question & Answer

What is New Wine, New Wineskins?

We host conferences and forums that include leaders from various sides of today’s issues. Topics have included the culture wars, same-sex marriage, racism, and HIV/AIDS. We want to bring the community to our campus, and we want to go out to the community. Friday Night Franks, which my interns lead, is one example, where New Wine faithful gather on 82nd Avenue to share a meal and conversation with diverse people near the bus stop and train. There are drug dealers and prostitutes on 82nd Avenue. One man told one of our interns, “When you’re out here, we feel safer.”

How are you breaking down barriers?

We’re finding common ground where there hasn’t been common ground before, dialoguing with those whom we historically have considered our enemies, and I’m sharing my faith. We’ve brought Unitarian Universalists, Buddhists, and gays onto campus to share our respective views.

Such activities probably aren’t popular with everyone.

I’ve been called a heretic by the Right for befriending gays, Unitarian Universalists, and Buddhists, and a religious bigot by the Left for holding firmly to biblical truth.

Do you want to change the church?

No, I want God to change the church and me. So often, church and theology are shaped by gaining and maintaining power, which is what the “take back America” thinking is often about. We have a lot of things to repent of. In American Christianity, power brokering often replaces brokenness. If we are going to break through divisions, we need to listen to people on the other side first. Why should they listen to us if we don’t listen to them?



Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Age: 46

Family:Mariko (wife); Christopher, 15, Julianne, 9 (children)

Church:Imago Dei Community

Reading now: Les Misérables

Your hero: John M. Perkins

Favorite movie: As Good as It Gets; To End All Wars

Favorite Bible verse: verse Romans 8:37-39

Hobbies: Reading, listening to the blues, traveling

LINK to story on CT online: (Note: I would have chosen a different headline for the story)

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Posted in Church, Community Service, Faith, Faith and Culture, Justice, Life, Live the Questions, Outreach.

2 Responses

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  1. Cornelia Seigneur says

    Maru, you are so right about Paul Metzger. He is a true leader and visionary and to live like Jesus means to think outside the box. I too hope he comes to speak at Rolling Hills!

  2. pongboy says

    I’ve had the good opportunity to hear Paul L. Metzger speak on a few occasions, and he is truly living Christ-like. Unlike many Christians I meet, he is a modern model of the first century believers in Acts! Yes, accepting diversity and variety in people and culture in the church is key. And I know what it means to be put in the fringes–even as a Christian sometimes! I hope there will be more people like him in the church. I look forward to the day he comes to my church!

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