Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What has up/ been up to?

So, we've had three gatherings of the up/ type and I haven't told you about any of them.


First, let me tell you that we're going to meet again on Monday, December 8 at 7:00 at Wicker Park Grace, which can be found at 1741 N. Western. We'd love to see anyone who has an inkling of interest in meeting up with folks who are interested in talking about opening up God's kingdom to all people, not just the ones who believe the same things we do.

Now, I'm going to give a list of quotes from our various gatherings, since I really should be doing my homework.

September discussion:

"I used to have a passion for being an evangelical Christian and then I had a passion for being a post-modern Christian and now I wish I could just reclaim some of that passion."

"The way the faith has been presented is shallow. So the way I see emergence is looking back into the depth of tradition."

"Yearning for a deeper or more real experience of God and community and how this covenant is played out in real life.

"Young folks already believe they can pick and choose and would never dream of feeling oppressed by a "modern" church who insists on all or nothing belief."

"If Jews interpreted the New Testament you would pretty much have Unitarianism."

Brian McLaren:

Emergence arises from two impulses: anxiety over the decline of Mainline Protestant, Catholic and Evangelical communities and folks who just stopped liking going to church.

When Bolger and Gibbs looked at churches that seemed to be attracting young people they found that style of worship was not the most dominant common characteristic. Instead, most shared a desire to fulfill the idea of "on Earth as it is in Heaven."

Phyllis Tickle defined emergence as a desire to share spiritual resources.

Emergence can be viewed as the new outer ring of a tree rather than just another slice of a finite pie.

Pre-modern, Modern and Emergent can be defined by the evolution of literacy: Pre-modern is a time of no books (no literacy), Modern has books (literate), Post-Modern has screens and hyper-text (multi-literate).

"This building [Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago] evokes continuity with the medieval era."

Modern Christianity has been getting less and less formal, like digging a basement - Eastern Orthodox to Roman Catholic and Anglican to Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist to Baptists to Pentecostals to House, cell and storefront churches. Interestingly, the early church started in the basement.

Theology Pub:

Actually, I don't really have any quotes from the Theology Pub. It was a loud, hot and crowded event full of people that wanted to talk about opening up God's kingdom to all people, not just the ones who believe the same things we do. It was pretty cool. I ended up buying a copy of Nadia Bolz-Weber's book and I'm looking forward to the end of the quarter so I actually read it.

So, join us on December 8. Bring some cookies. Or celery. Or just your soul. We'll talk about stuff. It'll be good.

Go Gently,

Saturday, November 08, 2008

busy lately? take some time out with us for dinner and discussion!

Spiritual disciplines, grad school homework, funerals, hurting friends, a full-time job, working out, serving projects, family drama, and my own personal drama sure do keep my time occupied - as I'm sure for you as well! I'm not sure how Americans stay sane considering our lifestyles that keep us hopping and always occupied - sometimes even good spiritual activities just seem like another appointment block on my Outlook calendar. It's one of the reasons why the regular practice of Sabbath has been crucial for my life. There is a time for work, for play and for rest and God is with me through all the sacred ordinariness of life. Although, at times, I am simply overwhelmed with the world's crises and injustices that just seem to be never ending and there is still much work to be done. Learning how to recharge and find balance is critical!

I heard a woman speak last night about an experience she had in an orphanage in Ghana. She walked into a concrete warehouse open room filled with hundreds of crying, crawling and walking infants under 3 years old. Being overwhelmed with the desire to pick one up, to comfort at least just one affection-starved child, she asked if she could hold one. She was stunned by the response - "No, don't! They'll get used to being held and they'll cry even more and it will make it even worse! But, come here, let us show you something."

They took her to a room off to the side of the open warehouse where she could smell sweet perfume coming from under the door. They cracked the door open where she could see an older white-haired woman sitting on a mat on the floor, surrounded by candles and sweet perfume oils. This woman was holding one baby, massaging its back with perfumed oil and the baby had a wide-eyed look of ecstasy - soaking it all in! She was told that each baby gets two hours each week in the "holding room of intense compassion".

You may not have the capacity to hold the entire world's pain in your arms, but to whom are you called to offer love, compassion and holding? To whomever that is, I encourage you to do it intensely and surround yourselves with people who will support your arms when they become too heavy to hold anymore!

up/rooted.west will be meeting on the third Tuesday, Nov 18 and Dec 16 at 6:45pm, hosted at Randy Harper's home: 1950 Manchester Rd., Wheaton. We'll offer a free dinner, so please RSVP if you'll be able to make it so the cooks can be prepared. November's discussion will be an open forum and in December we'll tackle 1/3 of Phyllis Tickle's new book, The Great Emergence.

We hope that our discussion group and community of friends can offer hope and encouragement to despairing or weary Kingdom laborers, stimulate theological thought, inspire you with new ideas for how to be the church in your context and that our dreams and visions of what is possible will bounce off each other and grow exponentially as we share!

I pray that you are enjoying God and the divine work He has invited you into and that your life is filled with fellow God-lovers and laborers who will encourage your journey when you become weary! Wherever the disciples went, they encouraged one another. May we strive to do the same today as we are no less in need of encouragement!

Blessings on your journey,
Kristine Socall

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