Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Laundry Love on Thursday

Laundry Love is tomorrow (Thursday, Oct 1st) at 742 E. Main St. in Mesa (Strip mall on NW corner of Main and Horne). We're needing help if anyone is interested. Starts at 7PM and ends around 9PM.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life In Abundance Benefit Dinner...


Attention everybody:

As some of you may know, Life In Abundance International will be having a Fall Benefit Dinner here in AZ on Sunday, October 11th. Some folks from Emerging Desert pooled some funds to help sponsor the event, and accordingly there are seats available for anybody that is interested!

It will be a great night, so please contact Adam ( adam [dot] bamford {at} gmail [dot] com ) ASAP if you'd like to attend. Here are the details:

Sunday, October 11th
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Phoenix Zoo
Stone House Pavilion
455 N. Galvin Parkway

Formal invitation below...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Deep Church...

Hey all,

Just wanted to highlight a new book that's coming out:

I just learned about this book from John Chandler's blog (read his review here), and it definitely struck me as a book that will interest many of us... perhaps even a discussion book?

See you all tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


For those who wanted to visit the Mosque in Tempe for this Friday's celebration of Ramadan, here is the down-low...

Islamic Community Center of Tempe,

131 E. 6th St. Tempe, AZ 85281
Tel: (480) 894-6070

Here are some thoughts from Wendi:

"I think prayer starts at 6:30. so maybe we can meet at my house at 5:30. We will leave by 5:45. We will be back before 8ish...
Or peeps can go straight to the mosque by 6:30.
My cell is Peeps can contact me once they get there to meet up.
My addy is 714 W Marlboro dr
Chandler AZ 85225
Dress on the conservative side jeans are fine for male and female. Females need a shirt with sleeves and long enough to start to cover her butt...
email me at wcleckner{at}gmail[dot]com with questions."

If you'd like to read up on Ramadan before hand, their site provides some good info here.

I hope all who go have a great time. Sorry to miss it, can't wait to hear about it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Emerging Church Movement Theology

This came up in my Google Reader today, and I found it to be pretty interesting, and a good overview of things. What do you think?


A quick overview analysis of emerging church movement theology

I worry that some in mainline Protestant churches aren’t taking the emergent church seriously–that they are dismissing them as relativistic or post-modern Christianity (without taking a deeper and more nuanced look at the issues). The emergent church is here and how we deal with that fact will shape the future of the church in profound ways:

Potential Benefits of Emergent Church Movement
1) Focus on creating a safe space for outcasts and others (theoretically a safe space for minority or heretical views)
2) Focus on conversation vs. rationalist argument
3) Focus on the role narrative over legalism
4) Focus on relationship
5) Focus on the role of community in nurturing believers (small groups)
6) Focus on other (suppressed or ignored) ways of knowing (experience, narratives, etc..)
7) Focus on context/interpretive frame for author
8] Focus on context/interpretive frame for reader
9) Focus on humility in interpretation (and life) Realize our partial perspective.
10) Care for service and post-materialism (greed and environment/creation cares). Also inspiring new forms of service and community connection.
11) Journey over finality
12) Perhaps a better truth and resolution of problems of hermeneutics (eventually)
13) Exploring new forms of church and worship. Innovation. (Creative and new wine skins)
14) Reaching the unreached. Anthropological knowledge. (although sometimes a bit pre-emptive) Missional focus.
15) The understanding of systems theory and -isms in the church.
16) Challenging/destruction of dogma. Coming to the text with new and unique eyes. A phoenix or reformation style re-birth and regeneration. (loving agonism can create progress–Hegelian dialectic) Closer to Christ–further from dogma and a false contentment with orthydoxy.
17) A re-newal of the cultural debate (opposition, cooption, etc.–which of the 5 perspectives do we take) and the role of the church.
18) Authenticity, transparency, and openness via small groups (although both mega churches and seeker sensitive churches are making this move–but they are certainly a part of this. the same goes for service and some other trends here)
19) Learning how to better deal with diversity, difference, and otherness (and how we create boundaries, identity and ultimately relationship) Perhaps loose some of the baggage that goes with exclusionary image discussed in Unchristian.
20) Hopefully less underutilized talent
21) Personal vs. corporate faith. You are responsible for your faith and relationship with God
22) A reminder that church and spirituality is holistic–it touches everything and is everything.
23) Reminded that the preacher is not the final word and current orthydoxy, although it has a history (and some degree of lived experience), is orthydoxy. (I think sorting out correct doctrine vs. orthydoxy is critical important)
24) Meaning is socially constructed or rather socially mediated [even as its in the text as well]
25) Church is to make you open minded rather than closed minded

Criticism and Risks of Emerging Church
1) Hyper-diversity and loss of identity (risk of conflict, division, and lack of commonality)
2) Risk of losing doctrine, universality, and final authority
3) A black hole of theological narcissism (how do you resolve me vs. we?)
4) Culture worship/whatever identity
5) Hyper-ecumenicalism and accusations of new ageism
6) Risk of losing everything that is modern (what do we keep? what do we give up?)
7) In terms of worship style focusing on Him and not us. (ie less ego)
8] Change is difficult. Not all change is good. Destruction and erosion of tradition
9) How to allocate resources, talents, time, and focus. (which is always an ongoing issue)
10) Too much emphasis on text and theory is debilitating intellectually and practically. Is there such a thing as being too rebellious? Or perhaps too critical? Whither meta-narratives?
11) Theory is messy, complex, and of necessity always incomplete. Interpretation is likewise messy. (this is generally a risk with modernism, however although I think slightly less so)
12) Do some of the questions better fit in another venue than the pulpit? (perhaps class or small group)

Actually many of the twelve or so challenges and risks I outlined may be re-framed as a chance to challenge, learn, and re-think our perspectives on these issues so that we are better as Christians and as a church. I think this is not the time for name calling and argument, but conversation and listening that is genuine, open, and two-way.

I find it important to point out that the individualist nature of the personal quest seems to be balanced by an equally robust value of community (both internally and externally). How this dynamic plays out to me is critical to the “success” of the Christian church in years to come.

I know labels can be bad, but they can also help us sort through clutter and confusion. It seems like a more nuanced approach to practice might provide a better understanding of what it means to be emergent.

As pointed out above, I don’t think we’re post modern yet. I think the population is 50 to 80% still modernist and even those who think they are post modern are still wedded to modern values and thought. I think however understanding that there are groups who identify with a more flexible or relativist orientation is an important insight and those people need a place to call their church home.

I personally find myself in the position of being a personal emergent in the sense of my relationship to the text–applying a critical eye (and hopefully practice) to what I hear and read. I don’t read much in Eastern religions and metaphysics, although I pay attention to critical theorists and postmodernists. I’ve been reading this material for 10 years and the more nihilistic or relativistic versions don’t fit my understandings–and as many emergents point out the question should never end up being “what would foucault do?” (WWFD) or “what would zizek do?” (WWZD) the text should have focus and primacy.

What have I left out about emergent church? What challenges does it represent? Where do you see the church and emergent in 10 years? Can we learn to get along?

*** note this analysis is limited because its only the analysis of a person who has read the theory and philosophy of some emergent churches. however, as someone who has been exposed to post modern literature outside the context of theology and as someone who find themselves in someways between the two camps (which seem to have the same ultimate mission), I think I offer unique insight. it is not an endorsement of everything they do–just a head up that they have something important to offer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Recap 8.30.09

So, if I turn this in late can I still get partial credit? Oh how I remember asking that question. Again and again.

I thought our conversation was great (a week and a half ago), so despite being behind I thought I'd throw down some quick nuggets. As always, I'm paraphrasing like crazy - so be sure to correct me when I unintentionally misquote you. If I do it intentionally, and it offends you, hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete twice (for Republicans) and Control-Command-Eject (for Democrats).

  • We started out discussing our favorite foods, from which the G-ski's emerged (HA!) as the food snobs. Maybe they should kick it up a notch from now on? Something with sea scallops in a white wine sauce will do just fine.
  • We summarized our previous weeks discussion; specifically how our view of the deity of Christ affects our approach to "evangelism". What exactly "conversion" means to us in light of the topics in our current book.
  • Stacey asks: if we don't know the gospel fully because of the language, or our understanding of it can be flawed, then how or what do we share with others? (you get an "A" for having such a good question)
  • Joshua - it may not be as simple for some of us (anymore), to simply give people the message "Jesus died for your sins". There is so much wrapped up in a statement like this, that quick answers can confuse more than help.
  • Ron - the words "Father Father why have you forsaken me" in Aramaic can be translated as "Father Father this is my destiny".
  • Me - some of us may be feeling the shift that Phyllis Tickle describes in her book The Great Emergence (still on my "to read" list) in that our "authority" is moving from the Word (Sola Scriptura) to something new. For more reading on this, Greg Arthur at Emergent Nazarenes summarized this well at the beginning of the year. I'd also like to add that once on their site I realized I liked them, because of this post. Phyllis herself sums it up as well via the tube:
  • Sarah - the gospel has been and is introduced in our culture as "informational" and not so much "relational". So we approach it as such, seeking from it a knowledge that can be fully known. This may be where we've gone wrong.
  • Joy - when did conversion, or the beginning of salvation, become simply taking "the prayer"? (I really like this one Joy, we need to talk about this more)
  • Ron / Jim / Joy - every person has a Bible, and that has been both a blessing and a curse.
  • Jamie - sometimes we aren't going to fully understand, but we can live how we know we should (perfectly said Jamie, maybe this is what God is trying to tell us, that he can't be fully known!)
Take away: we could work on developing a different approach to the Bible; one that has more openness and humility. Seeking answers and closure from it may leave us frustrated.

Alright, so that's all for now. As you can see there was some good stuff that had to be launched into the blogosphere (eventually). Comment away!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

18 Months...

Cool article on Emergent Village and a video from the Ooze...

I'm not sure I agree or disagree, probably because I'm too ignorant to do either. Regardless, this woman consistently blows me away with her energy and her spirit. She writes much more cohesively than she interviews, I think because the audio somehow can't catch everything she means to say.

Has anybody read The Great Emergence, and can I borrow it?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Em Des BBQ


Don't forget we are doing BBQ and swimming with our friends this weekend.
We (Schroeders and Oralia) will supply the meats (hot dogs, hamburgers and brats), buns and condiments. Please bring sides. Here are some suggestions:
Salads of all sort
- Potatoe
- Pasta
- Vegitable
- Fruit
- Bean
- Lettuce
Baked Beans
Chips & Dips
- Cookies
- Brownies
You know, the usual BBQ type stuff. If you have something you are planning on bringing, if you can comment back, then we can be sure we don't end up with 10 fruit salads.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

because gmail is down for craig, I post in his stead

it's tuesday, which of course means new music day! {=o) okay, maybe i'm the only one who thinks of tuesdays as a weekly music holiday. anyway, there is an album out today that i thought some of you might find interesting. david bazan - curse your branches. if you haven't heard of david bazan or his better-known previous project, pedro the lion, it's really a pretty interesting catalog of work. he has always been very open and transparent about his spiritual life and struggles (with some sidebars into his problems with politics/the religious right). starting from his early work of basically hymns and praise songs mixed with critiques of the church to this latest record where he tends to call out god on more than one occasion even to the point of questioning his existence. here's an interesting interview with the guy, if you'd like to find out a little more about where he's coming from.
i've got the record if anyone is interested in borrowing it. i've been listening to it for about a month,* some days i have to play it a few times in a row and sometimes i don't want to hear it.

here are a couple of great songs from the record.

When We Fell

with the threat of hell hanging over my head like a halo
i was made to believe in a couple of beautiful truths
that eventually had the effect of completely unraveling
the powerful curse put on me by you
when you set the table
and when you chose the scale
did you write a riddle
that you knew they would fail
did you make them tremble
so they would tell the tale
did you push us when when we fell
if my mother cries when i tell her what i have discovered
then i hope she remembers she taught me to follow my heart
and if you bully her like you’ve done me with fear of damnation
then i hope she can see you for what you are
what am i afraid of
whom did i betray
in what medieval kingdom does justice work this way
if you knew what would happen and made us just the same
then you , my lord, can take the blame

In Stitches

my body bangs and twitches
some brown liquor whets my tongue
my fingers find the stitches
firmly back and forth they run
i need no other memory
of the bits of me i left
when all this lethal drinking
is to hopefully forget
about you
i might as well admit it
like i even have a choice
the crew have killed the captain
but they still can hear his voice
a shadow on the water
a whisper in the wind
on long walks with my daughter
who is lately full of questions
about you
when job asked you the question
you responded “who are you
to challenge your creator?”
well if that one part is true
it makes you sound defensive
like you had not thought it through
enough to have an answer
like you might have bit off
more than you could chew

* - yes, i am a sinner. i steal music from the internet when it is not yet available in stores. but i fully intend to buy the lp once i can figure out how to get it to my house without melting.

Refugees from Iraq

Joy and I have a friend ...Heidi. Heidi works (lives and breathes) for Food for the Hungry. She is the one who has connected us with the refugees from Iraq, who fled the country and came here because it wasn't safe there. These refugees love it here but it's not exactly what they expected.

Please read some of their stories.

It is now Ramadan, which is a time for cleansing.. physically and spiritually. Heidi is providing some families in her writings ...for us to pray about.