Thursday, December 28, 2006

No Meeting Tonight!

Nothing but cancellations. We'll not meet tonight. We're back on schedule for the 4th Thursday of every month beginning in January, unless the Rapture happens and we have to begrudgingly admit that LaHaye and Jenkins (among others) were right.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

After Christmas?

We're supposed to meet the Thursday after Christmas. Several of you will be gone. Let me know if you still want to meet. If we only have a few, we can get a table instead of a room. I'm open to meet and was planning on it, so if you were too, either email me or comment here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Can I Be Cool if I Ditch (Sunday) School?

I wonder if anyone else is curious about the role, present and future, of Sunday School in church. Seems like most of the ones I've been to over the years have successfully boxed congregants into distinct categories (marrieds, singles, youth, 'prime-timers'...) in order to offer group-specific, bite-sized nuggets of biblical truth...and to eat doughnuts. Now I can understand the value of this if you're operating in a modern church framework. But as this is an emergent cohort (and the promise of doughnuts is not incentive enough to get me out of bed early on a Sunday), I'd like to hear ideas about if and how sunday school can be redeemed from its current manifestation... what would that look like? how do we do it? do we care?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pete and me

I met Pete Rollins today at the AAR (American Academy of Religion) national meeting in Washington, D.C. He spoke at a session last night along with Brian McLaren and Phyllis Tickle on the emergent church. He was in the Paraclete Press book display, and was (as you would expect) very gracious and humble. And short. :-) He said he'd love to come and visit the emergent cohort in OKC sometime! He was glad to hear about our meeting venue.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Next Meeting

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, we will meet this Thursday at 6:30 at Tapwerks. Drinking and eating start at 6:30, meeting at 7:30. We'll be upstairs at Tapwerks in Bricktown. The discussion, based on Rollins's book, is about how to devlelop liturgies at the local level that farily treat controversial issues without being divisive.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Liturgies and Mean Old People

We spent some time last meeting talking about the question I posed a couple posts ago: should we expect to be able to bring people, especially entrenched fundamentalists in our churches, along with us for this conversation? While most of us would like to believe that we can have an open discussion and a redemptive friendship with these folks, they tend to be the ones who insist we're not "in" despite our best efforts to be generously orthodox. I think the best we can hope for many times is the situation kaleo has: a church who makes room for us even if they don't always understand or agree with us.

We talked about the liturgies in the second section of Rollins's book as well. We'd like to do some locally-written liturgies in our churches that use some of Rollins's method, especially his ability to weave ambiguity into the issues so that caricaturing controversial issues by presenting opposite poles (i.e., gay versus straight, republican versus democrat, etc.) is not possible within the context of the liturgical service. That being said, we asked what the issues were for Oklahoma City. The answers: conservative politics and Christianity sleeping together; gender roles, especially women in leadership; homosexuality (what will the church do?); religiosity that comes from being raised in and around church but never committing to follow Jesus in any meaningful way beyond "I believe Jesus died for my sins..."

Next meeting will be the third Thursday of November to avoid conflict with Thanksgiving. At that meeting we'll talk about what the liturgies might look like.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Next Meeting

We're meeting this Thursday night at Tapwerks in Bricktown. Last meeting we decided to start a half hour later to allow folks time after work to get things done, etc. We'll start dinner and drinks at 6:30, so the meeting will start at 7:30. We're doing our last session on Rollins's book, but we're talking about the liturgies in the second section of the book. Like to consider what liturgies might look like in our context and what issues need to be addressed with locally-written liturgical services.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Open Season on Pete

Peter Rollins has posted a link on his blog to the church and postmodern culture: conversation blog. They are hosting a four part discussion of his book How (Not) to Speak of God. Rollins has been responding to some of the comments made. Just though I'd pass that on for those interested.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bible Schmible

We spent a good deal of time talking about hermeneutics at the last cohort meeting. Rollins holds a high view of Scripture and that comes through in his book. (I'm aware that "high view" is full of ambiguity, but it appears higher than my own.) After discussing Rollins's view of Scripture as well as N.T. Wright's attempt to negotiate a "third way" to read Scripture between literalism and liberalism, I posed the question: how do we read Scripture in such a way that it provides for the freedom and egalitarianism in which most of us believe? Our group was somewhere between a third and a half female, and I'm really curious to hear from them how they read it in ways that provides for a feminist voice. I'm also curious about how others more conservative than myself but still intrigued by Emergent want to read it. I'll post more about my thoughts concerning Scripture later, but I want to start this conversation before the next cohort meeting.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Next Meeting and Jesus Camp

After the cohort meeting this Thursday, a group of us is going to see Jesus Camp. It's showing at Quail at 9:50 p.m. Everyone is welcome to go.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Next Meeting

We're meeting this coming Thursday, Sep. 28, at Tapwerks. We'll have the upstairs again. We'll be eating and drinking and talking and lying at 6:00 p.m. We'll start the meeting at 7:00. Some of you are thinking, "I haven't had time to read the book. I can't go." Come anyway. We'll not cover everything in one meeting, and we're not making this a book study. It's a jumping off point for a conversation. So come meet some folks you haven't met and enjoy the conversation.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

evangelicals in the movies

this looks interesting. if it ends up showing in okc somewhere, i'm most likely gonna go see it. anyone else think it could be worth seeing?

p.s. for the record, jesuscamp is currently playing at Quail according to there was some confusion that perhaps it was only showing one night last week but apparently it is in town for at least a little while.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Interesting Conversation in the Land of Oz ...

Yes, I am watching the Sooners take care of Washington. It was close for a moment and then OU seemed to get untracked and the defense did show up. Really two big plays is all Washington really had (so far). I read Andrew Hamilton in my bloglines subscription. Recently a group hosted Don Carson. You might find his four posts on the occasion also insightful regarding the variations of what it is to be involved in the "emerging church."

Start here and follow through to the four part series.

Lingering Question ...

I met Alan in Minneapolis a few years ago at Soularize. He has been involved with The Ooze from early on. He must have known Tim asked an important question at our first meeting - "What is the emerging/Emergent church?" Here is a recent post with some thoughts. What do you think? Here's something of a teaser,
Included in our conversations about the emerging church must be a confession of devotion to Jesus. While we must be careful not to question the devotion of individual Christians in established churches, we can fairly and honestly say that the status quo does not regularly cultivate devoted followers of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Read Peter Rollins Blog

You may be on your way to reading the first section of Rollin's book, How (Not) to Speak for God. I thought you might like to see read where some of his thoughts get worked out in real time. Read his blog at - Pete Rollins.

Monday, September 04, 2006

James K.A. Smith on D.A. Carson ... Truth and Objectivity ...

Nearly all agree there is something of an interpretation going on with the telling of the story of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The gospel in some ways is being interpreted to audiences, interpreted by writers, interpreted via the mediating work of the Spirit. Surely there is much to discuss but I found this quote helpful in trying to put together Carson's critique of the "emerging church" in his, Becoming Conversant with Emergent.

And if the gospel is only interpretation there could be other interpretations, we can't know if the gospel is true. A version of this criticism can be found in D.A. Carson's criticisms of the emerging church. Carson is clearly worried that because folks like Stanley Grenz, Brian McLaren, and other "hard postmodernists" (as he calls them) reject modern notions of absolute truth or "objective" truth, they are giving up on truth altogether. But in his criticisms, it becomes clear that Carson simply conflates truth with objectivity: for Carson, one can only be said to know "truly" if one knows "objectively." While Carson rightly notes that human knowledge can never pretend to omniscience, this doesn't mean we can't claim to know in a finite but real manner. But his affirmation of finite knowledge always elides into an affirmation of objective knowledge. Although he does not define objectivity (quite an oversight, given his project), Carson clearly means this to carry some connotation of self-evident givenness: if a truth is objective, then it is not a matter of interpretation. Thus, if Derrida is not a linguistic idealist but nevertheless asserts that everything is interpretation, then according to folks like Carson, such a claim is antithetical to the (supposedly biblical!) requirement that what is true be objective. If the gospel is an interpretation, and therefore not"objective" then it would seem that it cannot be true." (Smith, Whose Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foccault to Church,p.43)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Cultural Happenings

Some at the Planning meeting wanted to be made aware of "cool things" happening in town. This rates for me, so I'll throw it out and see who's interested... If nothing else, it'll start a place for others to throw out "cool-er things." The OKC Museum of Art will be hosting a collection of Ancient Egyptian art from The British Museum between Sep7-Nov26 (inclusive). I'm planning on going sometime and usually have to go alone so anyone interested in going as well please email.

Friday, September 01, 2006

a Place to be Kind

What exactly is the emerging church? I posed the question last night and even though we didn't stay expressly on topic, the answer to the question was floating all over the room. Lots of folks have made attempts at defining it, some of the best ones by critics of the movement. And though Greg and Todd might want to smack me in the back of the head for saying so, I think D.A. Carson in fact gives a decent overview of Emergent. And if your detractors understand where you're coming from, then maybe you're doing something right. This particular paragraph from Carson's website:

The major issue is epistemology—i.e., how we know things, or think we know things. Modernism is often pictured as pursuing truth, absolutism, linear thinking, rationalism, certainty, the cerebral as opposed to the affective which, in turn, breeds arrogance, inflexibility, a lust to be right, the desire to control. Postmodernism, by contrast, recognizes how much of what we “know” is shaped by the culture in which we live, is controlled by emotions and aesthetics and heritage, and can only be intelligently held as part of a common tradition, without overbearing claims to being true or right. Modernism tries to find unquestioned foundations on which to build the edifice of knowledge and then proceeds with methodological rigor; postmodernism denies that such foundations exist (it is “antifoundational”) and insists that we come to “know” things in many ways, not a few of them lacking in rigor. Modernism is hard-edged and, in the domain of religion, focuses on truth versus error, right belief, confessionalism; postmodernism is gentle and, in the domain of religion, focuses upon relationships, love, shared tradition, integrity in discussion.

How we know things, or do not know them, is the major issue for me. I'm not even suggesting that we are unable to know things with compelling amounts of certainty, I am suggesting that even in those instances a little amount of humility goes a long way. Recently Newsweek ran an article on Billy Graham which cause a great stir among some evnagelicals because of the seeming humility Graham demonstrated in reponse to some of religions most difficult questions. Billy is far from being an emergent church advocate, but his approach to relationships seems to fit EC--friendship, conversation.

As I said to Brittany afterward, I think the emerging church is more about atmopshere and ways of relating than it is about dogma. Actually, I didn't say that to her, but it was what I was thinking when I said, "Emergent is being Christian and at the same time being kind and respectful."

Thursday, August 31, 2006

First Meeting

We had a good time tonight at our planning meeting. Nice to see the folks that showed up. Met a few new ones too. The Baptists and Nazarenes were over-represented tonight, but we're expecting more and different folk next month. The next meeting will be September 28 at Tapwerks. We'll meet for food and drink and conversation at 6:00. The "meeting" will start at 7:00. We will be reading "How (Not) to Speak of God." Since the first section of the book is only 71 pages, we'll read that for next time.

I'll let others post their reflections rather than going into my analysis. If you didn't make it, hope to see you next time, and we'll be using this forum as a way of keeping the conversation going between meetings.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tapwerks Loves Emergent

Patrick, the manager at Tapwerks, has graciously agreed to open the upstairs for us, slap a "private party" sign on the door, and give us our own bartender every month. That means we'll need to give them some love in the form of food and drink (adult or not). If you're coming on Thursday, you'll find us upstairs. Bring someone with you. I don't know everyone that is interested in this shindig, so if you are aware of people you think might want to be a part, invite them, bring them, buy a beer for them...A couple folks have asked if they need the book. No. Not yet. We're mainly planning things and getting to know each other this time.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

peter rollins

i'm trying to get an interview scheduled w/ rollins for the 'cast i do on wiredparish. if you have questions you'd like asked of him (assuming i get the interview), let me know.

incidentally, the whole 'i do a podcast where i interview authors' is a complete scam. i have over a dozen books i've gotten for free over the last couple of months from publicists. i go into barnes and noble, find some books i'd like to read, schedule an interview, and voila! a few days later, a book arrives. for a bibliophile, this is nigh-unto nirvana!


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Planning Meeting

We'll meet at Tapwerks in Bricktown on Thursday, August 31, at 7:00 p.m. We'll be discussing which night is best to meet, how often (we're thinking once a month), what the format ought to be, and where we're headed. If you can make the planning meeting, we'd love to have your input. If not, send me an email at expastor at gmail dot com. In the meantime, some of us are reading How (Not) to Speak of God by Peter Rollins. It will probably be the book we use for our first few discussions.