Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shift Student Ministries Conference

One of the advantages of living here in Chicago is the various events and opportunities that often happen in our neck of the woods. One such opportunity is the Shift Student Ministries Conference at Willow Creek on April 9-11. While I know many of you are probably already planning to attend Brian McLaren's Everything Must Change Tour the weekend before that (April 4-5) if you are specifically involved in youth ministries you'll want to also consider attending this excellent event. Note too that while this event is primarily for adult youth workers, there is also a student track for teen leaders within your ministries.

The organizers of this conferences are clearly tuned in to the emerging conversation as evidenced by their fantastic line-up of speakers and breakout leaders, including:

Brian McLaren
Mark Yaconelli
Shane Claiborne
Kara Powell
Dan Kimball
Scot McKnight

You can find out more by going to the main conference website or click here to register. Also, if you are part of our up/rooted network (i.e. if you get our email updates) please email me for a $50 discount code (good until 2/26, not valid for Student rates). We are partnering with this event to help promote it through up/rooted (so spread the word) and we will also be hosting a lunch discussion/networking time for any conference goers who are interested in finding out more about up/rooted or about Emergent cohorts in general. If you'd be willing to help me put that on, please let me know.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

up/rooted Holiday Party!

Everyone is invited to our first ever up/rooted Holiday Party, Wednesday, December 19th from 7pm – 9pm!

Heavy hor d'oevres, desserts and drinks will be provided free. But, please RSVP via email ( so the cook (me) can make enough (or not too much) food and desserts.

Normally, we'd ask you to bring food or drinks to share, but in light of the Food Bank Crisis that's going on in the U.S., please bring canned goods or boxed food items, baby diapers, or other toiletries and I will be taking them to the nearest food bank.

We'll also be doing a white elephant gift exchange (no more than $5) so bring something you found in your attic, at a thrift store or in your grandparent's basement!

There will also be a contest and prizes for the most hideous holiday sweater or holiday outfit worn to the party! Dumpster diving is also another source of hideous, or to some folks—fashionable, holiday outfits.

The party will be hosted at 5515 EAST LAKE DR, UNIT B, LISLE, IL 60532.

This apt is located just 7 minutes from the Lisle train station (express trains leave from downtown). Please call Kristine Socall at 630-963-0529 or Mike Clawson at 630-742-4062 if you need to be picked up from the train station.

It's also just a 5 minute drive West of I-355, just south of I-88, exit at Maple Ave from I-355. After you exit 355, go West past IL Rt 53 and turn L (South) on East Lake Dr. (also called Patton if you go North). After the turn, you will look for the second place to turn Rt, and the building will be immediately on your left. A Visitor Parking lot is available if you keep going straight past the building. DO NOT park in any spot that has a numbered sign post in front of it.

Please call me at 630.963.0529 if you need directions and I'll try to recruit some volunteers to be out in the lot to help everyone find their way.

Blessings upon you and your community during this season of celebrating God and each other!

Kristine Socall
up/rooted.west co-coordinator

Monday, December 03, 2007

up/rooted.west recap: Kingdom & Empire

We had an excellent discussion this past Monday at up/rooted.west as nine of us gathered at Wheaton College for a discussion of the political implications of Jesus' gospel of the kingdom of God. Chico Fajardo-Heflin from the Reba Place community and his wife Tatiana (one of the earliest members of up/rooted.west from way back in the day) came out from Evanston to guide us through the topic.

He began by leading us through some of the Roman rhetoric about Caesar Augustus that is paralleled in the gospel accounts (which I was happy to borrow for my advent sermon this past Sunday) - for instance, the way that Mark's Passion narrative is structured to exactly mirror a Roman coronation ceremony. We talked about how the gospel message was intended as an explicit challenge to the imperial imagination of Jesus' day, and how Jesus came to establish a new community, a different kind of "empire" - one of peace, justice and self-sacrifice rather than domination and the violent use of power.

From there our conversation naturally took a turn into the implications for living out the gospel in our own day. We talked about what exactly the "empire" is in our day - agreeing that it is far bigger than just a nation-state like America - that it actually encompasses the whole system of global capitalism that we are all immersed in. We also debated whether Jesus' call to create a new community, a new polis (the root of the word "political"), should encourage or discourage direct involvement in the political and economic structures of our own day. Should we avoid the subtle seduction of empire by withdrawing as much as possible from the systems that surround us, and instead create a new and separate community centered on the values of the God's kingdom; or is it possible to "fix" the empire through political processes, or at the very least, utilize such processes to help mitigate the evils caused by empire? (There was significant but friendly disagreement within the group on this issue, and it was fun to hash the question out together.)

Both Chico and I brought in a number of books for recommended reading on the topic. Some of these included Brian McLaren's new book, Everything Must Change, as well as several Anabaptist authors such as Ulrich Duchrow and Donald Kraybill. One the specific topic of how the early Christian message was a challenge to the imperial systems of the ancient world, we'd also recommend Richard Horsley's Jesus and Empire, Dominic Crossan's God and Empire, or Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat's Colossians Remixed.

Speaking of Brian's new book, we will begin an extended discussion of it after the New Year at up/rooted.west. Since it's a long book that touches on a wide variety of topics we will spread our discussion of it out over several months, leading up to Brian's Everything Must Change Tour here in Chicago on April 4-5. For January (exact date and location TBD) let's read and discuss the first two Parts of the book (chapters 1-9).

In December, on Wednesday the 19th, we are going to have a first for up/rooted: a Christmas Party! Kristine Socall will be hosting and more details will soon follow. This isn't just for up/rooted.west either, all of you are invited, especially those of you who haven't been with us for a long, long while. (Yes, that includes you Matt ;) - and Erin too if you're home from Calvin.) This will be a chance to re-connect, catch-up with old and new friends, and have a little holiday fun. Stay tuned for details and I'll hope to see you there!