Monday, November 30, 2009


I’ve been thinking about hope since yesterday. I’m a very positive person, or at least I think I am, and sure I have hope for those around me, but hope for the world is lacking. Last week I was reading about human trafficking and child pornography and it has haunted me since. Last night I didn’t even want to take communion. How can there be so much injustice in the world. How could a God of love allow this to happen? I realize I’m not the first person to ask this question and I won’t be the last. Human suffering is an age old question which all religions have attempted to deal with, but last night I was reminded of why I am drawn to the Christian explanation. The world is broken and it’s filled with broken people. He chose these broken people to change the world, one person at a time. It all starts with me and you. Being in the Schroeder’s home with the em des gang last night has renewed my hope.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


This Sunday (Nov 29th) is the first week of Advent. We'd talked about following the Advent season and having different people facilitate (I think we are still listening to and discussing pod casts each week as well).

So far, this is how each week of Advent is working out:

  • First Week (Nov 29th) - Theme is Hope - Sherri and Debbie already have plans in the works to facilitate this week. I'm excited to see what they've put together!

  • Second Week (Dec 6th) - Theme is Joy - We still need someone to facilitate this week. Anyone interested? We are also anticipating a visit from our dear friends from Colorado this week (Stacy Schaffer and Kathy Escobar).

  • Third Week (Dec 13th) - Theme is Peace - Gonski's have volunteered for this week. Gonski's talking about Peace...should be interesting!

  • Fourth Week (Dec 20th) - Theme is Love - My neighbor, Don Doyle (retired ASU Professor of Theatre now a professional story teller - check out his website here: - note, he also looks a lot like Santa Claus) is going to visit and tell us a story.

There are plans in the works for a Christmas Eve brunch (Dec 24th - like you don't know when Christmas Eve is) which will be hosted by Debbie. I'm sure there will be more details in the next few weeks.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Six-Pack of House Churches


The Tall, Skinny Kiwi has posted six (well, seven) different types of house churches that we see emerging into the faith landscape. I believe EmDes would likely fit into the first category.

1 Off-the-grid house churches that intentionally do not want to be known, listed or be on anybody's radar. We find out about them by accident or through opinion polling or sampling, the kind of research George Barna does.

These OoCC (out of Church Christians) gatherings contain a lot of the God-yes-church-no crowd out there.

As a group, we tend to think that if you know about us, then we're doing something wrong! It seems that many of us are from backgrounds where we felt we had to "sell" our church to others, and we shy away from letting others know about the community we're involved with. But, interestingly, that has made it all the more intriguing to people! More listed, after the jump...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chili Dinner This Sunday!

Hey folks,

If you're able to make it this Sunday, you get to look forward to Debbie & Sheri's world famous White Chicken Chili!

Let's all bring something to round out the rest of the meal, if we can. Here are some ideas of what will be needed:

- chili toppings
- cornbread
- biscuits, etc
- desserts

Leave a comment here with what you plan to bring so we don't end up with 52 biscuits and no cheese (we NEED cheese:)

*Photo credit - "PotteryBarn Part Deux (Terri)"

This Week's Listening...

Sorry for the delay in making this available!

Part II - "Jesus Wept"
[to download file: right-click + save]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Progression of Community

Hey everybody,

I was reflecting on Sunday's conversation regarding the first installment of Rob Bell's Jesus Is Difficult series on Gossip, and I had some thoughts/questions I'd like to throw out to the group...

We've touched on these ideas before, but I want open up the discussion again on our [Emerging Desert's] progression of community. One thing that struck me about the conversation on Sunday (or the portion I was able to observe) was that a number of people identified the assumption of closeness in Rob's main points. That is to say, his teaching about how to deal with conflict and thus gossip hinged on an assumption of relational maturity or closeness. I think we have/are/will continue to witness a beautiful evolution of community within EmDes, but I still sense that there is plenty of ground to cover in deepening our relationships. Or to frame it another way, Rob's talk about conflict resolution, etc. made me wonder if we, as a community, are deep enough into each other's lives to even merit that depth of conflict resolution if one should arise (which really hasn't yet to my knowledge). Does that even make sense?

To offer an answer to my own silly question: I think we're getting there. Like I said, a number of us have committed to doing this journey together, and much progress has been made. But we still have a way to go, I think. So I guess the wrap-up questions are these:

- Is our ongoing progression of community something that simply takes time (so we should just keep doing what we're doing), OR is there some increased level of intentionality that would be good for us to collectively put into action?

- If we lean towards "doing more," what would that look like for us as a group? Of course there's a individual aspect to all of this, but should we add an element to our weekly gatherings in which we some how make ourselves more known to each other (whatever that might mean), or would that feel too forced?

Any and all thoughts are greatly welcome!

Pumpkin Cookies.

You asked, I deliver.

(It feels a bit strange to post a cookie recipe on this blog, but I guess if everything is spiritual, then it's ok?)

Anywho, by popular request:

Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
(mix together)

add dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg

* bake for 8-9 minutes in 375 degree oven *


2 Tbsp. brewed coffee
6 Tbsp. butter softened
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar

Monday, November 9, 2009


Loved your thoughts on the trip/"church," Joy!

Here's a link to some of the photos that I took over the weekend. Just click on them to enlarge.

Hopefully this wasn't the last of our EmDes getaways!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Church Is Here!"

Joining a few of our EmDes friends and families in Flagstaff for the weekend was an an event I had been anticipating for several weeks. Hanging out with people I love and enjoy so much...all under one roof, for 2 nights, in a climate reflecting 'true fall' temperatures...with our days and evenings revolving around great food and drink as well as the uninterrupted company of each other...could undeniably become one of the most memorable experiences of my year!
Friday afternoon, several unavoidable scheduling conflicts prevented our family from leaving the valley and arriving at our AMAZING weekend destination on time...(or at least in an acceptable time frame in my mind). Once it became evident that we'd be late...I began to feel stressed, irritated and a little stupid for not doing a better job getting my family organized and out the door promptly by 3:00pm. I had volunteered to provide dinner for everyone that evening and like all true blue type A personalities...I was freaking out. My imagination conjured thoughts of half starved children bawling for dinner...frustrated grown-ups making comments to never let 'Joy' volunteer to bring dinner 'opening night' of a retreat 3 hours away...ever again!
We finally arrived at the 'cabin' about 45 minutes later than I had planned...(totally UNACCEPTABLE...for me) I sheepishly apologized...imagining the worst to be unfolding behind the door of the enormous vacation home...BUT, what I heard as I hesitantly walked inside, followed by my husband Jim and our 2 youngest daughters...immediately changed my demeanor and the direction of the evening for me...

"MOM! Church is Here!" ~Emma age 5.

Emma's words weren't just child-like and cute...they were powerful to me in that moment and in that space. In my mild hysteria and growing anxiety, I could not have imagined hearing more endearing and encouraging words... ever! (And, these uttered by a hungry child no less?) Her statement became the buzz for the next few the adults beamed and ribbed each other a little bit. That single exclamation captured my heart...Emma recognized us as 'church'...her church...I was dumbfounded as I realized that the thing we in EmDes collectively hope to have organically unfold in our little faith that in some real and outward way we ourselves embody THE CHURCH. Sure the the grown-ups can make the connection, most of us have gone to great lengths to reconstruct what church is...but to hear such a strong affirmation from one of our kids...totally confirmed for me...that we are really and truly doing this thing...we are heading in the right direction...
I'm certain that I was offered a glass of wine at that point...a sincere effort by someone to help me 'get a grip'...but, all the previous freaking out and anxiety had already dissipated...Emma's statement " Church is here" reverberating in my that moment...all was well with my soul!