Friday, February 29, 2008

up/rooted.west February update

Sorry it's taken me a week and a half to get this update out. Between traveling to Texas for a grad school interview, and getting our house ready to sell so we can move next summer I've had very little time to catch up on cohort stuff.

up/rooted.west met on Presidents Day in downtown Wheaton to discuss two more sections of Brian McLaren's book, Everything Must Change. This section dealt specifically with two views of Jesus, which Brian contrasts to show how the "conventional" view is often an accomplice to the destructive systems that have cause the global crises we see around us, while what he calls the "emerging" view can actually help to heal some of these problems. (You'll have to read the book to get the details on these two views.) We had some excellent discussion and even debate, as not everyone in the group was sold on Brian's ideas, or on the dichotomy he appears to set up between the two views. Some felt he was overemphasizing the critique of "empire" found in the gospels, making it more significant than it is, or reading it into passages when it isn't actually there. Others suggested however that Brian was emphasizing those themes because they were relevant to the topic of global crises even if he wouldn't say that they are the only things the gospel is about.

The discussion also drifted into many other questions and topics, some related to the book, and some that grew out of the discussion itself. As with all good conversations, it was free flowing, respectful, and diverse. We closed with a "lectio divina" style reflection where each person shared one thing from the discussion that they would be taking away with them. It was good to hear how the Spirit spoke to each person differently in the course of the evening.

I hope you'll join us for our next round of discussion on this book when we'll tackle the central three sections (chapters 19-30) that deal with the three interlocking systems (Security, Prosperity, and Equity) that Brian believes are at the heart of the global crises facing our world. We will meet once again at Gino's East in downtown Wheaton on Monday, March 24 at 7pm.

Also, don't forget that Brian's Everything Must Change Tour will be coming to Chicago on April 4-5. The deadline for the lower $99 price has been extended till March 15, so you still have time to register. Click here to do so.

After the Tour we will meet again in April for one more book discussion on the final section and, more importantly, to brainstorm more specific ways that we can put the ideas of this book into practical action. The expectation is that we will be joined at that meeting by a good number of first-timers who will hopefully connect with up/rooted at the conference. I'd like to use the momentum of that event, as well as from our discussion over these past few months, to launch a revolution of active engagement with global and local justice issues among our communities all over the Chicago area, and I think our April cohort meeting would be a great place to kick that off.

So yeah, hope to see you for the discussion March 24, and again at the conference the week after that!

-Mike Clawson
up/rooted.west co-coordinator

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Emerging Church in Indy recently had an article featuring the emerging church in Indianapolis, Indiana, highlighting four emerging churches as well as our friend Sarah Notton (pictured on the right), founder of the Indianapolis Emergent Cohort and one of our co-conspirators for the Midwest Emergent Gathering we did here in Chicago this past summer. It's good to see the conversation flourishing in our neighbor to the south!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Can't we all just get along?

Whether you've been around the dialogue between the emerging church and the evangelical church a lot or a little, you've noticed there can be some sharp disagreements. There are quarrels about the role of the church, definitions of success, theology of the atonement, salvation, the Kingdom of God, mission, understandings of the Bible, truth and more.

For those trying to navigate the changes in our culture and in the church, we find quite the maze to sort through. Must everything change? Is there a war on Truth? It seems the emerging church and evangelicalism are antithetical; if you're one you can't be the other. There are many emerging voices tearing down evangelicalism as nothing more than American consumerism and individualism, and many evangelical voices decrying the emerging church as having left orthodox Christianity behind.

If you're looking for a thoughtful gathering without all the rhetoric on just what all the fuss is about, up/rooted.north is hosting a 10-week discussion on evangelicalism and the emerging church: not just on the differences, but also how the emerging movement is closely linked to evangelicalism historically and theologically.

We will be meeting on Thursday nights beginning February 28th, at 7:30pm in the Barnes and Noble at 920 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire. We’ll be in the little coffee shop area. Our gatherings will be led by fellow up/rooted.north-er, Dustin Underwood. If you’re an evangelical, emerging, a bit confused, or all of the above, come listen, learn and add your thoughts. Hope to see you next Thursday in Lincolnshire!

Jon Berbaum, coordinator of up/rooted.north

Friday, February 15, 2008

up/rooted.west this Monday, Feb 18

Just a reminder that up/rooted.west will be gathering this coming Monday, February 18 for part 2 of our discussion of Brian McLaren's new book, Everything Must Change. We'll be discussing chapters 10-18, but even if you haven't read you should have no trouble diving into the conversation.

We'll be meeting at 7pm at the Gino's East Pizzeria in downtown Wheaton. You don't have to get food, but if you'd like to, bring $5-10 bucks for pizza.

Hope to see you there!

-Mike Clawson
up/rooted co-coordinator

Friday, February 08, 2008

Summary of January up/ gathering

I love the rotating nature of attendance in the community that we are forming. 10 folks gathered on a Monday night: some male, some female; some Jewish, some Greek; some religious, some not; some new to up/rooted, some new to the new people. All of us slave to something, all of us free in some way.

We drank tea and ate Garrett's popcorn while conversation started with how we are trying to live out our spirituality and went a variety of places from there. We kept coming back to the ideas of "obligation" and "practice" and what those two concepts meant for us in a post-modern context while still being faithful with what many of us feel we're commnaded to do.

Our next meeting will be Monday, February 25th at 7:00. We'll be meeting at Wicker Park Grace (1741 N. Western). We'd love to share the wealth of hospitality opportunities. If you'd like to bring a snack for the group, please do. It's always a delight to see what different people love to feed their friends.

Monday, February 04, 2008

January up/ recap

BTW, Helen has an excellent (as usual) recap of this past month's up/ gathering over at the Conversation at the Edge blog.

Here's an excerpt:
Nick, an atheist, and Anachim, an Emergent Jewish Rabbi, were back. I was glad I wasn’t the only not-Christian in the group. Not because the Christians have been other than welcoming to those of us who aren’t. Rather, because I like the diversity and challenge of friendly conversation between people whose beliefs are different.

After introductions we talked about ‘practising’ which was partly because I’d asked Rebecca if we could. I’ve been thinking lately about how Off The Map is practice-based rather than belief-based and how glad I am about that. It’s in practising that I often find common ground with people whose beliefs are different.

Go check out the rest.