Thursday, March 27, 2008

Update from the city

On Monday I put my quilting down long enough to head over to Wicker Park Grace for our March up/ meeting. (Did I mention I'm on Spring Break? I'm still in my pajamas!) Six of us met up there to discuss the first chapter of Everything Must Change. I think it's terribly neat that the two new folks, Chris and Maria, knew each other from other places but hadn't known they would be in the same place that night. It demonstrates to me just how pervasive this emerging movement might become.

We had a great discussion about the first chapter and our speculations about the rest of the book, which were tempered and bolstered by those folks who had actually read the rest of the book.

We talked about the historical pattern that the small band of rebel fighters grow to become the dominant force in society, which spurs a new band of rebels to splinter away, fight for the right to exist and ultimately grow to be the dominant force of society. We talked about Constantine and about Christianity being a prophetic voice from the margins. We talked about Shane Claiborne and whether we are called to drop out of society or to reform it. We sat in remorse for a little while over that fact that examining our lives on any level shows that every act hurts another person in some way. Walking on concrete, wearing clothes, using toilet paper.

Those of us that haven't read the book yet wondered if it would actually show us hope, actually show us how Christianity can help us change how we live our lives and maybe the world.

John sent me a follow-up email pointing to an Emergent Village post addressing these concerns here. It refers folks over to Andrew Jones' blog (I love the internet) but summarizes it saying:
Andrew’s three concerns [about Everything Must Change] were:

“The apparent absence of the CHURCH as God’s primary instrument in accomplishing his mission on earth — and the gaping hole in [Everything Must Change] where the example of equality and justice in the early church of Acts 2-4 should have been”

“The apparent absence of HOPE in your view of future things … the afterlife, resurrection of the dead, etc.”

“An uncritical appraisal of the liberation theology movement from Latin America … [Everything Must Change] appears almost giddy and accepting without reservation”
Brian McLaren respond on Andrew's blog.

As usual, our conversation ranged around several other topics as the spirit and our hearts led us but I spent only a small amount of time taking notes. We did talk a little about charity vs. justice, whether the emerging movement should stick to internet posts rather than book contracts, the relationship between economic theory and broken human nature, and what issue exactly it was that sent us from conventional church to the emerging church.

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, April 16. Yup, not a Monday this month. We're hosting the Reverends Debbie Blue and Russell Rathbun (if the poetry of their names does not draw you in, I don't know what will). Their church, House of Mercy, is emerging in St. Paul, MN and has the delightful tag line for their Sunday services stating, "you should come, it's not that bad." Of course, I wish they had used a semi-colon in there, but not all of us are blessed to have been high school English teachers at some point our lives, so I won't judge. Regardless, come and eat the snacks we all bring, drink Wicker Park Grace's tea and listen to their stories and possibly a little bit from their books, both published and upcoming.

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