Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 08 Meeting

Eleven of us met last night at Cancun Mexican Grill. The food was spicy, and the room was a little hot, but the conversation was warm and friendly. There were several “first-timers” including Jennifer and Steve F.’s daughter Lauren. Beth, her husband Flavio and their friend Matt also joined us from “Love Bags” (see 8/13 post) and Epic Re-mix Emergent Community (see "resources"). “Regulars” included Kathy, Robin L, Steve F. and I. And Robin M. was a great co-facilitator. Interestingly, there was a disproportionate number of psychology and social work majors among us. We talked more about “how we do church,” from "Five Streams of the Emerging Church." Why are some worship services boring? Why do we need “worship services?” (I have to confess that a disproportionate number of U2 fans found each other when we got onto this topic :^) Why are sermons the center-piece of Sunday mornings? When can we ask questions? And where do we get our answers? Do churhces teach in the ways that people learn? Check out:

Can “church” happen outside of the church building on Sunday mornings? Several said it does. Relationship is key. Small gatherings are key. Anthony lamented that “breaking bread” together (like we were doing last night) has too often been reduced to anemic, sanitized wafer and grape juice rituals rather than celebrations of Jesus among us.

Some expressed frustration with the modern era church “machine” (impersonal church/growth/building campaigns) that sucks up time, money and energy, and they are looking for alternatives. Check out for some amazing stats. Jennifer, a Christian who organizes a yoga Meetup, shared about Quaker tradition, which was cutting edge in its day but became watered down and codified. The Salvation Army started as an out-of-the-box “missional” church in the 1860s and is struggling to re-claim its missional roots after 130 years of industrial era mass production and hyper-structuring. So, even the emerging church movement could one day succumb to the “calcification of charisma.”

Even in discussing the negative impacts of professionalizing of the pastoral ministry (see 8/2 post) we shared an appreciation for big gatherings of believers and the historic Body of Christ which, starting with Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, has carried the Gospel message forward to us today. So, is emerging Christianity in the post-modern era an either/or proposition compared to modern church convention? Or is it an “and,” added to the modern church where we are “always reforming?”

We also touched on the topic of what’s un-attracting some people to Christianity and how we can plant seeds with those not in the church, rather than constantly pulling at the weeds that divide us (see “unChristian” and “Finding Common Ground” under “recently read”). Robin L. shared about Rick Warren’s PEACE Plan (link under “resources”) and about the concentration of poverty in the neighborhood near his office. Matt gave an update on Love Bags’ Monday night homeless outreach in Pompano Beach.

We officially ended around 9 but a few of us hung out for some fun “after-conversations.” I’m beginning to think that our journey is one of long “after-conversations,” and loving it :^) We plan to meet again Tuesday night, September 30 at a place TBD (check soon for details), and keep the conversation going until then.

Peace & blessings,


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