Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reimagine Worship at Redeemer: Alt Worship UK

An invitation from Fred Nelson at Redeemer Church, Park Ridge:

We're excited to announce that our next Reimagine Worship gathering will be Friday, February 26 @7pm. This month we'll be experiencing some of the sights and sounds of the Alt Worship scene in the UK.

Following the Alt Worship ethos, there will be plenty of time for relaxing to music, meditation, prayer, communion, conversation, and interesting visuals.

Since this will a new approach for us, we're thinking that the evening will be a bit more loosely structured than usual. We're still working on themes and narrowing down the bewildering number of options available to us. At present, we're not planning on having a guest worship band for the evening: there should be plenty of other things to occupy us!

What is alt worship? One website puts it this way: Alternative worship tries to give people "tools" for honest encounters with God. "Tools" might mean prayer, pens and paper, a video loop, something to eat, someone to talk to, Holy Communion, or anything else that can help us to meet God in some way. But the tools used in alternative worship have one important characteristic - they don't lead to predetermined outcomes. That is to say, alternative worship seeks to bring God and the participant together - but not to predetermine what the outcome of the meeting might be. This is essential to protect the genuineness of the encounter. The absence of pressure, or concern for specific "results," encourages openness to God. Amazing encounters may follow.

This promises to be another memorable and meaningful evening. As usual, we'll have plenty of time for some conversation and great coffee and snacks.

Belong. Believe. Be Yourself. Be There!

Redeemer Church
1006 Gillick Street
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Are Emergents Creedal? West Cohort Feb. Wrap-Up

Last week Thursday, the uprooted.west cohort gathered at Gino's East back in its familiar "garage" space where, happily, there was no trouble at all hearing each other. Great to have some new folks again to join us in exploring the "frontier" of the emerging church with the help of Tony Jones's book.

I think I said at the end that we'd be discussing Chapter 3 at our March gathering, but now that I see it's on the shorter side, let's make that Chapters 3-4.

Much of our conversation last week revolved around what Jones calls at different points the "squishiness" or "slipperiness" of the emergent movement. If what emergent Christians share is indeed an "ethos, a vibe, a sensibility" (p.39), and--in lieu of membership of doctrine--the binding force of friendship (p.56), well, the question that keeps arising is: "Is that enough?"

We spent some time identifying some of the recurring emergent characteristics that connected with our own experience. Especially prominent was a penchant for eclecticism, possibly stemming from the diversity of church forms present in our own backgrounds. There is a real hunger to experience the wideness of the Church by being in touch with various expressions of it at the same time and having relationships spread across denominational/confessional lines. The lingering issue I'd love to continue to explore here is: How do we belong somewhere and to a particular community while retaining a healthy sense of this larger belonging? How do we preserve a healthy sense of restlessness, and perhaps of being misfits, without diminishing commitment to a particular people, place, and mission?

We spent a little time on the brief history of Emergent Village as recounted from Tony Jones's (by no means exclusive) perspective. Another trait of emergents that stood out here is an inability to limit a conversation about the future and mission of the church to matters of techniques, trends, generational hooks, "being relevant," etc. Sooner or later, Christians are going to talk theology and when they recognize their own biases--and the Bible's biases--in the process, things get very interesting and the commitment to friendship becomes that much more important.

Finally, I raised the question of whether, or to what extent, emergents are creedal Christians since this is something of a hot topic right now. My own take on this is simply to say that I am, and since I am not immune to doubt, I value being part of a faith community that can also be found confessing the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, among other things, to pick up the slack in my own faith. However, I am completely at ease with others in my cohort answering this question differently, or coming from communities that answer this question differently, and see no reason why an open network like Emergent Village should feel compelled to formally state its orthodoxy or lack thereof.

One parallel I am seeing just now--and this may have something to do with how hospitable the emergent movement has felt for artists and the creatively gifted--is with the longstanding tradition of discomfort among evangelicals with art, which always has trouble--you might say downright resists--proving either its orthodoxy or its efficacy as a tool for evangelism. Is the emergent church creedal? Is a painting creedal? Is the emergent church missional? Must a good novel contain an altar call?

Well, love to hear your thoughts on this here or at a cohort near you. Peace,

uprooted.west co-leader

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Ordinary Radicals

I recently got an invitation to this event. It looks really interesting.
So, yesterday, I got a facebook note from "The Ordinary Radicals" saying, in essence, "Is there anyone in Chicago who's willing to host Jamie Moffett so he can show his documentary in your church at a discounted rate?" Rather impetuously, I accepted the offer, and so we are showing this documentary at United Church.

If you're wondering "What is The Ordinary Radicals?" I've got a link for ya here. It's a documentary about various Christian communities around the country and what they are doing. It's about breaking stereotypes, seeking new ways of living, music, politics, spirituality, and other good stuff. If you're marginally interested in any of the above, even if you're not Christian, I think you'll find it interesting at the very least. The music is good too.

Jamie Moffett (the director) will lead a Q&A/Discussion period after the show. Please feel free to join in. The more perspectives, the better.

On another note, as I have promised to help pay part of Jamie's travel costs, and as the church can't afford to pay him, we're going to be taking up a collection. I'd suggest a $5-$10 donation. If you can't scrape that together, don't let it stop you. If you're feeling generous, the church and I would be deeply grateful.

So, if can come, please come. If you can bring friends, colleagues, or others along, all the better. I'm really hoping for a nice big diverse crowd.
If you're interested, here's the logistics:
Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: United Church of Rogers Park
Street: 1545 Morse Ave
City/Town: Chicago, IL

Monday, February 01, 2010

Suggested emergent books

The moderator of the Pc(USA) church - who just happens to self-identify as emergent - just posted his list of suggested emergent reading. Find it here. Come on back after you've lokoed at it and tell us what you think? Are there any must-reads that he is missing?