Monday, September 15, 2008

Last Gathering



Hey friends,
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the Schroeders this week. (Jim, that Scottish Red was killer!)
For those that missed our discussion, we skipped the discussion about Exiles chapter seven, and we instead focused on crisis of faith. In our group, if you haven't had an experience of severe doubt, then you are either in one, or you'll probably have one. Scott gave some excellent perspective, and he pointed out that our relationships have good times and bad--so why should our relationship with G-d be any different? Why isn't it "normal" to go through the desert when so many "faithful" heroes in the bible had less than perfect records?
I just want to thank everyone for being willing to share their experiences, ask the hard questions, and be honest. I hope that our gatherings are always filled with open people reaching out to each other.
Please share your thoughts here on this post in the comments, and also with each other this week. I really liked what chapter six had to say about connecting through out the week--that's really important.
Peace, Jamie

17 comments:

Jimbo said...

Jamie, thanks for the compliment on the beer. Wine/beer and discussions of faith sure seem to fit together well (sounds like chapter 7). During one of our off weeks I'm thinking of having a brewing party. Any suggestions on what to make next?
In the last few years, both Joy and I have moved from being certain about things, to finding that things aren't so black and white. Sometimes in that there is comfort, because it lets me be me and try to find God where ever, but in many ways it is also very uncertain. My good friend Randy always talks about moving on to a place where there aren't any railings, and how we are always trying to find the railings. And, there is always that sense that we have to somehow believe the right things (thanks Scott for talking us thru that).
I really appreciate being able to express doubt and not only do people not jump all over you, but are willing to share their own feelings of doubt.

maventheavenger aka jamie said...

I'm a fan of ciders and darks too. Meh, I like everything I think.

I also really like guidance. I want to have all the information in front of me, so I can make "my decisions". I wonder what Abraham felt like or even the first disciples. Or Martin Luther...There are a lot of really admirable people who have gone before us with their doubts.

Magoo said...

Jim, A brewing party would be great, can we make it a Toga party too?
As far as the discussion... loved the raw emotions and honesty. I don't have the time or energy to be with "posers". Been there, done that! This group is showing me that there are others walking this same road,... we have left behind our religious check list, abusive authority, unrealistic expectations by others and are embracing a mystery. Is it scary? hell yeah! Wouldn't want to be doing it any other way or with any other freaks than you all.
Be Real, Randy

maventheavenger aka jamie said...

TO-GA! TO-GA! TO-GA!

Yard said...

Really bummed we missed the discussion. Sounds like it was heart-felt and communal. Thanks Jamie for the recap and prettyfication with your art. Jim and Joy, as always, where would we be without you? Beerless and homeless. And Randy, it hurts to be called names. Who raised you anyway? ;>

maventheavenger aka jamie said...

We missed you guys too, but it's hard to feel sorry for you when you had a good time down in Mexico!

Arizona Bam said...

I'll echo Jake in saying that I'm encouraged to hear that the conversation was heartfelt and raw, and I wish I could have been there as well. I think there are great things happening individually and collectively within our cohort, and I look forward to seeing how we all move forward.

Tom F said...

I thought I'd share this with you because I just read this a few days ago, its kinda long, Brian McLaren speaking about doubt:" (it) can be a doorway to spiritual growth. Unfortunately, like most avenues of growth, it is often painful. Intellectual pain is an underrated cost of following Christ. If I didn't care about following Christ, I wouldn't care so much about being honest, seeking truth, or facing reality. I would be more tempted to simply go with the flow, take the easy way, maybe anesthetize my intellectual pain instead of persevering through it toward the truth. If you are going through that kind of intellectual pain right now, lay it down before God. The kind of dependence on God that you are exercising now in the midst of intellectual uncertainty and confusion, may be the purest kind of faith found on planet earth. It involves an act of will and courage that I think must be far more valuable than we normally realize."

What value is our faith if it is never tested or our beliefs if they aren't examined and questioned? It reminds me of a Simpsons episode where Homer believes if he closes his eyes while running a red light he isn't breaking the law.


Well back to relative anonymity of cyberspace.
I think Jim should brew a beer that tastes like Nacho Cheese Doritos or not that then a dark nutty beer.

Jimbo said...

Tom, thanks for the good words from Brian McLaren. They are encouraging. In them, I find one question.
"If you are going through that kind of intellectual pain right now, lay it down before God."
What does that mean? I'm sorry, but too often I've gotten that "Give it to God" response to concerns and issues. What does that mean? Does it mean, don't worry about it cuz somehow, I'm not in control and believe that God has control over everything?
Problem is, when you are having doubts, that's hard to do or imagine doing.
I do appreciate what Brian said tho.
Never seen a Nacho Cheese beer receipe. Nutty brown is a possibility.

Tom F said...

I questioned if I should have left that in, but its what he wrote, but he also wrote to seek out people who won't try to solve your doubt with simple answers but share and listen, kind of like your group. I think that is giving it to God, I don't think a burning bush is going to talk to you, but your doubt will be worked out or it may never go away. I don't think he means you will find a direct answer by giving it to God. Like your friend Randy said about railings,when you take them away there are no easy answers there is doubt, but that is were things happen. (Unless its soul crushing). You can read the whole section to get a better perspective if you like its only about 10pgs.

Jimbo said...

Thanks, I like that.
A burning bush would be nice too though ... or a 90 foot lizard (inside joke, you had to be there).

Yard said...

I've often told God that I was getting frustrated with the way our relationship felt one way.

And yes, the Christianese answers abound: you're not listening, you're not doing this/that, you've got it all wrong, God is in the quiet. And while those things have some truth, I feel the same as Jim. If I'm struggling in my faith it may not help to be told "have more faith". I especially like when people quote scripture at me, like specific verses (plucked from their context) are going to magically unlock some spirit-door that I had overlooked.

However, hope also abounds: there is beauty in this world that I cannot comprehend without God as the source. And a lot of that beauty, lately, has been all of you. There is something saturating about the pure honesty I find in this group, in McLaren's quote, and in the overall emerging movement.

Matthew said...

I feel like I'm intruding a bit so let me introduce myself. My name is Matt Essary and I have been following your blogs for sometime. I was very excited to find a local cohort and would love to come to one of your gatherings but unfortunatley I work on Sundays (but this may change soon).
One thing I love about the emerging movement is that we don't have to have all the answers. Evangelical and Mainstream Christianity claim they have the answers but I have sometimes found the answers inadequate or contradictory. For me "laying it before God" means that I will have doubts and fears but they pale in comparison to the larger narrative. In the emerging movement there is room for doubt and questions without giving up faith. I often think of myself as a small child compared to God (and I admit this is a poor metaphor)and as such all I can do is trust in my Father to know best and follow him. I can ask my questions and I may not get a satisfactory answer but some day I will understand (either here or wherever it is we end up).

Arizona Bam said...

Hey Matthew (and Tom F.)! Welcome! Please don't feel like you're intruding at all. We all share equally in this cohort whether we're hearing your voice for the first time or you've been involved for months. I know we all look forward to meeting you whenever your schedule allows you to join us. And please feel encouraged to participate on this blog as often as you're able... this medium of communication enables us to continue to meaningfully connect with each other outside of our "official" cohort meetings.

Matt said...

Sorry for posting on an older comment but I can't create a new blog or I am not allowed. Thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome Sunday. I wish we could do that more often (because I have so much free time). Thank you to Jim and Joy for hosting! I can't wait till next time.

Yard said...

It was great to meet you Matt; glad you could finally come!

Matt said...

Hey all! Are we going over a certain chapter on Sunday (Oct 12th)? Can't wait to see everyone.