Tuesday, November 28, 2006

November gathering update

Hey up/rooted friends!

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this update out. The holiday kind of threw everything off for me. As you know, two weeks ago we were joined by several friend from the Psalters, as well as Melissa DeLong from Camden House in Camden, NJ to talk about intentional communities and radical discipleship.

We began by defining our terms. Jay from the Psalters taught us that radical=root, which means that radical discipleship is about reconnecting to the historic roots of the church. It is a return to an Acts 2 style church in which the disciples shared their resources and ended poverty among themselves. An intentional community is thus a community of people who choose to live according to this lifestyle of sharing. We also talked about how being a disciple means embracing discipline, and thus people who choose to live intentionally in community with one another agree to a particular discipline or rule of life that defines their community. It is a deliberate choice to live differently from the pattern of this world.

I suppose this is why intentional communities are often said to be part of a new monasticism. However, this monasticism is not about isolating from the world, but about being a transformative presence within it for justice.The goal of community, they said, was to be "a shockwave of love in the world", which is why the most successful communities have a missional edge to them.

As we opened it up for questions, most of us from up/rooted wanted to know how the values and lifestyles of these intentional communities could translate into a suburban context. Several of us felt the intense difficulty of living in this way of sharing and simplicity and community when it goes so against the grain of our affluent suburban culture. We talked about the fragmentation of community that we already experience between home and church and work and school, etc., and asked how we could begin to put those pieces together in that setting, while realizing that few of us are going to be able to recreate the kind of intentional communal setting that groups like the Psalters or Camden House have created.

Other questions had to do with how to integrate children into this radical lifestyle, the fine line between discipline and legalism, the tension between being countercultural and being culturally relevant, and also the dangers of spiritual pride or judgmentalism that might creep in to those who practice a radical discipleship. The conversation was animated and free flowing, and I think I can safely say that we all learned a lot from each other. While not all of us may be called to this style of communal radical discipleship, all of us were inspired to creatively discover how we can begin to live radically in our own ways and in our own communities.

Please remember the Psalters, Melissa, as well as Kristine Socall and others from Adventrek who are traveling in Turkey this month (until Christmas). They are working and living with Kurdish Refugees, hearing their stories and learning from their way of life. They also have some opportunities to meet and learn from local musicians and spiritual leaders, as well as visit those ancient cities we read about like Cappodoccia, Ephesus, and Istanbul.

And don't forget that we will be meeting again for up/rooted on Monday, December 11 from 7-9pm at Redeemer Church in Park Ridge (1006 Gillick St) to hear from Dr. Scot McKnight from North Park University about his new book, The Real Mary. Hope to see you there!


Mike Clawson
up/rooted co-coordinator

Monday, November 27, 2006

Soularize 2007

If you're not familiar with Spencer Burke and his creation, theOoze.com, you should be. Spencer has been and continues to be one of the most provocative voices in the emerging church conversation, and especially in challenging institutional Christianity. TheOoze, has likewise become the single most influential website in the emerging church; a clearing house, if you will of emergent thought and conversation. It now draws over 250,000 visitors per month!

For years now Spencer has been hosting annual Soularize conferences, what he calls "learning parties". This year's learning party will be especially fun, set as it is in the Bahamas! Spencer asked me to let you all know about it and encourage you to attend. The best part is that you don't have to wait till next fall for the party to begin. The journey actually begins now, through private message boards and live conference calls with a special learning group between now and October.

Anyhow, below is the official information that you can also access at the Soularize website:

Soularize 2007
A 3-day Learning Party in the Bahamas with your host Spencer Burke
Featuring N. T. Wright, Rita Nakashima Brock, and Fr. Richard Rohr
October 25-27, 2007

Why cram all your learning into a three-day conference, when you could embark on a yearlong learning journey – building lasting relationships and celebrating our collaborative journey in Nassau, Bahamas?

Join us as we gather TheOOZE global community for a learning experience that will truly be one of a kind. Taking the best of both Soularize and ETREK, Soularize 2007 will be an online learning journey culminating with a three-day learning party in Nassau, Bahamas. Soularize 2007 will be bringing together both prominent and innovative voices in re-imagining Church for an online and offline dialogue in the first person.

Yearlong Online Learning Journey

As a part of the journey, you will join a learning group facilitated by some of the guiding voices from TheOOZE global community. Through a series of live conference calls, your group will interact with some of the freshest thinkers and practitioners in the Church, the marketplace, and the arts on issues facing culture and the Church. You will not only interact with our conference calls guests through the live calls; you will also get to dialogue with them and others in the learning community through private message boards.

The online learning journey will launch live on November 15, 2006 and lead up to the learning party in the Bahamas in October 2007. You can join the journey at any time along the process, accessing past learnings through the Soularize 2007 archived mp3s.

Learning Party in the Bahamas
This yearlong learning journey will conclude with a unique celebration in Nassau, Bahamas with your party host Spencer Burke where you will get to interact in person with keynote presenters, Rita Nakashima Brock, and Fr. Richard Rohr. You will also have the opportunity to explore the island culture and art scene, take an excursion to a private island, and swim with sharks [literally] – all while celebrating the collaborative learning journey by hearing from other learning groups. The learning party will take place in Nassau, Bahamas on October 25-27, 2007.

Come and lend your voice, your experience, and your dreams as we explore the Evolving Church – rethinking and rediscovering what the Church could be in years ahead.

Early Reg. $199 before Dec. 31, 06
Regular Reg. $249 on or after January 1, 2007

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

National Declaration by Religious Leaders to Address Violence Against Women

On April 5, 2006 forty-two national religious leaders from around the country declared violence against women as intolerable and pledged their commitment to its eradication. The National Declaration by Religious Leaders to Address Violence Against Women will be distributed to every battered women's program in the U.S. Women will see this list and determine whether their faith community supports them in seeking safety for themselves and their children. When people of faith join with other community leaders to address domestic violence, we will see ancient roadblocks turn into resources that save lives and bring healing.

We proclaim with one voice as national spiritual and religious leaders that violence against women exists in all communities, including our own, and is morally, spiritually and universally intolerable.

We acknowledge that our sacred texts, traditions and values have too often been misused to perpetuate and condone abuse.

We commit ourselves to working toward the day when all women will be safe and abuse will be no more.

We draw upon our healing texts and practices to help make our families and societies whole.

Our religious and spiritual traditions compel us to work for justice and the eradication of violence against women.

We call upon people of all religious and spiritual traditions to join us.

Please join other people of faith in signing the Declaration.
Click Here to Sign!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For Anyone Wishing to Go to the Ancient-Future Conference

Are any Chicago Area emerging/missional people out there interested in coming to the Ancient-Evangelical Future Conference? I posted earlier on my own blog on the subject "Does Brian McLaren Need Bob Webber?" In other words, what does liturgy, ancient practices of spiritual formation,and the Bible as narrative have to do with postmodernity? Brian McLaren will be speaking at the AEF Conference Thursday night Dec 7th on the title "Does the Emerging Church Have an Ancient Future?" at 7 p.m. at Northern. Lauren Winner will be speaking on Dec 9th Saturday morning 9 a.m. on the subject of our Hebrew heritage, postmodernity, narrative and doing theology and church in our times. This is all at Northern Seminary. There will be breakout sessions, panel discussions, and alot of interaction. If there are any interested in coming, I know its quite expensive, especially the whole conference. Nonethless, I have been able to get a deal for any group interested in coming to just these two presentations and surrounding events for 50 bucks. It's still alot. But if any of you can afford it, we'll try to have some time together for discussion and mutual encouragement. I will be responding to Brian's presentation Thursday nite. Perhaps we can all meet afterwards. Check it out and let me know by emailing me at fitchest@earthlink.net If we get ten people who'd like to do this, we can get it at 50 bucks a piece. Not trying to hype this thing. I just think it would be a cool thing to participate in.

Blessings, David Fitch from up/rooted North!

Sample chapter of The Real Mary

If you're interested in our upcoming discussion with Scot McKnight about The Real Mary (Monday, December 11 at Redeemer Church in Park Ridge), you may want to check out this sample chapter of his book. It begins this way:

“Why are you—a Protestant—writing a book about Mary?” I’ve been asked this question many times. In fact, one person asked me the following question: “Wasn’t Mary a Roman Catholic?” (No kidding.)

Why write a book for Protestants about Mary? Here’s why: Because the story about the real Mary has never been told. The Mary of the Bible has been hijacked by theological controversies whereby she has become a Rorschach inkblot in which theologians find whatever they wish to find. In the midst of this controversy, the real Mary has been left behind. It is time to let her story be told again. Over the past ten years I have read shelves of books and articles about Mary, and I have discovered that almost no one is interested in what the real Mary was like in her day. The Real Mary attempts to fill in that gap and underscore the real Mary.

Why a book about Mary?
Because while Mary’s story is that of an ordinary woman, it is also the story of a woman with an extraordinary vocation (being mother to the Messiah) who learned to follow this Messiah Jesus through the ordinary struggles all humans face. In this sense, Mary represents each of us—both you and me—in our call to follow Jesus.

Why a book about Mary?
Because for years the view of Mary in the Church has been unreal. Mary has become for many little more than a compliant “resting womb” for God, and she has become a stereotype of passivity in the face of challenge, of self-sacrifice at the expense of one’s soul care, and of quietude to the point of hiding in the shadows of others. Nora O. Lozana-Diaz, a professor at the Hispanic Baptist Theological College, traces the influence of what she calls marianismo on Latin culture and claims this false view of Mary (marianismo) oppresses women instead of challenging them to live with courage before God—as Mary herself did! If a false view damages all of us, a more accurate view can encourage all of us, women and men.

Why write a book about Mary?
Because she was the mother of Jesus, and being the mother of Jesus ought to matter to each of us.

Read the rest of this chapter here.

You can order a copy of the book from the publishers, Paraclete Press for 20% off before December 3rd. If you're planning to come to our discussion on December 11, you should definitely get yourself a copy of the book before then.

There is also a study guide available online.

Hope to see you on the 11th!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bob Francis writes for God's Politics blog

Many of you will remember Bob Francis, the sociology student at the University of Chicago that came to up/rooted over the past year as he was doing his thesis on the emerging church in Chicagoland. When he finished that program he moved to Washington DC to do a year internship with Sojourners.

Anyway, he recently got to write an article for the God's Politics blog, a forum usually reserved for big-time faith thinkers like Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, etc. The article is entitled, "What's the Face of True Patriotism?" Feel free to check it out, and, if so moved, add any comments (laudatory, critical, scathing, whatever) or interact with the discussion it has already spawned.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

An up/rooted Christmas with Scot McKnight

I have exciting news! Professor Scot McKnight of North Park University will be joining us at our next up/rooted gathering on Monday, December 11 from 7-9pm to discuss his newest book, The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus. Scot has been a vocal supporter of the emerging church over the past few years, especially through his well-known blog, Jesus Creed. We are excited that he can finally make it out to one of our gatherings, and I, for one, am looking forward to reading his book and hearing his thoughts on Mary during this Christmas season.

We'll be meeting in a different location, and a totally different suburb this time. Pastor Fred has graciously offered to host us at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Park Ridge (near O'Hare) this month. (The address is 1006 Gillick St, Park Ridge IL 60068.) This means that for those of you in the north suburbs or downtown, we'll be a lot closer to you this time! I hope you are able to come and join us, especially if we haven't seen you in a while due to the distance.

BTW, our gathering this past week with the Psalters was great. I'll be sending out a summary soon.

See you all in December!

Mike Clawson
up/rooted co-coordinator

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ancient Evangelical Future Call Conference

I'm a little late getting the word out about this conference, though it's not too late to sign up. December 7-9 Northern Seminary in Lombard will be hosting the Ancient Evangelical Future Call Conference (yes, I know, it's a mouthfull). The conference is based on a statement written by Robert Webber and Phil Kenyon entitled (what else), "A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future". The opening of the Call states the following:
In every age the Holy Spirit calls the Church to examine its faithfulness to God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, authoritatively recorded in Scripture and handed down through the Church. Thus, while we affirm the global strength and vitality of worldwide Evangelicalism in our day, we believe the North American expression of Evangelicalism needs to be especially sensitive to the new external and internal challenges facing God’s people.
These external challenges include the current cultural milieu and the resurgence of religious and political ideologies. The internal challenges include Evangelical accommodation to civil religion, rationalism, privatism and pragmatism. In light of these challenges, we call Evangelicals to strengthen their witness through a recovery of the faith articulated by the consensus of the ancient Church and its guardians in the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, the Protestant Reformation and the Evangelical awakenings. Ancient Christians faced a world of paganism, Gnosticism and political domination. In the face of heresy and persecution, they understood history through Israel’s story, culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the coming of God’s Kingdom.
Today, as in the ancient era, the Church is confronted by a host of master narratives that contradict and compete with the gospel. The pressing question is: who gets to narrate the world? The Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future challenges Evangelical Christians to restore the priority of the divinely inspired biblical story of God’s acts in history. The narrative of God’s Kingdom holds eternal implications for the mission of the Church, its theological reflection, its public ministries of worship and spirituality and its life in the world. By engaging these themes, we believe the Church will be strengthened to address the issues of our day.

The line-up of speakers for this conference is diverse and impressive, including Brian McLaren, Frederica Matthewes-Green, Aaron Flores, Martin Marty, & Lauren Winner. It looks like a good event (ones like this are rare here in the upper Midwest) though a bit pricey ($224 for the full conference, though you can pay per day).

Anyhow, just thought you all might be interested. I won't be going (because of the price) but if any of you do go, please let us know and send us a summary.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Emerging Worship Coordinator Position

Pastor Fred from Redeemer Church in Park Ridge (a regular at up/rooted) asked me to post an opening at his church for a Worship Coordinator to help create and lead a weekly Emerging Worship Gathering. Here's the info:

Worship Coordinator for Emerging Worship Gathering

Redeemer Lutheran Church in Park Ridge is seeking a Worship Coordinator for a new Sunday evening emerging worship gathering, which will launch in the spring of 2007. The Worship Coordinator will have primary responsibility for designing, coordinating, and providing leadership for the worship service. This person will also help in recruiting volunteers and publicizing the gathering, and will provide a pastoral presence. It is anticipated that this position will require, on average, about fifteen hours per week. The ideal candidate will have a heart for the unchurched, be creative, collaborative, organized, warm and outgoing, familiar with and enthusiastic about emerging worship, and comfortable in a leadership position in worship.

This position begins in January of 2007. For a full job description, including position responsibilities and compensation package, contact Pastor Fred Nelson by email at fjn113@comcast.net or by phone at 847-692-7120. To check out Redeemer Church’s approach to ministry and worship, go to our website at redeemer-changinglives.com.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

up/rooted gathering this monday

Don't forget that our next up/rooted gathering will be this coming Monday, November 13 from 7-9pm at Kristine Socall's home (26w325 Torrey Pines Ct, Winfield, IL). We'll be joined by the Psalters as well as a friend from Camden House, an intentional community in New Jersey, to lead us in a discussion about alternative forms of church, intentional communities, and radical discipleship.

If you're new to up/rooted, maybe you came for the first time in September to hear Doug Pagitt, or maybe you've just found yourself on this mailing list but have never actually come, I want to especially invite you and encourage you to attend. up/rooted is a network of friendships, and your voice would be valued in this conversation. This will be a more relatively "normal" format for up/rooted (special guests notwithstanding), so this is a good chance to see what usually goes on if you've never been to a "normal" night before.

BTW, bring some snacks, drinks or appetizers to share if you care to. And also, as an act of love towards the Psalters (and Kristine) who are staying in Kristine's house for a few weeks, if you come, please bring some groceries to help feed them during their stay. Kristine said that fresh fruits and vegetables are especially welcome, though canned goods and other staples I'm sure would be equally appreciated.

See you there!

-Mike Clawson
up/rooted co-coordinator