Thursday, July 26, 2007

Can we put off the next meeting one week?

Phil and I (Lon) realized we have a conflict next Monday that can't be rescheduled. We committed to work at the Salvation Army that night and didn't put the two engagements together when we were planning this meeting. Leave a comment on this post and let us know if you can meet Monday, August 6 at 7:00 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings in Coralville (see links in previous post).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

next meeting and a sundry other things...

Looks like we will have our next meeting on Monday, July 30th at 7 p.m. This time lets do Buffalo Wild Wings near I-80 and hwy 965. I look forward to meeting some new people, talking about our summer reading and having some good wings!

Also, listen in to Good News Geeks Podcast on Friday night, July 13th at 9:00 p.m. CST. This will be a live show, so you can participate. We will definitely be discussing the emergent church and related websites, free software, podcasts and tech tips. Hope to meet you at both gatherings.

Friday, July 6, 2007

What I'll be reading on my summer vacation...

Inspired by a visit this past week with my brother-in-law, a very progressive Evangelical Free pastor from Atlanta, and a recent invitation to help conduct research as part of my Methodist church's re-visioning process, I ordered a few books from that arrived today and thought I'd share the titles in case any of y'all have read them and have opinions:

"The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church," by Reggie McNeal.

"The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21 Century Church," by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch.

"Rethinking Christ and Culture: A Post-Christendom Perspective," by Craig A. Carter.

"Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine," by Wayne Grudem.

"Halley's Bible Handbook With the New International Version," by Henry H. Halley.

Actually, this is a good two summers' worth of reading, I'm sure!



Sunday, July 1, 2007

Church as a safe place

I’m half-way through “Emergent Manifesto” and hope to comment more thoroughly, and thoughtfully, after I’ve finished and processed it all. But one common theme that occurs in several of the essays is the need for church to be a safe place where people can “come clean” with their doubts, their questions, their dreams for Christianity and their struggles and still be accepted. One chapter by an addiction counselor says he finds that prisoners and AA meeting attendees tend to be best at these kind of raw, honest and often very fruitful exchanges, and suggests that in most churches people speak very cautiously – if at all – about the serious challenges posed by actively living out one’s faith for fear of being marginalized or outright rejected.

I have found this to be true in my own experience in Catholic, Presbyterian and now Methodist churches. Outside of the formal worship service (which is itself highly formalized and scripted), serious, vivid talk of God is rare in church. I don’t know if, because this is Iowa, modesty is at play, or whether church-goers tend to be shy or embarrassed about trying to discuss the ineffable. But as this book suggests, I’ve yet to really feel either safe or encouraged to go deep, and I've found that truly disappointing.

I think the real challenge facing traditional churches isn’t that they ask too much of their members, but that they ask – and expect – so very little.