Sunday, December 28, 2008

On the Horizon for Emerging Desert

Speaking for Tara and myself, 2008 has brought an absolutely wonderful experience and community in all of you that make up Emerging Desert. What started out as a very plain & simple gathering of friends has truly blossomed into a diverse, active community that has also maintained the original focus and simplicity. We feel incredibly blessed to be a part of it, and we look forward to our coming times together.

Along those lines, I wanted to get a post up regarding our group's near-future plans for those that may not be aware...

As we are now on the other side of Advent, we have collectively decided to continue gathering every Sunday afternoon. We finished Michael Frost's provocative book, Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture last week, and our new discussion book has been selected:

by Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw

We have agreed to begin discussing this book on February 1st. In the meantime, throughout the month of January, we will be getting together for unplanned, free-flow conversations about any spiritual, cultural, missional, lifestyle, etc. questions/topics that anybody feels like offering. Today our conversation centered largely on the question of "Why are we here... created... living on earth?" Of course, the conversation went all over the place, but I truly enjoyed being in a room where these massive questions are being wrestled with in community and every single voice present is heard. Thanks for everybody's thoughts that were contributed... I, personally, got a lot out of it.

So, in the coming weeks, if you have a topic and/or question that you'd like to open up to the cohort for discussion, don't be shy: tithing, prayer, worship, death, mission, etc.... it's all fair-game.


maventheavenger aka jamie said...

Weren't we going to talk about prayer next week while you are gone, Adam?

Matt said...

Take charge Jamie

D L said...

The subject of hell could be a good discussion. Joy referred to some of this yesterday. As it happens, Jim and I are both reading McClaren's book "The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity." I think several other ED folks have already read this book.

While I am only a third of the way through, I am finding the subject of hell... along with the book's theological dialogue regarding salvation, inclusiveness, exclusiveness & universalism pretty mind blowing! Mind blowing to me anyway! This certainly is not the "in the box" theological approach I've been taught, practised and even taught to others.

As I type this I am growing hesitant at the thought of clicking the "publish" button. Perhaps thre are more relivant topics for us to discuss. Our discussion yesterday swung wide & have great variety. Dave did put out a great topic for discussion.

The subject of hell isn't as relivant as, say, how does worship look & feel. Or the continuing conversation about what is best for the kids.

Ahhh well, I'll click the button anyway!

Thanks everyone for a wonderfully engaging discussion yesterday.

D L said...

Relevant... it is spelled R E L E V A N T!!!!

Why don't blogs have spell check I ask you all?????

Jimbo said...

I thought what Adam said was "don't talk about prayer next week" cuz he wants to be part of that discussion.
I know Jamie said she was in charge cuz she was next in line. Which sounds totally great to me. So, I think she should pick the topic.
The book "Last Word and Word After That" has been pretty mind blowing, and the topic of hell does sound interesting. Personally, I'd feel more comfortable wrestling with it with a heavy weight theological studied person like Scott in the room. Or, perhaps persons with other perspectives on it. Right now, I'm just afraid of latching onto one view point and saying "this is the answer". Feels like I've been doing that so much before. Like the person that Sarah and Ron met in Africa, sometimes I'd just like to know what is right and I'll believe that. And I always wonder if I am easily swayed by new ideas and that kind of scares me too.
I guess, I'm looking for the easy way out...someone who has more intelligence and is more studied to give all the answers rather than trying to find them myself.

Matt said...

Interestingly enough there is the beginning of a series on beliefnet about hell. It's on Tony Jones blog The New Christians.
I don't care what we talk about, I just love being part of the conversation

Yard said...

Wow - for about 2 weeks now I've been thinking a lot about what I believe about hell and the naturally related subjects such as atonement, Christology, eschatology. I've been really trying to grasp why I believe what I do, and what part scripture plays (and does not play) in those beliefs.

So I've been trying to find a way to broach the subject in our group. Well that was easy! It would be wonderful to work through these together. In all my ministry and church experiences I've never had an opportunity to really discuss these hard topics. And what better place (read: better people) to have these conversations?

Isn't it odd that these subjects are typically not to be discussed or addressed by the laity? What a spot we're in, since we do not have a hierarchy of leadership, especially on theological matters (and I don't know that Scott would want that role even if we offered it).

So what do we do? I think the absence of a defined structural leadership is one of our hallmarks, and could even be given credit for what I consider great success towards being the church.

Even on subjects as touchy as these, our conversations, in my opinion, have never been hurtful.

I guess what I'm saying is, God opened up the door by making these things gray. Maybe He very much intended us to continually churn these things together.

averyrayne said...

I'd also love to explore the idea of hell-- though I agree that it's less important/applicable to our lives than several other subjects. Still though-- I find it fascinating, and having grown up in a "spirit-filled" church that talked of little else, I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on the subject. Just today I shocked my mom and slightly amused myself by telling her I thought there might not be a hell. My amusement came from her response-- which was a carefully thoughtful, non-judgmental "Oh.... really?" even though her face went white and I saw her mentally searching for bible verses as soon as I said it. Hehe. I love my mom.