Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Literal and Spiritual Potluck

Hey up/rooted friends!

As you know, we gathered again for up/rooted last night at Kristine Socall's home for good food and even better discussion. We reveled in humus and pita, Rosati's pizza, spinach artichoke dip, fresh home-grown tomato and mozarella bruschetta, and a number of other excellent dishes. After a time of renewing friendships over great food, we adjourned to the living room where we decided to each contribute one question to a big, fuzzy Russian hat from whence we drew and discussed.

Of course, with discussion as free flowing and lively as it ever is at up/rooted, we only had time for two of the questions suggested that night. The first we drew was from Pastor Fred of Redeemer Church in Park Ridge. His read:

"We are starting a new worship gathering on Sunday nites. For you, what are the values for worship in a postmodern context?"

It had been a while since we had addressed questions of worship styles and methods at up/rooted, so this was a great topic for us to get into together. We discussed what the purpose or goals of worship were. This led us into considering whether more charismatic group experiences or more individualistic contemplative experiences were preferable (or, if both are, to what degree of each). We also discussed the aesthetics of worship, and how worship should be an act that engages both the mind and the senses. Those with a more liturgical background brought up questions about the reasons for and value of liturgy, and Stephen especially shared about the uniqueness of his charismatic episcopal church, Church of the Resurrection.

BTW, Pastor Fred also encourage anyone from the up/rooted community to email him if you have any further suggestions or advice on starting a postmodern worship service. You can reach him at fjn113@comcast.net.

The second question of the night was from my wife Julie. She asked:

"Are Statements of Faith good or bad? Are they necessary or do they draw unnecessary lines?"

We began by discussing how Statements of Faith often help us know ahead of time what kind of church we're dealing with, if we are skilled at reading between the lines, and how there is value in being up front and honest about what is most important to your church. However, we also talked about the dangers of labeling and pigeonholing a church based on their beliefs without really getting to know the true personality of the church. It was also generally agreed that the more minimalist a Statement of Faith can be, the better, so that rather than drawing lines of "in" and "out", a church can be open to conversation and a diversity of viewpoints (realizing that this is sometimes easier said than done). My contribution was that a Statement of Faith, if a church has one, should be more about telling the basic story of our faith rather than about drawing lines on every little theological debate. For instance, our church, Via Christus, uses nothing more than the Apostles Creed as its Statement of Faith.

For the other questions that we didn't have time to discuss, I will be posting them here at our up/rooted blog every few days or so, and I encourage you all to dive into discussion of them. So if you've wanted to be involved in up/rooted but don't have time to get out to our gatherings regularly, here's your chance to contribute to the conversation online.

Our next up/rooted gathering will be on Thursday, September 28, and we will be joined by special guest Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon's Porch, author of the books Church Re-Imagined and Preaching Re-Imagined, and the orginal founder of what has become Emergent. Spread the word, invite your friends and pastors, and stay tuned for time and location details.


Mike Clawson
up/rooted co-coordinator

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