Tuesday, February 28, 2006
We will be meeting again for up/rooted.west on Monday, March 13 from 7-9pm. We will be following up last months discussion on faith, politics and the emerging church with a more personal/practical discussion of how we live out biblical principles of social justice here in suburbia. Come join us as we consider the following questions:
• How does/should social justice play a part in the shaping of our daily routines?
• How might our lives change if we truly lived a life valuing social justice?
• Where might we shop; what products would we buy; how would we spend our money; would we grow a garden; what would we wear?
• How would our entertainment habits change? Would we still pay $9 for a movie and $13 to eat out every other weekend, or would our lives require radical changes in order to truly live out what we believe?
We will be trying out a change of venue this month. We will be meeting in the back room of the Caribou Coffee on Roosevelt Rd in Glen Ellyn (495 E Roosevelt Rd, Glen Ellyn), conveniently located just west of I-355 - which should make it easier for those of you coming from further away. (click here for a map) If you want to come but you need a ride from Wheaton College or from the Metra Station, please contact me and we'll arrange a ride for you.
I hope to see you all there. Bring experiences and stories to share, and bring a friend as well. It's always great to be able to expand our network of friends and fellow travelers.
Friday, February 24, 2006
"Through the years, I have frequently had an uncomfortable feeling that the portrait of Jesus I found in the New Testament didn't fit with the image of Jesus in the church. I'd like to share my search with you, and invite you to be part of it. I don't want to spoil the ending, but I'll let you in on this: the farther I go on this search, the more inspired, moved, challenged, shocked, and motivated I become about the secret message of Jesus... If we succeed in grasping even some fragment of Jesus's secret message, if we take it in and manage not only to look at it but also learn to look through it, my hunch is that our world nd our lives will look very different to us at the end of our exploration. And if that happens deeply enough for enough of us, everything could change."
Thursday, February 16, 2006
We had a great time this past Monday at the Wheaton College Stupe as eight of us discussed the relation of faith and politics especially as related to issues of social justice and ministry to the poor. We were especially blessed by the presence of Jane Fitzjerrell of Mission:USA, an urban ministry to gang members and inmates, providing a bridge for them to escape a life of crime. Her experience working with these issues in downtown Chicago brought a first hand perspective to much of our discussion.
We began by asking the question whether the emerging church (or perhaps the church as a whole) ought to concern itself directly with political issues. We all seemed to agree that the church has a responsibility to serve the needs of the poor and disadvantaged in the world around us, though opinion was diverse on whether this is best done through small, grassroots efforts or through working for change on the macro level (i.e. through politics). We all agreed that as Christians it's not enough simply to hold the poor at arms length and expect government or parachurch programs to help them. We must be involved in the intimate work of being among them, loving them and learning from them as well. However, some in the group felt that any kind of political involvement on the part of churches was an ineffective distraction from this kind of work. There was a sense that churches that focus too much on political issues can become too polarized and compromised by this agenda. Andy from Sojourn made the excellent point that pastors, especially when speaking with authority from the pulpit, should not abuse their position by telling the congregation what to think about particular political issues (for example the War in Iraq). Rather we should help people learn to think on a deeper, theological level about such issues so that they can reach their own conclusions.
On the other hand, several in the group made the point that fixing some problems require deeper structural, systemic change than can be achieved simply through church ministries or small communities. As Martin Luther King Jr said, "We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside... but one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be contstantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved." And several of us pointed out that this kind of work will usually involve working with political powers and trying to influence the structures of society.
As with any good discussion, we didn't resolve all the tensions or differences of perspective, though we did all agree that whatever else we do, we must be doing something to work for justice and compassion in this world, and not just talking about it at groups like up/rooted. If you would like to get connected to one such ministry I highly recommend contacting Jane Fitzjerrell at Mission:USA.
Also, don't forget that up/rooted will also be meeting this coming Sunday at North Park University from 5-7pm to hear from Dave Tomlinson. Check out the up/rooted website for more details.
Our next up/rooted.west gathering will most likely be Monday, March 20 at the usual time. The topic and location is still to be determined (we've have an option to meet at the Caribou Coffee in Glen Ellyn instead of Wheaton College) so if you have thoughts on either of those questions please let me know.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
It seems our gatherings are coming in bunches right now. We had Tony Jones last month, up/rooted.west a couple of days ago, and this next Sunday we will be hosting Dave Tomlinson .
He will be speaking to us about his new book (which hasn't come out in the US yet), Running into God: Reflections for Ordinary Days, and the narrative theology undergirding it. In this book Tomlinson investigates the sacrament of ordinariness - that we can run into God anywhere, anytime, in any situation, through any person, and how this
everydayness draws us into the Story of God.
We will be meeting on February 19th, from 5pm to 7pm in the Olsson
Lounge in the Seminary Building of North Park University.
Please feel free to bring friends, especially those from around the CITY because there are rumors about the beginning of an up/rooted.city coming soon.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
I've tentatively decided that we'll discuss the relation of the emerging church and politics. It's true that a lot of emergent folks also tend to be more progressive politically, but is this a necessary connection? Are issues of social justice inherent to the Kingdom of God themes that are increasingly at the center of the emerging conversation, or should we steer away from those kinds of discussions for fear of alienating and turning off people who might otherwise be sympathetic to the emerging church? If Emergent as an organization becomes too identified and intertwined with groups like Sojourners will that close off the conversation to people whose conservative leanings are more central to their own beliefs?
Let's talk about it! We can get into specific political issues or just talk about the more general relation of faith and politics, whatever you all prefer.
See you there!