Probably Parenting (Carla Barnhill)

Filling in for Tony this week means I have to charge up a few parts of my brain that have been in sleep mode for about a decade.

I will post a more involved blog later today, but I wanted to get a quick intro up before the week gets away from me (as weeks so often do). 
My guess is that Tony asked me to be part of the fill–in team this week because he knows I’m a sucker for people in need and that I usually say “yes” to requests for help. But I think he also asked because we have known each other for a very long time. We have watched each other shift from seminary students to mainstream ministers in well-known evangelical organizations to participants in the emergent conversation. We are both working to find a voice and make our way in the midst of a faith that we can’t quite get a hold of.
So this week, I will be blogging about what this journey looks like on the family front. I am the mother of three and the wife of one. I work part-time from my house editing books for various Christian publishers. I am deeply involved in my church (Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis) and   deeply frustrated at how messy this neat little life is when it plays out each day.
Just so you know where I’m coming from, I was raised in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, attended a BGC Bible camp every summer until college and then spent 6 summers working for the Baptists. I attended Fuller Seminary and the University of Edinburgh. I worked at Christianity Today, Int’l. for 9 years, 6 of them as Editor of the now defunct Christian Parenting Today magazine. I have edited a ton of books and written a few as well. My book, The Myth of the Perfect Mother, is now out of print, but maybe that will change if people start ordering it again.
I am both a participant in the evangelical world and a bit of an outsider. I wasn’t raised evangelical and for the longest time, I wasn’t really sure what that word meant. Then I jumped on to the mothership and found out just what the evangelical world is all about (or at least what it writes about itself). So I like to think I am able to look at the evangelical world with a mix of affection, understanding, and skepticism. I don’t buy in to the whole package and yet I get why people do and what’s at stake when someone starts poking at it.
And yet I am also one of those doing the poking. Most recently, my friend Caryn and I have been blogging about The Mommy Revolution–our name for the new breed of women who are parenting in ways that look nothing like our own mothers’ methods. We are challenging the assumptions of motherhood and encouraging women (and men) to define it for themselves rather than living with the guilt of not measuring up to someone else’s definition.
So this week, I will be hi-jacking Tony’s blog to talk about what parenthood looks like for today’s moms and dads. If you read my chapter here then you have some idea of where I’m going. If you haven’t, I hope you’ll still join in on a conversation about the changing models of parenting.
I look forward to our week together!

Beware the Overeducated, Loud, Brash White Man

Christianity Today, never a great fan of the emergent movement, seems to think that said movement is in need of revitalization, at least according to the subhead of their article on my exit as national coordinator of Emergent Village.  Final graf:

But Jones hopes decentralizing American emergent networks will give
participants worldwide, who lack access to book publishing and other
resources enjoyed by their American counterparts, more freedom to
express themselves. “Any time you can dethrone an overeducated, loud,
brash, white man,” he said, “people just feel more openness for their
own voice to be heard.”

Brian McLaren Interviews Peter Rollins

HT: Mike Morrell

Adam on E-Friendship

Adam Walker-Cleaveland’s posts have lessened in both frequency and profundity since he graduated from Princeton Seminary and entered the workaday world of church ministry.  But occasionally he drops a gem that reminds us of why Pomomusings charted the course for emergent movement blogs.  He posted on friendship in the internet world on Monday.  Money quote:

Un-friending People

Another interesting question is the idea of “un-friending” people on
Facebook and other social networking sites. One of my friends from
Columbia Seminary, Jeff, has held two rounds so far of the “Facebook
Friend Clear-Out” (I actually got cut in the second round, but I’m back
in now – no worries). What does it mean to un-friend people in an era
of social networking? I went through a phase when I first started with
Facebook that I would just accept anyone’s Friend Request that came in.
However, around six months ago, I started to think “I should really go
in and trim down those friends…” But – are we at a stage yet where that
is acceptable Facebook/MySpace etiquette? Or is that something that
would still be seen as an affront against the person you’re removing as
a “friend?”

Read the rest of Adam’s post here.  There’s already a good, thoughtful string of comments, too.

CONSP!RE Magazine Seeking Submissions

From Darin Peterson this morning:


Call for visions and voices in our premier issue.
DATE:  Spring 2009 (March)

GENERAL THEME:  Resurrection Stories

At the core of all Christian belief is this bizarre, astonishing, and
absurd claim:  That someone who was executed and killed came back to
life three days later.  Most of the time it seems that church folks
allow that belief to be a safe, abstract spiritual idea without really
grappling with its claim on their lives. 
Does the resurrection of Jesus actually have an impact on our
lives, personally and communally?  Have we felt resurrection in our own
experience?  Has the resurrection story transformed the way we lived
into certain situations or utterly changed the way we looked at our
options? How?

Have we gone through real deaths – losing someone we loved, bathing and embalming
the loved one’s body marked by brutal violence, or feeling our hopes
and possibilities crushed – only to come out at the other end, more
alive and on fire with hope?

Or is resurrection the ultimate Christian mind-game–a story so
hardwired into us that we are programmed to find resurrection whether
or not it is actually there. Are our resurrection stories a placebo to
cover up meaningless suffering and loss? Do we call things resurrection
when what we actually mean is that we have gotten over some death and
moved on?
This inaugural issue of Conspire! will launch around Easter, 2009.
In it, we invite you to share your musings on resurrection. Your
stories may come from your personal life, or from the life of your
community, or from the world around you.  How have you experienced
world-shattering hope, good news that turns you upside down and changes
your life – and is more than a spiritual cliché?  Maybe resurrection
happens in sly, subtle ways (after all, only a handful of people saw
the risen Jesus!).  Maybe resurrections are there all the time – but we
finally learn to open our eyes to see them.  

We are looking for various kinds of materials: 
Articles:   Articles can range from 200 to 1,500 words. 
We are looking for material that is personal, engaged, provocative,
challenging – not scholarly, not too heady, but neither too simplistic
or pious.  Most articles should relate to the specific theme of the
issue, though we will occasionally consider others as well.

Artwork and Photography:   Do you have an eye for the
visual image that compels our attention, draws forth deep resonance in
our spirit, unveils the unseen beauty around us – or maybe is just
cool?  Let’s see what you have -maybe it fits in our pages.

Poetry:   Do you weave words that yield the shock of
beauty, the jolt of insight, the opening of new awareness? Send
something our way – no long epics, please, no piety set to verse.

Short Fiction:   Are you a spinner of yarns that probe
the human condition, that navigate the interstices of meaning and
mystery in our experience?  Maximum of 1,500 words.

Reviews:  Are there some great books, films, art, blogs,
or other media out there that can spark our imagination, challenge our
paradigms, empower us in our subversive revolution of love?  Let us
know – in under 500 words.  (Note:  Reviews do not have to tie into the
theme of the issue.)

The deadline for submissions is January 9, 2009. 
Send manuscripts, queries, ideas to:

No large image files, please. Small, low-res jpegs, or links to online galleries.

WHO WE ARE: Conspire! is a quarterly publication that
shares stories of community, revolutionary love, and creative new
visions. Conspire! stubbornly insists that small, daily acts of faith,
conviction, and integrity can change the world. 

List of Community Co-conspirators: The Simple Way, AWIP, Rutba House, New Providence Community Church, Servants Vancouver, Flood, Centurions Purse, Christian Communites International (Bruderhof), Reimagine, Nehemiah House, The Banner House, Communality, Solomon’s Porch, Circle Venture, Mulberry House, Tolstoy House, Hyaets, Detroit Villages Lahash
, Reba Place, Relational Tithe, and more to come…

Since Conspire! is just starting, we are not able to
offer compensation for articles at this point  – but we certainly will
provide you with a subscription!

Free Emergent Music

Hope for a Tree Cut Down.png
Church of the Beloved is an Anglimergent church in North Seattle and a daughter church of Church of the Apostles.  They’ve produced a wonderful album called Hope for a Tree Cut Down, and it’s available for free on their website.  I’m not a fan of much Christian music (outside of Solomon’s Porch music), but I was immediately taken with this album.  I think it deserves a wide hearing.

Recap of The Great Emergence National Event

doug.jpgFriday and Saturday of last week marked the inaugural event of JoPa Productions, a partnership between Doug Pagitt and me.  Doug and I are involved in the publishing industry both as authors and as editors/consultants/gadflies.  And just when it seems that traditional, dead tree publishing is in its denoument, we decided it’d be a good time to start a business in that industry!

While we have great fondness for the many people we know who work the marketing departments of various publishers, there is one aspect of marketing that we think is missing.  Aside from the occasional lottery winner (Blue Like Jazz, 90 Minutes in Heaven, The Purpose-Driven Life, The Shack), a lot of authors struggle to get their books noticed, and most publishers continue to cut their marketing budgets which, in turn, negatively affects book sales which hurts company profits which leads to another cut to the marketing budget, ad infinitum.

But every former youth pastor (e.g., Doug and Tony) knows one thing: Get the teenagers on a get-away (fall retreat, winter ski trip, summer mission trip), and their loyalty to the brand (the youth group) increases exponentially.  Apply that axiom to publishing, and you get this: Get people in front of an author (particularly one who can communicate orally), and those people will develop a fondness and affinity for that author and her work.

For a decade, Doug and I have been speakers at the National Youth Workers Convention and the National Pastors Convention, which primarily serve as platforms for the authors of Youth Speciaties and Zondervan, respectively.  Our initial solo effort was the once-in-a-lifetime book tour, the Church Basement Roadshow.

But our first real event was held last Friday and Saturday at the august St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Memphis, Tennessee.  The book that we gathered to celebrate was The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why, and the author was Phyllis Tickle.

The event began on Thursday with four optional conversations: the hyphen-mergents; the future of theological education; new monasticism; and a writers seminar.  That evening, 110 of us gathered at the famous Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs for a true Memphian feast of dry-rubbed ribs, pork shoulder, and beer.

The next morning, we commenced the event with prayers from The Divine Hours, Phyllis’s best-selling guides to the daily office.  On both Friday and Saturday, we met in the nave of the cathedral for morning, noon, and vespers prayers.  Each office was led by someone different whom I had recruited from among the attendees, and, as a result, each was led in a different fashion with different voices.  The music, however, was provided by the talented Memphian liturgist and cantor, Stefan Waligur, and his assembled musicians.

phyllis.jpgPhyllis addressed the 300 of us in the nave of the cathedral four times over the two days, providing more background on the Great Emergence, elucidating the content of the book, and taking questions from the crowd about the Big Question: What next?  One of the reasons that this event worked so well is that Phyllis is a native Memphian, and St. Mary’s, though not her home parish, is in some ways a spiritual home to her.  For all of the speaking she does around the country, I did feel that there was some special magic conjured up by her connection to that city and that building.

Phyllis’s addresses were bookended in each sessions by the Lutherannadia.jpg cyber-punk-pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, who read from her wickedly funny book, Salvation on the Small Screen?.  If the sales of her book at the Episcopal Bookshop is any guide, then it’s safe to say that Nadia was a huge hit.  The main sessions were also complemented by panel discussions, practitioner interviews, and a live Twitter feed on a video screen.

All of the other presenters, flown in by their publishers, were asked by Doug to prepare a 5:20 presentation — in other words, 15 Keynote/Powerpoint slides, timed out at :20 each.  Known as an Ignite presention, this resulted in rapid-fire presentions from Peter Rollins, Sybil MacBeth, Joe Myers, Sally Morganthaller, Becky and Bob Pierson, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Nanette Sawyer, Karen Ward, Will Samson, Lisa Samson, Sara Miles, Tim Keel, and Brent Bill, followed by an opportunity for a brief interaction with each presenter.

Finally, Doug and I are indebtted to a dozen volunteers from Solomon’s Porch (Naomi, Checka, Tom, Bob, John, David, Dave, Shelley) and elsewhere (Laci, Tyler) who worked so hard to make it all happen.

I’m hardly neutral in saying this, but I think the event was a smashing success.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

Photos courtesy of Jonathan Brink.

The Great Emergence Tweets

Here are the assembled Tweets from The Great Emergence National Event:

Calming Post-Election Words from a Pastor

Over at Presbymergent, Leon Bloder has posted an open letter to his congregation, First Presbyterian of Eustis, Florida.  In it, he urges calm among congregants who are either ecstatic or in despair over BO’s election victory.  Money quote:

As the Church, the Body of Christ, we need to lead the way in the
healing that must begin after such a long and contentious political
season. How can we do this? We can first recognize that as the Church
we are called to “unity in diversity,” through the power of the Spirit
of Christ in us and all around us. The Body of Christ is diverse.

Hitler Is Not Happy about the Changes at Emergent Village!