Monday, November 26, 2007

Another up/ summary

BTW, Helen has an excellent summary of the most recent up/ gathering over at the Conversation at the Edge blog. Check it out!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Trying Not To Be Boneheads - November up/ summary

This month's meeting of up/ was definitely a balm for my soul. I had spent the day cranky and living inside my head, replaying angry thoughts and worrying about the future. However, once I arrived at Wicker Park Grace, I was pulled out of my head because the other folks that were there invited me into their hearts as they told their stories.

Twelve of us shared apples, celery, caramel sauce, peanut butter and apple juice for a little over two hours as we talked. Four of us had attended the first meeting but eight of us were brand new to the gathering and the new dynamic was interesting and good. I liked hearing that all of the attendees were brought to the meeting through the internet somehow and that many folks were meeting with each other independently for lunch.

The long-distance award goes to Bill, Helen's dad, who came all the way from Oxford, England to meet with us. Bill said many interesting things, but I was most intrigued by the logic of one of his statements. He pointed out that since church attendance is so much higher in the US than in the UK, it's reasonable to assume that Christians have a fair amount of influence on the policy that the US makes. He then talked a little bit about our continued use of capital punishment, which he believes is barbaric. He pointed out that capital punishment must have the support of Christians in the US since we are such a large majority and he questioned how that could be when God commands us to have mercy as we have been shown mercy. His voice was an intriguing addition to the group.

The group included an atheist, an almost atheist, an agnostic, a former neo-gnostic, a couple of pastors, former and current evangelicals, former and current mainline protestants, and folks who are still looking for a way to describe their faiths. Beautifully, all of us are actively examining ourselves and the world for God. Over the course of the evening, we built trust with each other, telling stories and asking questions. I particularly appreciated Helen's good questions. We talked about literalism in biblical interpretation, the use of Christian music in schools as an art form, manipulation as evangelism, the teaching of some churches that "doubt is bad" and the funding of church plants, in addition to other topics.

The best question asked, in my mind, came from Steve, the self-proclaimed "atheist husband" of Lainie, who asked, "Wouldn't it be a more enjoyable world to live in if the Christian message that was heard came from Christians who weren't boneheads?"

Amen, brother. I think that's probably something everyone can get behind.

Out next meeting is Monday, December 17 at 7:00 at Wicker Park Grace. I look forward to the balm a new mix of people will bring in a holiday season that can be particularly hard for humans as we try to figure out how to follow God and celebrate Jesus in authentic ways.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

up/rooted city meeting on Monday, November 19 at 7:00

I'm excited to announce that our second meeting of of up/rooted city will take place on Monday, November 19.  We'll gather at 7:00 for tea and stories.  

Wicker Park Grace
@ Acme Art Works
1741 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647

It's our intention to repeat our agenda from last month since it was so successful.  We'll continue getting to know one another, asking and answering questions of each other and creating a community of folks in the city who are interested in this new kind of Christianity and how we are living our lives through it.

There were lots of you out there who expressed disappointment that you weren't able to make it last time.  We look forward to seeing you on Monday, as well as those of you who were able to attend in October.

Please email me if you have any questions either at this address or at rebica (at) aol (dot) com.

In Service,

Sunday, November 04, 2007

McLaren's "Everything Must Change Tour" Coming to Chicago - Volunteers Needed!

You may have already heard that Brian McLaren will be spending the first part of this next year touring eleven major cities to talk about ideas related to his new book, "Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope". The Tour will be coming to Chicago April 4-5, a Friday evening to Saturday afternoon, at the First United Church of Oak Park.

At the conference Brian and others will attempt to answer some of the following questions:
- What does it mean, in today’s world, to be a follower of God in the way of Jesus?
- What does it mean to be a faith community engaged in the holistic, integral mission of God in our world today?
- How do we, as individuals and faith communities, respond faithfully to the crises facing our world?
- What is our duty to God, ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our enemies, and our planet in light of Jesus’ radical message of the kingdom of God?
- How can we engage in personal formation and theological reformulation for global transformation?

Click here for more details about the Tour, or here for a short video by Brian with 7 reasons why you should come.

An Important Opportunity for up/rooted

This Tour is an exciting opportunity for our Emergent cohort to help connect even more people into the conversation here in Chicago, and also to help form new cohort discussions in other locations around the upper Midwest. Brian has graciously agreed to let us use his Tour as a chance to promote up/rooted and other cohorts - we will have a sign-up table, and a chance to speak from the front and invite the attendees to connect with a group near them (or form one if one doesn't already exist).

In return we want to help Brian with logistical, behind-the-scenes stuff for his Tour, basically to extend hospitality to Brian when he visits our city and also take some ownership for this event. That is why I am actively recruiting you (yes, you) to volunteer to help at the Tour. You won't have to miss much of the Tour, just give an hour or two of your time to help with things like registration, airport shuttles, worship music, food prep, IT Techs, etc.

As a thank-you for helping you will receive the following:
1) A reduced registration rate of $79
2) A private cohorts breakfast with Brian on Saturday morning of the conference
3) A free copy of the book (if you don't already have one)

If you are interested in being a volunteer, please let me know. (Email me at as soon as you can.) We need anywhere from 12-20 volunteers, so please step up if you are able.

And we of course need everyone to help spread the word about the Tour in your spheres of influence - at church, school, denominational headquarters, etc. You can download postcards and posters for your blog or to print here.

The goal of all this is to play a small part in spurring on this Revolution of Hope. I'm excited for this opportunity to partner with Brian, and I hope you will join us.