Monday, July 07, 2008

up/ - summary of last meeting and announcement of the next

Hey folks. Just touching base with you to let you know that we'd love for you to gather at Wicker Park Grace (1741 N. Western Avenue) on Wednesday, July 16 at 7:30. (Yeah. Mondays got bad for me.) It's been two months since we've seen each other and I'm looking forward to folks coming who want to connect for the first time with other people who are invested in learning how following Jesus can be made relevant to our post-modern culture. I'm also looking forward to seeing again the folks that have come once or twice or three times already to the monthly meetings we've been having since October.

Bring snacks if you've got 'em or your good humor if you don't.

Last time we got together, we discussed the recent Everything Must Change tour stop in Chicago. A mix of folks that had been to the event, read the book and had no exposure were all part of the conversation. We ranged over several topics but a few stood out enough for me to write them down.

We started with the question, "Has anyone done anything different since attending?" One participant said that she'd been thinking about our cultural framing stories since attending. Her eyes were open lately to the number of movies in which battles are won through brute force. The moral of these stories (TLOTR and Narnia come to mind) is that it's OK to win using violence because we're the good guys. This is so different from the non-violent subversion that Jesus demonstrated and preached about.

We talked about the difficulty in making movies and telling stories that glorify Jesus-style victories but worried that they don't fit the "Excitement paradigm" that are culture is addicted to. We noted that there ARE movies that tell the subversive story but that they don't do very well at the box office.

As the conversation moved on, we noted that the conference seemed aimed at "cloistered church people" and that although Brian McLaren painted the big picture well, we were frustrated with the the lack of practical suggestions. The conference was more a primer for opening people's eyes than anything else. We agreed that this was fine except that this left a void for those of us interested in going deeper.

This brought up the discomfort that many of us had that the presentation seemed a little like one long commercial for the "church coach" business that was being touted at intervals. We questioned the need for a church coach but brought up both pros and cons for the issue.

We had a great group and they were especially gracious to me in the energy void I was living in after my brother's three-day traditional Hindu wedding. I'm looking forward to seeing a similarly great group next Wednesday.

Unfortunately, the Church Basement Roadshow isn't swinging through Chicago, so I thought we might focus our conversation on people who are saying Emergent things and doing Emergent acts without the label. In other words, who out there is emerging from their Christian traditions in similar ways that we are but who are not converging with our "small band of rebel fighters"? I'll bring a CD to listen and respond to if we want and if anyone else want to contribute some articles or suggestions, I'll be happy to send them around next weekend with anything else I find.


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