Monday, December 28, 2009

Charter for Compassion

I learned from one of my favorite bloggers, Baraka, that the Charter for Compassion has become a reality. It was the wish expressed by Karen Armstrong when she was selected as a TED Prize Winner:
I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.
I remember reading about the process in a fantastic post written by my friend Mike two years ago.

The Charter for Compassion was unveiled on November 12th and is available for all to sign and affirm, online and in their lives. I have signed it because it resonates so much with my spiritual practice that seeks justice and compassion (to feel with) on both a systemic level and a personal level (the second is harder than the first, for me).

In Mike's post, he writes about immigration but his words are applicable to foster care or education or any number of societal ills that are perpetuated by institutions. He writes:
Would you say "Well the law's the law," or would you say "Laws can change, and this one needs to, because justice and compassion ought never to be opposed to one another"?

I think Karen Armstrong says something similar when she writes:
"I say that religion isn’t about believing things. It’s ethical alchemy. It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.”
It seems to me she is saying that whatever unseen thing into which we put our faith is important to each of us as fuel for our spirit but what we do with that energy is even more important. And no one would claim that we are called to act selfishly when we experience these intimations of holiness and sacredness.

I am excited to see that one of the paragraphs of the Charter addresses our participation in systems of injustice like sweatshops and harmful farming techniques.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
This is the area where I am working the hardest on a personal level, committing to buying organic and fair-trade food(chocolate is a recent tough addition to the list) and buying all of my clothing second-hand or from scrupulous vendors. I will think about how I can live more deeply in accordance with this Charter, which I think accurately describes what God wants for my life.

Please learn more about the Charter below and here and then consider spreading the word to your networks.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Hello good people doing good things out there in the world!

I have a favor to ask.

Tonight, several people are driving in through the snow of the suburbs to attend our up/ meeting with the hopes of meeting Christians who won't be mean to them. They are just dipping their toes into this emergent stuff and I'd love to have a large welcoming committee for them.

If you have ever thought to yourself, "Wow, I've been meaning to go," consider making tonight the night. Don't let the snow hold you back from folks in need.

7:00 at 1741 N. Western. We'll provide the tea. You consider providing some snacks. God will be there.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Church profile: First Lutheran Church of the Trinity

So, the benefit of being unemployed is that, in an effort to expand my network, I get to meet with all sorts of interesting people. I decided that while I was doing this, I would work on behalf of up/rooted and find some leaders of spiritual communities that might not self-identify as "emergent" but who are walking down the same types of paths toward God. If you know any of these folks, please send their contact info my way and I'll try to have a little coffee and write up a profile for you, the readers of this blog.

Yesterday, I had lunch with Tom Gaulke, the pastor at First Lutheran Church of the Trinity. Tom is probably around my age (late 20s, early 30s) and speaks with that slightly twitchy passion that I have come to associate with folks who have seriously bought into Jesus's commandment to give up their wealth and serve the poor. It's like the personality equivalent of the giant pores on a nun's face: who needs uber-refined social skills when there's work to do? I find that my life is much better when I interact regularly with folks like this. It's like they have gotten to a point where their self-confidence in being a loved child of God lets them be more vulnerably themselves with other people rather than spending all of their energy on controlling their image. He smiles a lot above his clerical short-sleeve maroon button-down shirt and ducks his head boyishly when he realizes he has talked for awhile on one subject.

One of the topics that he is was clearly quite passionate about was the Monday afternoon study group. He told me that an extremely diverse group of about 8 people gather every week to study primary source theology. You know, Augustan and the like. They meet at noon since a lot of folks work afternoon or night shifts so evenings are not available to them. His twitchiness got super-intense as he talked about his excitement that these folks - most of whom don't have formal educations - are doing graduate-level study about how people throughout history have thought about God. I knew that I could recommend this community when he said, "There is this elitism in seminary that I hate. It's like people believe that they have learned the right way to follow God and then they become pastors to teach others how to do it that way." This girl is a sucker for flat social networks.

The church is located in Bridgeport, which has a local history of being an Irish Catholic enclave and does, in fact, house the Daleys. However, Bridgeport is also in the top five neighborhoods in the city for diversity and so the rest of the population that isn't wealthy, white and Catholic end up needing churches like First Trinity. Tom ended up there as a supply preacher while he was studying for his MDiv and made a connection with the congregation which led him to stay on after graduation even though the congregation had been without a pastor for 12 years. He is currently bi-vocational and works a second job to afford to lead this community. I don't necessarily agree that all pastors should live in penury and we had a lively discussion about it but I have to say he was somewhat persuasive when he pointed out that if he made what others starting pastors make, he's earning three times what his parishioners earn and that's a major justice issue. I'm not in his camp on this one yet, but that particular bit of truth got me one step closer.

The church runs a clothing pantry and has an intentional community of about 15 people living in the building itself. The Sunday services are traditional liturgy with hymns and gospel music but the people Tom described were a variety of spiritual identities and cultural backgrounds. He pointed out that the mess of human need and diversity in this community is similar to the mess of the stable in Bethlehem and it is only in that mess that God can be born.

Powerful stuff.

You can get more information about First Trinity at their Facebook website here. If you have trouble accessing their site, email us and we'll get you connected. You can also take a look at Tom's blog here to get a sense for the types of sermons he preaches.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yes, but what do you teach?

Each fall a different set of students from Wheaton College (sometimes called the “Evangelical Harvard”) comes to study us at St. Paul Lutheran Church because of our “open and affirming” stance toward gays and lesbians. Needless to say, we offer the minority report on this matter in socially conservative Wheaton, so naturally we provide a valuable service for students needing to track down “the other side” for their research papers. (I do wish they would visit us more often for non-homework related reasons…)

This year, after I finished outlining about four different rationales folks in the congregation might be working with that have led them to a belief in unrestricted inclusion of gay Christians, as well as acknowledged continuing voices of dissent or discomfort in the congregation, one of the three inquiring students in my office, a young woman, asked, “Yes, but what do you teach?”

I admit I was a little stunned by her directness. She wasn’t asking what I believed personally; she was asking what I, as a pastor, teach to be true, and I had to stop and ask myself if I had somehow abdicated my duty by, in fact, not having really taught anything about “the church’s response to homosexuality” in the sort of top-down way she was suggesting. Mostly the other pastor and I both just give out tools for biblical interpretation and ethical reflection, and then facilitate conversation as the people have at it. So I said something to that effect, and then I think we were all a bit struck—or at least I was—with having unexpectedly hit on what is really a much more profound difference between us than our respective positions on homosexuality, namely, the question of how much authority a pastor is supposed to have and how he/she is expected to wield it.

Having spent a significant portion of my growing-up years in Evangelical Protestant environments and working in one now (contextually speaking), I believe this to be one of the most significant, if underappreciated, differences between how Evangelicals and mainliners operate. The popular understanding that Evangelical “Bible churches” are more committed to the truths of the Bible than their mainline counterparts is, if not a ruse entirely, highly exaggerated. What they are committed to most of all is entrusting their “teaching pastors” with the authority to determine and expound the Bible’s answers to whatever people want answered. Evidence abounds that this approach both attracts high numbers and exiles into the world an inordinate number of wounded sheep (not to mention a propensity for outright schism).

That said, we should be careful not to imagine this tendency only exists in one branch of the Christian family. In my own denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it isn’t difficult to find congregations that are still following an inherited “Herr Pastor” model (probably not accompanied by much success retaining younger generations…), and there are significant elements in the church, for example, among the evangelical catholic block, that are longing for a stronger “teaching” authority—from pastors, but just as importantly, from bishops—to resolve the confusion over human sexuality, a confusion they perceive as being brought on by laity gone wild. Again, the deeper confusion here when Lutherans are found demanding more clarity on what “the Church teaches” is where this mysterious capital “C” Church is (Chicago? St. Louis? Wittenberg? The pastor’s office?).

Truly, one can justifiably lose patience on the other end, with a church full of moderators who don’t seem to be making much use of their seminary training. But I would rather err on that side any day. There is, of course, a better way of teaching that equips the baptized to humbly discover the answers, or something approximating answers, themselves. If the result looks like chaos rather than consensus, well, then let’s let God handle that—I hear God is pretty good at bringing order out of chaos.

Rev. Mark Williamson
Associate Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Wheaton, IL

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Update and a question

Good afternoon, good people. We had a great meeting on Monday night with some neat conversations between a couple who are starting a new spiritual community in the south Loop by (gasp) listening and being non-threatening without an agenda, an atheist who finds community that he needs at an emergent church, a Christian with a new take on Predestination, a pastor who started a new spiritual community by (gasp) listening and being non-threatening without an agenda and me. It was a delight to eat homemade Chinese five-spice WHO bread (wheat, honey, oat) with blueberry jam and peanut butter together with warm tea on a cool fall evening. Please join us for our next discussion night on December 7 at 7:00.

Also, I'm beginning to think that, as the facilitator of this local cohort, I might be able to offer you folks more than just discussion nights. If you would take a minute and respond to this post by telling me what you'd like to see more of, I'll do my best to accommodate the spiritual needs of the community. Would you like more author's events? More theology pubs? Volunteers opportunities? Stuff I haven't thought of? Do you like having something to read before you come? Do you like a more open format? This is your chance to help me be a resource to you. I have been so welcomed and supported by the Emergent community and I really want to provide that for others through these events. Please let me know what you're thinking. You can leave a comment on this post or send me an email at rebica at aol dot com.

Thanks. I hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

More It's Really All About God.

Hi, folks. One of our cohort members has written a review of Samir Salmonovic's book, It's Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian. Although she wasn't able to make the discussion we publicized earlier, she has some good things to say. Find the review here.

I will try to post some thoughts from his talk a little later.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Navigate - November 10-12

Hi, folks. This time, a leader of another cohort has just alerted me to a conference that might appeal to you. In her words, she describes it as:
a conference targeted on helping hyphenateds (emergent minded folks who are apart of mainline denominations) find their way in the emerging, post-modern context. The conference is called Navigate and will be Nov. 10-12 in Florence, KY. The cost of the conference is $200 and includes leaders such as Dan Kimball, David Kinnaman , Lilly Lewin, Troy Bronsink and many others.

There are scholarships available and you can download their flyer here and visit the website here.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Playing for Change - November 3

Hi, folks. A member of our cohort just alerted me to a project called Playing for Change.Their website describes them:
Musicians from different cultures uniting together for the common purpose of peace through music is a powerful statement. For the past four years Playing For Change has traveled the world with a mobile recording studio and cameras in search of such inspiration. Throughout the journey we created a family of over 100 musicians from all walks of life. We connect these musicians together with "Songs Around The World." The Playing For Change Band is the next chapter in our story. Now people everywhere can witness first hand the transformational power of music and love that comes from the Playing For Change Band.

This looks really interesting and sounds even better. They will be playing on Tuesday, November 3 at the Park West and you can look at their website to get more information about tickets here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian

Come hear a great author, Samir Salmanovic, speak about his new book. It's Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian

Sunday, Oct 25, 5:00-6:00 pm
Wicker Park Grace
1741 N. Western
Chicago, IL

Samir Selmanovic will talk about his new book, It's Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian

Watch a short video here: Samir on YouTube

Best selling author Karen Armstrong wrote about his book, "Samir Selmanovic is asking the right questions at the right time, and refusing the consolations of certainty at a time when strident orthodoxies--atheist as well as religious--are perilously dividing us."

I look forward to seeing you there. Also, I'm currently at the CCDA conference and blogging about the experience and how it relates to Emergent Christianity. Check it our here if you're interested.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Overflow Coffee Bar

Hi folks.

I recently had lunch with Amanda Neely, who is looking to start up a Christian community around an art-centered non-profit coffee bar. She seems pretty neat and is definitely committed to this calling. Although she's not ready to label the project "emergent," I assured her that it was still something we were willing to let people know about because emergent is more about how we interact with people who see the world differently than we do than about closing up into a small band of rebel fighters who have to defend ourselves from anyone who isn't us. In our conversation, it was clear that Amanda believed in building community through relationships and letting God take it from there. I'm a big fan of that.

This is the information that she sent me to share with you all.
Attention: South Loop Residents, Students and Workers

Looking for people in the South Loop who are seeking to be part of a community that's changing the world? A new non-profit coffee shop is starting in the South Loop with a mission to change the world. We're looking for like-minded people who would love to be part of this from the beginning (small commitment, big commitment, and inbetween). Want more information? Visit or send us an email at info(at)overflowcoffeebar(dot)org.

Let me know if you have any questions that I can answer by leaving a comment.


Monday, October 12, 2009

nuChristian by Russell Rathbun

For the first time ever, a publisher read something I wrote and asked if I would be willing to read an advanced copy of a book and make a review on my blog. Pretty cool, huh?

So, the author is a guy named Russell Rathbun and I have met him before. I wrote about it on this blog. Then, he had come to Chicago with his co-pastor Debbie Blue and one of their congregants, Linda Buturian. I bought and read both of the women's books but, for some reason, was not drawn to Russell's book, even though my pastor and several other folks that I know liked it quite a bit.

The publisher tells me this about Russell:
Russell Rathbun, MDiv, is a founding minister with Debbie Blue of House of Mercy, a pioneering emergent church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Rathbun is also the author of Mid rash on the Juanitos (Cathedral Hill Press, 2009) and the critically-acclaimed Post-Rapture Radio (Jossey-Bass, 2008). He lives with his wife, two kids, and dog KoKo in St. Paul.
At the time I met them all, I wrote this about him:
Russell started out the conversation by describing their church, which they formed when they got out of seminary because they wanted a church where they would actually want to attend and that their friends, who were artists and stuff, would also want to attend. Russell, who looked like he would fit in quite well in Wicker Park with his black cowboy shirt with embroidered banjos and funky glasses, pointed out that their church had been around for 12 years, which is ancient for an emergent church.

I liked watching the energy of the two pastors: Russell and Debbie. Both were a little twitchy and awkward. Obviously, they wanted to be there and had such beautiful, honest and vulnerable things to say. But, part of that honesty and vulnerability involved allowing themselves to be the self-proclaimed introverts that they are, even in front of a group of strangers. As someone who has been trained to pull out my most charismatic identity when addressing groups of people, I admire their courage to simply be themselves.
Now, Russel has written a book as a response to David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons' book, unChristian. I haven't read the first book, but Russell has written this small chapbook to be part of the conversation that unChristian has started.

The basic premise of unChristian is to look at detailed survey data and determine how non-Christians in their late teens to early 30s perceive Christianity. Although I have my reservations about Barna statistics, the method is one with which this little University of Chicago graduate is very comfortable: ask a bunch of multiple-choice questions to a huge bunch of people. Then, figure out trends in the data.

What Kinnaman and Lyons figure out is that Christianity has a huge image problem amongst young adults. This is not a surprise to many of us. As a Christian from this demographic, I constantly encounter people who are clearly surprised and intrigued by the inclusive religion I practice that fully acknowledges that human beings are imperfect and that God doesn't really seem inclined to change that, even after someone has made a profession of faith. Christians who practice in a religion that preaches rules and that conversion will fix everything that is wrong in your life tend to be pretty loud, dominating mass media with TV shows, guest appearances on conservative talk shows, books and advertisements for megachurches. Folks like the people at my church are quieter and have smaller in population size. Kinnaman and Lyons document this imbalance of awareness by documented public opinion. They find that non-Christians in their late teens to early 30s think that "Christians are only interested in 'saving souls;' they are hypocritical, anti-homosexual, sheltered, too political and judgmental." Russell seeks to explain these complaints to more traditional Christians and suggest some ways to counter them. The book is entitled nuChristian and is available here.

What is most valuable about this book is the perspective that Russell is taking (I suppose using correct journalism means that I should use his last name. But I've met the guy! It feels weird. I'm going to go ahead and keep breaking the rules.) Russell is not writing this book for people who do not like the church. He is not trying to convince anyone they are wrong for thinking such things. He is also not writing for an audience full of emergent Christians: preaching to the choir, as it were. Russell seems to be trying to explain to folks like his own father what is going on with this new generation of young people and to insert his own experiences as a pastor to these folks as illustration for how these young people can best be assisted in living lives that are more spiritually fulfilled. Personally, this book is most useful to me as a resource to hand to someone I love who is a Christian but who just doesn't understand why I am so excited about emergence.

I think it is most useful as that kind of resource because Russell speaks the language of more traditional Christians. I think he must be in his 40s (about a decade older than the folks he is writing about) and he traveled the traditional path to pastorhood, even though he started a ground-breaking church once he graduated from seminary. I don't know how to say this but the rationale behind a lot of the things he says is very Jesus-y. Also, his vocabulary sets up a dichotomy of spiritual identity. He talks about Christians and non-Christians. I am much more comfortable with talking about spiritual identity as a continuum since I believe that we're all moving forward and backward on our paths in relationship to God. To create an arbitrary milestone that everyone has to have crossed and can never go back to in the form of saying the words, "Now I follow Christ" seems unnecessarily exclusionist to me. But I am not the target audience of this book. Folks who have never tried to wrap their heads around that idea (and many other emergent ideas like how culture affects church life or Christianity as something other than a rules-based religion) are the audience of this book. And I think Russell reaches out to those folks well because I can't connect with some of mechanics he uses to get his message across. I am too deeply entrenched in the post-Modern mindset that he is describing to be an effective translator. It's like listening to your own voice mail. The things Russell says are accurate just like it is actually my voice talking but because it coming from a different context, I get agitated at its unfamiliarity. However, my agitation is the price I pay for recommending this book as a resource to Modern-thinking folks about why emergents are the way they are.

My father read "Chapter 6: Sheltered from God's Children" and brought up what I think is the only weakness in the book's focus. He said, "I can't tell if Russell wants me to be more like a nuChristian or not." nuChristian is Russell's word for folks who identify as Christian but who are part of the post-modern generation and, therefore, different than Christians that have come before. My dad's confusion is totally understandable. To Russell's credit, he publishes a conversation he had with his father and it turns out the generational misunderstanding is common.
DAD: It seems that there are a lot of differences. In some ways you are saying to be able to reach out and minister to these new generations, I have to change my theology.
ME: I don't think I'm saying that.
DAD: It sounds like it. I have to change what I think about homosexuality , abortion, politics, the Bible, salvation . . . [laughs]. . . about the belief in absolute truth.
ME: That does seem like a lot of things. But I am not saying that you have to change what you think about these things. I am just suggesting what I think most postmoderns think about these subjects. And I am not trying to suggest that they all think the same way on any particular subject, I am trying to talk more about how they approach things.
I'm looking for a final quote where Russell clears this all up and there isn't one since the way we approach things is often entangled in what we believe. So, folks with Modern perspectives like our dads are always going to feel that if their approach has to change, so will their beliefs and it is always scary to consider one's beliefs changing since then we will probably have to change the way we live our lives, which is always uncomfortable. And isn't changing the way we live our lives equivalent to changing our approach to things?

It's a difficult task to resolve that circularity of intent and I do not blame Russell for being unable to do so. There were several brilliant moments in the book where he put concepts into words with a clarity I envied. Because of that, I do recommend the book as a great resource for folks outside of the movement or the generation or for folks inside the movement or from the post-Modern generation who need some help in translating their experiences.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Charter for Compassion.

One of our group members pointed out the Charter for Compassion, that has a live event full of Nobel Laureates on November 12. I know I'M a sucker for interfaith, but this seems very consistent with much of the emergent movement's ideals. I particularly liked that it affirmed that all religions are NOT alike. Check it out and then stop back here and write a comment with what you thought.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Upcoming up/rooted events

There are three points on our agenda today, good people.

1. Tomorrow night (Tuesday), the fabulous Nadia Bolz-Weber will be in town and hosting a theology pub. I'm not sure what the agenda is for the evening but it's part of a conference with the excellent Phyllis Tickle. The event is free but they'll pass a hat to cover costs at some point. Theology pubs are a great way to meet other folks who are searching to follow Jesus in new ways or folks who are just curious about the emergent movement. I'd love to see you there. It will be held at Tommy Nevins Pub (1450 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL) from 6:00 to 8:30.

2. up/ will be meeting again on October 6 at 7:00 at Wicker Park Grace (1741 N. Western, Chicago, IL). This is another opportunity to meet other folks who are exploring this new spiritual opportunity. As a basic agenda for the evening, let's read the introduction to Julie Clawson's new book, Everyday Justice. I've attached the document but it's also available at the website for the book. With that as a starting point, we'll share our own stories, ask our own questions and try to find the beginnings of the answers. Everyone is welcome: both the familiar folks and those whose curiosity has been newly sparked. I look forward to seeing folks again after a summer apart. (OK, maybe a little more than a summer.)

3. Well, I kind of stole my own thunder. I wanted to let you know that our very own Julie Clawson has written her first book and it has just been released. Julie and her husband Mike were crucial to organizing the Chicagoland emergent cohorts (see #2) and Julie is a sought-after speaker for communities that are furthering emerging thoughts and practice. The book is available on Amazon and mine is already on its way. Buying the book not only edifies you and supports the Clawson family, it also communicates to publishing houses that authors like Julie can make money for them and might result in more books like this. Economics is fun!

As always, please forward this information along to anyone who might be interested in these topics. We haven't gotten many fresh email addresses for the list lately (my bad) so I want to make sure that folks who are new to the movement know that we're here to support them and learn from them.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

up/ to reunite as well!

When will meet again to share their stories, you ask? At first I wasn't sure. I'm getting married during Labor Day weekend and so I'm loathe to plan something before then since I have no idea if a shinysatin bow explosion might need my immediate attention. But you all are irresistible!

So, let's gather on Tuesday, August 18 at 7:00 at Wicker Park Grace (1741 N. Western, Chicago IL). We won't have a topic for the evening; we'll simply get to know each other again and to welcome and be welcomed by anyone who is new to the group. If you have questions about emergent Christianity, bring them. We'll practice a little group think to get them answered or, at least, explored.

If anyone wants to volunteer to be my second and run the meeting in case I have a bridal meltdown, I would really appreciate it. Let me know if you're willing.

Finally, we'd like to update our mailing list so if you are not on it, please use the link in the sidebar to email us and tell us about your interest to be included.

Friday, July 17, 2009

up/rooted.west to reunite with the Clawsons

On Wednesday, August 12 at 6:30, we will be gathering at the Village Tavern in Carol Stream (291 S. Schmale). Mike and Julie Clawson are in town and we'd love to gather around them and hear about their adventures in Austin, as well as to share our stories with each other to build community and explore our experiences with emergent Christianity.

Newcomers are definitely welcome and you do not need to live in the western suburbs in order to attend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Christianity Worth Believing

This upcoming Tuesday, July 21 at 7:00, Wicker Park Grace (1741 N. Western, Chicago IL) will be hosting Doug Pagitt for his "A Christianity Worth Believing" Live event. This is a totally free event although books will be available for purchase. More info can be found here.

"Doug Pagitt and Erik Johnson are spreading the Hope-filled, Open-armed, Alive and Well faith in homes, churches, bars, coffee shops and public meeting spaces around the country.

Live Occurrences are part one-man show (but there are two of us), part revival, part book reading, part hootenanny, and part communal gathering.

The 2-hour Live Occurrences include readings from the book, music - original and covers, video, spoken-word poetry, impassioned invitations to be part of the common good.

Live Occurrences are specially formulated for the Left-out, Left-behind and Let-down, and will be suitable for one and all regardless of background."

Please feel free to forward this info to anyone who might be interested. (As an aside, please feel free to tell people to send us an email to be added to our mailing list to hear about other events like this.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 27th Meeting in Wheaton

Just a reminder that up/rooted.west will be meeting at Muldoons Pub in Wheaton, IL on Monday, April 27th at 7pm. Please do RSVP so we can save you a seat!! There is no set discussion topic - we will just be having some community time! Thank you Randy for hosting last month's group as I was buried with grad school homework assignments.

Be prepared for some upcoming changes for up/rooted.west. We're sensing a need for a change in what we're doing. The time for discussion seems to be fading and we're gearing up for some action. If you are jazzed about the idea of an interfaith/nonfaith group of people coordinating their efforts towards building community and meeting local needs, let me know! We'd love to invite you into the planning discussions!

Also, if you haven't yet heard about what Andrew Marin is doing in Chicago, I highly recommend checking out his foundation and newly released book by IVP, called Love is an Orientation. If you're in the burbs, he'll be speaking at Wheaton Academy the next two Thursday nights at 7pm. Registration is requested (it's free to attend). Hope to see you there!!

Many blessings on your journey!
Kris Socall
up/rooted.west co-coordinator
navigating the complexity of simplicy

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Worth a read

I want to draw your attention to a discussion going on over at Erika Haub's blog (a daily read of mine). Until very recently, when she and her family made the very difficult choice to move, Erika has been living in South Central LA, trying to obey God by giving up her wealth and follow Jesus into the midst of the poor. Her gifted insight communicated with the immediacy of the blog makes the intense joys and struggles of that kind of commitment more real than any retrospective memoir could ever be.

Recently, she wrote about folks she knows who do not feel at home in traditional churches. The comments this has elicited are worth every minute you spend with them.

The community that has formed around Erika is like the best of what I envision up/rooted meetings to be. Familiar folks and strangers feel safe enough to tell their stories, support one another and ask questions that propel all of us further along whatever we're on.

I'll be back soon with a date for the next up/ meeting. I miss you guys!