A Seat at The Table: Everyone Plays

My friend and fellow Common Tabler Pete comes at emergence not via the plethora of niche-market Christian books, but through science.  He is a systems engineer by trade, a musician by training, and a scientist by passion.  Last month he came and guest lectured in my Wesley Seminary course on Emergence Christianity, to rave reviews. He talked about systems theory, special relativity, quantum physics, flocking, music, and emergence, relating all of it to the grassroots changes we are seeing in c … [Read more...]

A Seat at The Table: Negative Space, Part II, The Art of Doing Nothing

I wrote last month about the value of 'negative space' in worship settings, but the same principle has similar effects in the life of the larger organization.  Of course most reasonable people would look at flat churches, offer an exasperated sigh, and say, "Organization?  What organization? I don't see any!"  And while it is true that there is a lack of top-down structure, even grassroots emergence churches will often naturally employ the use of negative space to get certain jobs done.At Co … [Read more...]

A Seat at The Table: Negative Space

"Negative Space", by Carmon Rinehart

For many years, I dreamed of attending a church where creativity was rampant, where artists were empowered to lead, and where artistry was revealed in many other people as well.  A church of creativity for the many (parishioners), rather than the few (clergy). A few years back, I realized with some pleasure that I was in fact attending just such a church, though I was at a loss to understand how it had come to be.  My best hope is that we can somehow reverse-engineer that goodness in order to s … [Read more...]

A Seat at The Table: Keep it Wild

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Listening to a recent 'On Being' podcast with the venerable and feisty Walter Brueggemann, I was struck by what seems at first to be rank overstatement.  His contention is that the ancient Hebrew 'prophetic/poetic messengers' serve to critique everything:  all political, social, and religious systems. In Brueggemann's opinion, the worst thing we can do with these Biblical messages is to organize them, domesticate them, and to "create another 'ism'".Surely, part of the reason e … [Read more...]

Everything I needed to know about church, I learned in Kindergarten.

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Okay, so I actually don't remember much about Kindergarten, apart from the location of the classroom at Vandercook Elementary in Rockford, IL (which is interestingly, now a Muslim community center).  I remember the strange allure of paste (I was a player, not an eater), the utter joy of the playground (remember defying certain death on the merry-go-round?), and tables with toys.  If I learned any important lessons there, I have forgotten them.No, the place where I've been learning a … [Read more...]


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