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

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