Andy Rowell is my new hero. As some of you know my wife is about to pop out our first child so I couldn’t go to AAR this year and I missed the Process \ Radical Orthodoxy showdown and the Emergent Church panel with Tony Jones, Scot McKnight and Diana Butler Bass. Andy is from Duke so he didn’t make it to see my favorite living Methodist theologian John Cobb bring the theological ruckus, but he did get the Paul and Empire audio and few other dialogical treasures. Go and listen.

I thought Scot’s 6 questions were insightful and was proud to hear he rocked out the new Blue Jeans. Tony and DBB’s squabble was humorous and I think it brought things out of both of them you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The only thing that really bothered me was Scot McKnight admitting to smoking swisher sweets. Swisher Sweets are for cigars what Boone’s Farm is to wine. When he came to NC with Tony Jones he brought a travel humidor with 5 Hoyo De Monterey Excalibur #1s. While he was here we also had Rocky Patel vintage 1990‘s and Cuban Montecristo #3‘s(See here). Just how one could take such strides in their wardrobe and take so many steps back in their cigar choice is troublesome. Swisher sweets are processed, chemical infused, pseudo-tobacco. It is difficult to taste the tobacco when you smoke one but each one of them tastes the same. They are dry-cured and made by machines. Real cigars, authentic cigars, organic cigars are those that come from the earth to a craft workers’ hand and to your mouth. A real cigar is made by God, the earth, and human beings (Ikons even). It is a piece of organic art. It tastes different depending on the soil, location of the plant, weather from the of growth, aging process and length, size of the cigar, blend of tobaccos, when you smoke it, how you cut it, light it, and who you smoke with. Real handmade cigars are emergent or emerging if you will. Swisher Sweets are what were are emerging from in the cigar world.

For those of you who have yet to experience a real cigar or join in an emergent conversation let me know and I will open my humidor of friendship for you and match a perfect cigar with a great cup of coffee and you will hopefully never find yourself smoking Swisher Sweets again. It appears I will need to mail Scot a Christmas gift on behalf of all emerging cigar smokers.

For some reason at every Q&A session with academics or church people atonement comes up. I have a theory some other emergent types should test out. If you bring up atonement and they freak out because the idea of a mosaic of atonement theories seems ludicrous then they are probably an evangelical. If on the other hand they look at you like you are Jerry Falwell the moment you act like atonement matters then you are probably talking to a mainliner. On that note everyone should read Scot McKnight’s book on atonement and then try out the golf bag metaphor.