On the morning of our last up/rooted.city gathering, I got on the bus to head south to school and was greeted by the bus driver calling, "Welcome to the Happy Bus!" Each stop got a new name: "Happy Financial Place!" "Happy Franklin!" He also had a variety of phrases that he regaled us with through the speaker system:
Don't let nobody steal your joy.
Don't complain about your job. Oatmeal is better than no meal.
Don't let nobody steal your j-o-y. (The second time he spelled it out.)
I couldn't help but smile and feel a little bit like I'd just taken off the roller skates as I walked away from the bus at "Happy State Street!" It was a good way to start a day that culminated in our February cohort gathering. We had a smaller group this month but still some new faces, specifically Eric, our second Moody-ite, and Rachel, who is considering Div schools and had some experience with Quakers to bring to the group. Susan, Nick, Nanette, John and I rounded out the mix.
We started the evening asking and answering the question, "How is emerging defined?" with a follow-up question regarding the future of the movement and whether or not someday we'll set down an "Emerging" theology. Although I recoiled in horror at that idea, the other members of the group were able to discuss it with tact and grace. We talked about paradigm shifts, big E's and little e's, and asked if it was a post-evangelical movement with some mainline elements or a post-mainline movement with some evangelical soundings, as Marcus Borg asserts.
I have the words, "Brueggemann" and "dialogic perspectivism" written in my journal but I'll be danged if I could tell you what that means.
We did talk about the flat social network of the emerging movement and discussed whether or not Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren are leaders simply because they have book contracts. We speculated that in the same way folks at Moody all get painted with the same brush, so might emerging folks.
We landed on the concept of making space for conversations as a major element of the emerging movement and asked what should we do with people that don't want to have the conversation. This caused us to reflect on our own tendencies toward hubris and we talked briefly about arrogant progressives and our need to keep humility at our center as a movement.
Today, I went to a meeting about an intentional community that I'm working as part of a group to get started as a new condo development. I offered a guy named Chris a ride home from the meeting and in the getting-to-know-you conversation, he asked, "So what else do you do?" I mentioned that I facilitated the up.rooted.city cohort and his face lit up as he said, "I just sent you an email! When's the next meeting?" My car was a tiny little Happy Bus at that moment.
Our next meeting will be Monday, March 24 at 7:00 at Wicker Park Grace, which can be found for a little while longer at 1741 N. Western. Snacks will be welcome, as well as warm and imperfect souls.
I'll send out a reminder email (hopefully sometime before the day of the gathering) with some readings to get us started on a topic.