she prays while he swears

he wants to pray, but his head is full of philosophies theologies, theodicies, Divine Command Theories determinism cannot extend to mundanities divinity cannot be concerned about matters small as these (and that dark night when the world stopped) he wants to pray, but his hands are full of practicalities an entire car balanced over his head nuts and bolts frozen by winters past expensive peril at every turn defeat knocking at the garage door but when that $90 oxygen sensor held fast … [Read more...]

Emergence Faith

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One of my favorite things to do when I'm housesitting for someone happens on the first morning as I'm stumbling through their utterly unfamiliar home. No, I don't rifle through their drawers, but after I've figured out how the heck their coffee maker works, I start my search. The search for a coffee mug.Now I know where to find a coffee mug, of course. They are usually in a glass-front cabinet or display case of some kind, prominently featured and impeccably appointed. They are a part of a … [Read more...]

(non)Corporate Best Practices: Preaching in the Age of Emergence

SoM

One of the hopes for this communal blog is for it to become a place where we can share what's working in our communities of faith.  To that end, I'd like to share some thoughts about the evolution of preaching in emergence communities.  These independent groups are not all alike but they do share many similarities, even if they are unaware of one another.  In the parlance of emergence, this is known as 'non-identical repetition'.  So these are notes from one particular person (me) about one par … [Read more...]

Advent at the Movies

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In a move that launched us into 1997, our family recently started a Netflix subscription.  The kids needed something for Friday Night Movie Nights, Dad needs to catch up on some films to maintain some shred of cultural currency, and Mom likes to fall asleep to Call The Midwife (while I remain rapt and wide awake at this excellent BBC series).  It’s been a fun adventure having a zillion movies right under your right thumb.  One film that everyone else has already seen that I’ve just recently watc … [Read more...]

Emergence in Empire

denarius

It's a four-year-old's game of infinite regression, yet more profound than she can possibly know."Daddy, what would we do if we couldn't buy gas?," she asks with an impish grin when she knows she should be eating breakfast.I will play the game if she'll have another bite.  "Well, sweetie, I guess we'd go to a different gas station!""And what if that gas station was out of gas too?  And the other one. What if all of them were out of gas?"Pushing back flashbacks to my favorite TV sh … [Read more...]

Flexible Faith

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You really can't go back home again.  Or at least if you do, it's best to bite your tongue and sit on your hands.One of the running jokes among my friends who are experimenting with emergence ways of doing church is the ongoing aggravation we have with sermons.  There is nothing inherently wrong with sermons, of course, and we all appreciate the inspiring elocution of a good homiletician who has something important to say and is saying it with flourish and passion.  It's just that we've got … [Read more...]

Welcome to the Zoo

Mike Stavlund is a husband, a father, a writer, an emergence practitioner, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on emergence Christianity at Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC.  He tries to practice what he preaches at a church called Common Table.  He  sometimes writes poetic odes to flat church.  1.the trick with visiting the zoois not staying too long linger longerand the unique behaviorunfolding before your eyesturns out to be perseverationrepeated ad … [Read more...]

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...]


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