Conservative, Emerging, Missional, Reformational, Reformed

The Mafia is Here!

The Conservative Reformed Mafia. This little title was originally intended as an insult. A few years ago, several of us supposedly “infiltrated” an emerging Christian, left-of-center message board. We didn’t see it as an infiltration. We were and are still genuinely interested in the discussion that takes place at this site but it turned out that we were noticeably more conservative than the typical members there. Long story short, we’re not insulted by the name at all but have owned it and have decided to have fun with it! This probably isn’t how we’d choose to describe ourselves but there’s no denying that this is how we are perceived by some. So why deny it?

Politically-speaking, we find the “conservative-liberal” and “right-left” labels to not be as useful as they may have been at one time. These aren’t very helpful dichotomies. But if we had to describe ourselves as either liberal or conservative, well, we’d gladly settle for the conservative label. On the other hand, if you think we’re your average evangelical right-wingers, you’d be wrong. Hopefully this will become apparent as we continue to write here.

As far as “Reformed” goes, let me state up front that we acknowledge that there is a difference between Reformed in the more technical, classical sense and Reformed as it is popularly used today. Some folks get a little touchy when you call yourself “Reformed” but you’re not using it in the classical sense. I can appreciate that. As a group, we are Reformed in the more popular sense. Individually, some of us proudly affirm the classic solas, important creeds of the Reformed tradition, the traditional 5-point description of Calvinism, and believe that the doctrines of grace reflect the heart of the Gospel. Others here may be Calvinistic and wonder why all the cool kids are throwing around so many Latin phrases today. So let me say up front that this blog as a whole uses both “conservative” and “Reformed” loosely. Think of that as you will.

As far as “Mafia” goes, we’ll leave that for you to decide. We certainly aren’t intending for this to be a “battle blog” despite the tough-sounding name and graphics. We hope you’ll find our posts and the related discussions in the comments section to reflect substantive, reflective, appraising, Christ-honoring thought. We intend to discuss issues in a graceful, respectful, loving, Christ-honoring manner. We believe that difficult, even controversial, issues can be addressed without the flame-wars, mockery, and insults that are so-often seen around the Godblogosphere today. This doesn’t mean that we intend to avoid tough issues. We just want to approach them in the spirit of John 13:35.

For the most part, we are, as the website says, “Friends of Missional.” Yes, missional has become a fad to some degree but we welcome the wave of attention that is being given to what is in some ways another expression of our tradition’s heart for missions. But missional is not just another term for missions. “Missional” is understood to be a reflection of the heart of the Father, who sent the Son, who has sent the Spirit, who sends the people of God to proclaim and even embody the divine excellencies of God so that all peoples may worship Him. Being missional is more than having a heart for “missions,” but is rather the essence of what it means to be a Christ-follower.

We acknowledge that American evangelicalism is currently unhealthy in some areas (has this ever not been true of any branch of Christianity?) but we don’t want to complain about it all the time. Let’s diagnose but let’s also talk about solutions and do something about it. There are areas of ministry and doctrine that we can and, at some points, must re-address (“always reformed, always reforming,” right?). However, unlike some of our emerging brethren, we don’t think that we necessarily have to abandon the institutional church, conservatism (whether theological or political), traditional orthodoxy, the Reformed tradition, or evangelicalism to address the challenges the Church faces during this time in history. We are, as one pastor recently put it, “reformational not just reformed.” On the other hand, a couple contributors here have embraced the label “emerging” (or don’t feel comfortable with any label right now) and have no problem leaving the institutional church behind. So we’re a little more difficult to label than our name suggests but, that’s OK, most labels aren’t extemely helpful anyway.

What we all have in common here is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. We strive to love God and others as ourselves as Christ taught us. We want Christ to use us to establish His kingdom as we eagerly await His return. The Nicene Creed (among others, of course) is our friend. And, oh yeah, we like to have fun. As I said, this is not a battle blog and we’re not trying to enter the Godblog wars. Hopefully you’ll find here a satisfying mix of serious thinking, engaging discussion, light-hearted humor, and realistic perspectives based on our experiences and studies. Maybe we’ll go ahead and throw down once in a while just to keep each other straight.

Welcome to our blog. We hope you’ll stick around and share in the discussion in our comments section.

Here comes the Mafia!


30 thoughts on “The Mafia is Here!

  1. >Mike!Hey, now!I’ve almost recovered from the time you and Jer and Kimby almost shot me in the backyard that night I came over to visit. I always went to the front door after that.Hey, it’s great to have your little brother back in the Lone Star State.

    Posted by GUNNY | August 5, 2007, 12:29 am
  2. >We like to mix our metaphors here. πŸ™‚

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 27, 2007, 6:50 pm
  3. >BTW – If the mascot is “Luther,” shouldn’t it be a wild boar?http://www.apuritansmind.com

    Posted by Mike Southerland | July 27, 2007, 3:27 pm
  4. >Your blog looks very interesting…I think I may have found a good place to hang out…my story of “how I found it” is very similar to DWs. After seeing Tom Ascol’s post about “exit strategy” from the government schools, I looked over some of his other posts. The “Southern Fried Baptist” title caught my eye. After checking it out, I saw Gunny’s name in the comment section. Hi Eric! Gunny and my brother were best friends in high school. I followed his link to this blog.

    Posted by Mike Southerland | July 27, 2007, 3:23 pm
  5. >Jeff, I was reading Tom Ascol’s Founders Ministries blog, and from there clicked to read Gunny Hartman’s blog, and saw his link to this site. What started as a quick read before bed time turned into a 2 hour blog expedition. It was great. To paraphrase the old beer commercial, Fellas, I just don’t know if it gets any better than the Doctrines of Grace, comingled with some Tombstone quotes. Jeff I appreciate the cool blog. Dustin

    Posted by DW | July 26, 2007, 3:13 pm
  6. >Thanks dw. How’d you find our site, by the way?

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 26, 2007, 5:01 am
  7. >Count me in as one who will lurk, laugh, and learn, and maybe even occasionally construct a coherant thought. And I love that pitbull…he looks ready to bite the easy-believism outta somebody.

    Posted by DW | July 26, 2007, 4:27 am
  8. >”Wooo Hooo! Nice blog you hooligans……”Thanks, Deac!

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 24, 2007, 2:48 am
  9. >Wooo Hooo! Nice blog you hooligans……

    Posted by Fr. Dcn. Raphael | July 24, 2007, 1:43 am
  10. >”Way to make lemonade out of sour grapes. ;)”Ha! Yeah, you live longer that way.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 20, 2007, 10:33 pm
  11. >Way to make lemonade out of sour grapes. πŸ˜‰

    Posted by Gina | July 20, 2007, 10:30 pm
  12. >We have a couple liberal Postmodern Wesleyans that like to aggrivate the mess out of us. They’ll probably end up paying you all a visit too.Only if you’re lucky.

    Posted by Deviant Monk | July 19, 2007, 1:13 pm
  13. >Ahh no worries Jeff. There’s plenty of room on the blogosphere for more than one Mafia! We have a couple liberal Postmodern Wesleyans that like to aggrivate the mess out of us. They’ll probably end up paying you all a visit too.

    Posted by Rhett | July 19, 2007, 8:33 am
  14. >Jeff, perhaps we can work together a bit in the blogosphere. As you can see in at our blog, “We are a gang of counter-culture thought criminals: joyfully preaching and bootlegging subversive doctrines in the Evangelical Prohibition on truth.” I believe you guys share the same goal. We are not rivals, we are on the same team. So get your weapons as we go to war was subversive doctrines and pseudo-evangelical heresy! Good luck with the new site.

    Posted by Joshua A. Hitchcock | July 19, 2007, 3:52 am
  15. >”Well, I guess there can be room for two Reformed Mafia’s. http://www.reformedmafia.blogspot.com.” Yeah, sorry about that. I left a comment over at your blog about it. We weren’t trying to step on your turf or anything. Thanks for being understanding about it!

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 19, 2007, 2:43 am
  16. >Well, I guess there can be room for two Reformed Mafia’s. http://www.reformedmafia.blogspot.com.

    Posted by Joshua A. Hitchcock | July 19, 2007, 2:31 am
  17. >You called down the thunder, well now you’ve got it!

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 19, 2007, 1:09 am
  18. >Cool!!!!

    Posted by Rhett | July 19, 2007, 12:01 am
  19. >Jeff … I’m your huckleberry.; – )

    Posted by GUNNY | July 18, 2007, 11:08 pm
  20. >”Well, except that predestination one. ;)”God already knew you wouldn’t steal that one.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 18, 2007, 11:04 pm
  21. >Good luck with the blog, guys. The Liberal Arminian Cosa Nostra wishes you well. Mostly b/c we intend to steal all your ideas.Well, except that predestination one. πŸ˜‰

    Posted by 1beggar | July 18, 2007, 11:01 pm
  22. >Gunny!

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 18, 2007, 10:55 pm
  23. >Rule #1 … Don’t touch the face!

    Posted by GUNNY | July 18, 2007, 10:47 pm
  24. >Sounds good. πŸ™‚

    Posted by The Christian Heretic | July 18, 2007, 9:53 pm
  25. >Don’t worry, you’re safe here, heretic. πŸ™‚ We may even interview you for the site one of these days.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 18, 2007, 8:40 pm
  26. >You guys are too much. πŸ˜€

    Posted by The Christian Heretic | July 18, 2007, 8:27 pm
  27. >Ok, so please forgive my outburst…I’m overcompensating, being the only chick on the team. ;)Seriously, I’m honored to be a part of this discussion. I value so much of what the men on this board have contributed to my growth in the Lord. Praising God for the opportunity to learn more in this forum, too!

    Posted by Judy | July 18, 2007, 7:49 pm
  28. >I don’t know, Jeff…I think I’ve seen the Liberal Arminian Cosa Nostra sniffing around these parts.I vow we take a break from our pledge drive to kick some ass…no commercials, no mercy!;)

    Posted by Judy | July 18, 2007, 7:38 pm
  29. >Hey! I said this isn’t a battle blog. πŸ˜‰

    Posted by Jeff Wright | July 18, 2007, 7:26 pm
  30. >Let’s get ready to rumble…:)

    Posted by J.Wizzle | July 18, 2007, 6:48 pm

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