-- note -- sorry about abandoning the live blogging last night. it was engaging, to be sure, but just not conducive to blogging.
5:52 pm - I'm here at St. Mark's, San Antonio, in the historic heart of downtown. The room is abuzz, and for a so-called emergent topic, the place is brimming with folks over 50. At 39, I'm clearly the youngest person here. Mary Ellen is here from ¡Viva! — and we were able to talk a bit about the upcoming Open House. Phyllis Tickle's flight was delayed, and she just showed up.
Emergent|SA Second Fridays lunch was today. Jonathan Wickham (a rector at St. Marks Episcopal) and I were swimming in a sea of emerging ELCA Lutherans :) Bill Swantner was there, as was Tim Snyder, Travis Baker, the "PM Verb" Lopez's and their kids, and their friends Chris and Kelly. We talked about living a sacramental life, we talked about the eucharist, we talked about PhD dissertations being done here and across the pond on the emerging church phenom. I took this series of pics which I used to create a crude pano:
Here's another one from later in the weekend:
Philosopher, Budding Musician, ER Nurse, New Kid in Town,
McGyvver, Young Pastor, Young Couple, Seminarian, and me.
for about a week i had facebooked a 'maybe' as to whether i'd be able to make it to the netzer co-op and its shindig (worship/food/table/fellowship experience) tonight. turns out i was able to attend, and boy was i happy to have gone. i brought the girls with me as well, and it was good for their soul and spirit.
the netzer co-op is an intentional community with its epicenter in downtown seguin, texas, not far from texas lutheran university. its denizens seek a life in Christ, times of shared word and table, artistic alt.worship, and a balance between inward (contemplation and worship) journey and outward (missional engagements with the poor, for example) journey.
since shortly after its inception, i've been blessed to call these folks my friends, and surprised that i've found a place in their community as guide, mentor, elder, and spiritual director, the latter distinction neither by certificate nor official training but with fear and trembling.
it was great taking the girls to a shared meal with a new community, to let them see their friend 'mister tim,' michael and bri leading a group in worship; to sit at the feet of brianna while she painted; to listen to jeff and tim playing simple worship songs. good for them to see reiley and t.j. from covenant there as fellow guests and participants. the gathering was taking place in the unfinished space above the chiro-java coffee shop. what started as a dream for the netzers more than a year ago, to sink roots at this location, is coming to fruition. the quite-affordable group housing they're looking at is only a block away!
there were three eastertide stations corresponding to Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again. abigail was very interested and engaged at the stations; we prayed together and i helped her hammer a nail into a wooden cross after discussing the symbolism; at the second station we helped each other light a votive and add it to the growing points of candlelight' the third station had the collage i had made (the one which tim used in chapel on wednesday) and asked us to consider what we should do next.
i left feeling hopeful about the next generation of Christ-followers, including the twentysomethings i left behind in seguin, and my passel of pre-tweens as well.
we proclaim this mystery: Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again.
our local learning group is a movable feast of characters. over the years we've had lawyers, students, soldiers, artists, activists, mommies, coaches, and even pastors. okay, quite a few pastors. but even that's been a diverse group: episcopal, baptist, lutheran, catholic, church of God, presbyterian, methodist, non-demoninational, post-denominational. we've had conservatives, liberals, middle-of-the-roaders, and post-dichotomists.
two of our cohort friends are leaving San Antonio this week: Laura is an independent contractor working in humanitarian & refugee affairs — she's 'marching' to Pretoria, South Africa to do research on human trafficking. Thomas is in the US Air Force, being sent to Baghdad, Iraq on a deployment. [UPDATE: Thomas' deployment either got canceled or postponed!]
feels like we were just getting to know these two. you'll both be missed.
tonight and over the next few, Thomas and I will be recording some of our cohort, creating an audio artifact of this time before everyone ships out. we'll be talking about social justice and the gospel; we'll be talking about poverty, about hope, about where the pneuma of God is blowing. We'll hopefully be joined via Skype by Pamela, who is also a former member of our learning community, serving as a missionary in Managua. [UPDATE:I recorded Pam on Tuesday morning and recorded Laura's story Tuesday at lunch]
Since Thomas is being deployed, I'll take on the editing of the episode, and I think we're going to then provide it to Emergent Village's podcast [and Nick & Josh]
Tonight, Emergent|SA got together at our downtown San Antonio hangout, Ruta Maya Coffee Co., for an evening with Claude Nikondeha, Amahoro Africa. It had been quite a few years since I had spoken with Claude in person, and it brought joy to catch up with him again. He has a missionary's heart for Christ's work in Africa, with none of the imperialist, colonialist baggage. He's open to God doing things in new, different, unconventional ways, and his whole being seems bent toward lives engaged in God's Kingdom-work, whether its lone outposts of conversational gospel in red-light districts or serendipitous sermon-free church plants in urban Africa, or charting an emergent type of accountability/edibility among his close friends in Phoenix.
It was good to see TJ, Lane, Danielle, Tim and Bob there as well. I'll leave you with a large pull-quote from Bob about tonight:
"What a hope-filled night it was, crashing the Emergent|SA Feb gathering. ... I got to Ruta Maya early, in time to stumble upon the San Antonio Obama staff, squatting for the past 3 days until their offices open this Sat. It was
great to hear their stories of community organizing in Iowa, Idaho,
Nevada and Washington - a swarm of people in their early 20s helping
connect people to a powerful campaign.
It was even more hope-filled to hear Claude Nikondeha of Amahoro Africa. Claude talked with great energy about how this network helps build
relationships, sharing stories and exploring the shape of the emerging church in post colonial
Africa and beyond.
He was quite moving talking about what God is doing in East
Africa, particularly in terms of new models of faith communities and
courageous people fostering new model of transformation.
just the past few years, Amahoro is now consists of over 200 leaders representing 200 communities. For more about Claude, see this interview.
Two things Claude said really grabbed me:
he talked about what a contrast America is with Africa -
particularly how un-involved or interdependent our lives are with one
another in the U.S.
he used a term I had never heard or even considered - pre-emptive reconciliation. Talking about the recent conflicts in Kenya, Claude talked about the power of engaging in reconciliation BEFORE an outbreak or a provocation.
I came away from these two hours just brimming with hope, eager to
see the world that these Obama staffers and Claude are birthing." — Bob Carlton
Austinchange.org and Brian McLaren hosted a series of conversations in Austin yesterday revolving around his new book EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE. Some links from Bob Carlton… The Austin American Statesman had some great coverage:
between 35 and 40 people crowded into our little house on irvington drive last night to eat and drink and listen and sing and converse and laugh and cry and think. i'm still processing, but it was a good, good evening. i hope to post photos (jonathan?) and eventually video clips (thanks to emma davis), and to blog about it in depth later. the cobalt season and mark scandrette are on the long road to dallas. thanks to all who came.
Come to my house for a night of song and poetry and stories:
“Disgruntled with the American notions of materialism and Christianity,
[The Cobalt Season] set forth on a pilgrimage, traveling from town to
town relying upon the hospitality of old and new friends as well as the
grace of God to see them through, searching for answers and insight
into the questions they found themselves asking.” [Infuze]
We're suggesting $12 at the door to cover travel expenses; if you're not able to pay, please come anyway! If you're able to cover someone else, please bring extra dough. CDs will be on sale. I think they are $15 apiece and 2 for $25. Please RSVP via Facebook
Brian McLaren - “I just got back from Africa and have been listening to In Search of a Unified Theory nonstop for a couple days. I’m totally blown away. I really liked But I Tell You, but this one just soars. The lyrics are powerful. The songs themselves are so strong, so well structured. The vocals are perfect. And the arrangements are completely amazing. I thought of several of my favorite bands - Innocence Mission, the Weepies, and Sigur Rós. This CD should win a bunch of awards. Thanks for making it, man!”
had a good get-together today at ruta. gordon, tim h, christopher, travis, ian and myself were there, talking a little about "Emergent Manifesto of Hope" and a LOT about mainline and other institutional denominations and their future (or lack thereof). The gathering photo was backlit, so it didn't do justice to the group. you can make out christopher's cool clerical collar. how's that for alliteration.
Emergent | San Antonio will meet Friday, June 20, 2007 at 12 noon [until 1 or 1:30] at Ruta Maya Coffee. 107 East Martin at Soledad. Free Parking. We will be discussing the second half of the "Emergent Manifesto of Hope" essays. No need to RSVP, but spread the word and bring a guest.
Then again, maybe drop me a comment if you're coming.
over at Emergent|SA, we've decided to have our next meeting (mid-May, TBD), in the form of a book discussion of An Emergent Manifesto of Hope. It's the first book in the new emersion line of books (they appropriated the emergent village leaf logo without asking me, but hey, that's okay) — we'll read the essay collection over the next couple of weeks, and get together and discuss once finals are over, etc.
we hope you'll join us. you can probably get the book at Viva.
Saturday some of us from San Antonio and Seguin got together and
dialogued and practiced sabbath, silence and solitude and then
celebrated Eucharist on a second-floor sun-beaten rooftop of a
once-beautiful hotel where Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Chicago White
Sox supposedly slept during spring training back in the day.
Emergent San Antonio invites you into A Day of Dialogue & Sabbath April 28, 2007
invited to the major Emergent|SA Cohort event for this spring. The
event will be a day of praxis (action + reflection). Jump in your car
— or better, share the half-hour ride — out to a relaxing little
internet café in Seguin where we’ll start things off. In the morning we
will begin with an “open spaces” dialogue with our cohort lead learners
Tim Snyder, Paul Soupiset, and Travis Baker.
If you’re new to, familiar with, or vaguely curious about the
emerging church conversation, this slow-paced day is a great way to get
to know some kindred spirits, find an on-ramp into the emerging
conversation, meet new friends and chill over coffee in Seguin. There
will be plenty of time for stillness and personal reflection as well as
group interaction. Extroverts and introverts alike will feel at home.
lunch, we'll have several Sabbath opportunities available in the
surrounding neighborhoods. We’ll close the event with an evening prayer
san antonio texas emergent cohort fall kickoff / lunch conversation mon. sept. 25 11:30a - 1pm ruta maya coffee house - corner of 107 east martin @ soledad, south of main library on soledad a
kickoff at lunchtime on a monday?! yup … we're going to try a mix of
weekend & weekday, evening & daytime meetings this fall to try
and catch more people and to test the waters to see when everyone's
available. ruta maya has the best coffee in town, really good tomato
basil soup, panini/sandwiches, and other stuff. plus beer on tap.
travis has mondays off, so hopefully he can come as well.
we're probably going to go through a book this fall, so come the 25th and we can discuss!
This Thursday, March 23, 2006, at 6pm Mike Ray addresses the San Antonio Emergent Cohort Ruta Maya Coffee House Downtown (but free parking on site) at Soledad and Pecan, just south of the Main Library just north of Crown Plaza Hotel Come for the Cohort, stay for the 8pm Poetry Open Mic.
Our very own Mike Ray
(M Dizzle) is going to share his insights from the recent Emergent
Theological Conversation with Miroslav Volf at Yale Divinity. Mike came
away with some poignant insights but also some concerns and warnings
for the Emergent community; this is our chance to hear his thoughts,
pick his brain, and then stick around for some poetry readings (bring
your own if you're brave enough to take the mic stand)
Ruta Maya was just named one of the top five coffeehouses in the United States by Food & Wine Magazine — it's all fair trade, shade-grown Chiapas, Mexican coffee beans. Check their Mexican Mocha hecho con Abuelita™ cocoa.
amy and i had breakfast with duane and elisa cottrell this morning up in mcKinney, tx. they had their two kiddos with them and we had our youngest two with us.. they're doing well and miss everyone... i can fill you in more next time we get togther. photo soon.
this afternoon we took the extended family and walked around downtown mcKinney's town square, took in some excerpts from the Nutcracker there in a small downtown auditorium, and i read a bit more from "School(s) for Conversion" back at my father-in--law's house. it's been a good time to hang a bit with my in-laws, nieces, nephew, and amy and the kids...
we're going to be on the road most of the day tomorrow.
i'm excited because Sunday is [a] the beginning of the church calendar, the first sunday of advent, a clean slate, tabula rasa, [b] trinity house's first open-door, ready-for-prime-time sunday [c] all of the above.
time to go clean out the minivan for the roadtrip home. (pretzels ground into the carpet, art supplies strewn, stuffed animal managerie, typical...)
I sent an email to a bunch of Austinites this evening, folks who might be interested in an Austin Emergent Cohort. There seems to be one starting here. But I know I've missed a few people. If you've recently told, emailed, called, commented, or tracked back about Austin Cohorts and you want me to email you what I sent to them, drop me a note. ................ Tuesday night Jordan and I hosted this father-son group with which we're involved twice-monthly. It's a fairly ecumenical group (a mix of mainline, roman catholic, evangelical, and non-denominational). It was our turn to have the group meet at our house, and thus my turn to come up with content. i decided to have the kids and the dads write their own psalms. we talked about the range of emotions found in the 'real' psalms, and how it was okay to express anger, fear, questioning, and how we're called to 'sing a new song' -- and that everyone could contribute. you should have seen what they came up with. amazing. this is nine-year-old guys expressing some beautiful phrases; i only wish i had kept them to publish here. their dads came up with good ones too, but the kids' were great. that was a good evening: no doctrinal baggage, no propositions, just these kids giving God their shout-outs. ................ On Monday night I was able to be a fly on the wall at a conference call for the Relational Tithe (RT). Folks from all around the country [new friends like Greg Willis in Austin and Ryan and Holly Sharp on the road in Ohio, and acquaintances like Damian O'Farrell in CA, and Chris Haw (he made Trinity House's pottery) in Camden, NJ, and Shane Claiborne from the simple way] and they had dialed in mainly to hear stories, to hear how their money was used around the world. Think of it as narrative tithing, with way fewer than six degrees of separation.In fact, only one degree of separation. This far-flung group is living out a new model for pooling Kingdom funds and getting it to people in need: people these folks have met, invited into their homes, shared meals with. I hope to learn more about the RT and maybe our community can incorporate lessons learned into our daily, weekly, monthly rhythms of giving. ................ Kate, age 4 and a half, had a big lunch date with me today. (Emma was there too, but Kate was the excited one). We got to go to EZs and share a big cheese pizza, and then come down to the studio and hang out there for an hour before mama came and picked her up! She felt very grown-up. ................ Jordan and I played HORSE the other night with his Nerf basketball. For me, this was a Sporting Moment With My Son. So much so that I'm blogging about it. I'm not a sports guy. So I'm counting on some of you friends of mine who enjoy sports, enjoy sweating, to help me out in exposing Jordan to more than the occasional game of Nerf HORSE. Please, help a kid. Donate today. Operators are standing by.
pamela neumann has become a friend over the past few months. She's an emergent cohort friend, an articulate writer, an optimist, a chorister, and above all, has a passion about being caught up in the mission of God. so much so that under the auspices of Food for the Hungry, she will be fulfilling a vocational calling as she goes to live in Nicaragua and support the work of the Nehemiah
Center for Transformational Development located in Managua, the capital
city. Food for the Hungry helps the physical and spiritual needs of the poorest of the poor. [Note: find out how to support her here]
She came and spoke at Trinity House this Sunday about her forthcoming adventures (i suppose she was our first guest speaker ever. hey, someone should write that down); We're going to be able to support her a little bit, a relational tithe of sorts -- one "degree of separation" -- which is so much better than writing some check off to some missions board somewhere.. anyway, I'll let her tell you about the experience in her own well-crafted words (via)
Have you ever been in the presence of people who made you feel warm inside and deeply loved, simply by being among them? I had that kind of experience this past Sunday when I spent about 30 minutes with some friends who are starting a missional community known as Trinity House. I was there to share a
little bit about the journey that had led me to commit 3 years of my life to living and serving among the poor of Nicaragua. Their community meets in an inviting, colorful space on the inner west side of San
Antonio. Couches and large easy chairs form a semi circle around a coffee table adorned with a simple embroidered runner, tea light candles, and the sacramental elements of communion. As the community
gathers that morning, children are playing, women are sharing stories of joy and meaning from their lives, men are playing guitar and preparing for the time of worship and learning. Truly, the presence of
God is in this place. The gathering begins with a short reading for reflection and then I am invited to share. As my words tumble out, I glance around the room, seeking connection with my brothers and
sisters, hoping they can see my heart. I am humbled by their nods of understanding, their affirming looks of encouragement, and their heartfelt prayers. Truly, the Trinity abides with us. Finally, I bid my
friends a temporary farewell, but I know we are united in spirit, for all of our hearts are set on pilgrimage…sojourning with these kindred spirits over the last several months through common reading and discussions about faith and practice has drawn me deeper into the mystery of knowing Jesus and following Him in the world…I can think of no better fruit for a community to bear.
that's my post for tonight. tomorrow i'll tell you more about the House Concert on the 28th.
paul soup here. i'm literally typing with one hand (baby emma's on
my lap while amy's running some pre-trip errands), so there may be a
high rate of typos this time around.
i thought we had a great group meeting yesterday. we had a lot of
folks show up at Viva! Books' upper room to kick off the new "Track" on
Missional Ecclesiology. Our texts are: Guder's Misisonal Church and Rutba House's School(s) for Conversion, both available at Viva.
as a group we read through "twelve marks of new monasticism" as a way of introducing the topic. you can find them online at newmonasticism.org.
we'd encourage you to come join us whether you're interested in getting
the text or not. i personally prefer "twelve marks" without the
definite article, because i'm worried about seeming too prescriptive.
having said that, i feel these are live-giving, and transformative, and
will (possibly radically) affect our group in long-lasting ways --
parentheses are tough to type with one hand.
we want you to come in 2 weeks! having a "generative
conversation-among-friends" is the main point, and the books will be
used to bolster the conversation...
Gordon joined our group with a great perspective; we look forward to hearing his story more. his real live preacher
blog may already be familiar to you. I got to meet and talk with Misty
at lunch yesterday (she and her husband, Emergent/SA regular Travis,
are both heavily involved in what I'd call kingdom-work -- she is a
social worker on the southside, handling cases and at-school programs,
he is currently a youth minister in a lutheran church out in hondo. i
had a great lunch with travis last week. Rudy and Casey were there, as
were Cliff and Pam and Mark; rachel was working downstairs in the
i need to go to bed because i'm waking up early for a client meeting so maybe if i do one long run-on sentence it'll go down quicker paul thought and wrote like caddy compson's benjy moments in long streams, long streams to catch you up starting with friday perhaps yes friday night where my parents kept the kids and amy and i had a much-needed date night and had a great time and made a pilgrimage to the apple store in san antonio's latest temple to consumerism: the shops at la cantera and then was saturday when hurricane rita came and we moved furniture most of the day and soccer games were canceled and sunday came and our missional community went to san pedro manor and spoke and learned and loved and remembered and grew and welcomed mark and rachel with open arms and jordan made me proud and devin made us all proud and my six-and-a-half-month-old baby stole the show and the beautiful and wise and weathered nursing home residences drank in emma's soft, round baby skin cheeks and fair smile and i watched and met betty who came from new orleans and hadn't found her hurricane-scattered children and she had been in the superdome and had heard the worst and then mark amazed me the way he could embrace strangers so easily y se puede hablar en espanol con las abuelitas y yo sitting there in contrast, forgetting mis palabras y no puedo recuerdo mucho and grace, and love, and later selfless susan serving spaghetti, starbucks, and birthday cliff and birthday ginger and casey started his blog and hannah and kate had laughing moments and amy made that chocolate cake and love and lethargy mixed and kids played pool just like river-city, and mike was there and i was there and we were late for soccer practice and i waited with jordan instead of going to mosaic roadtrip but that was okay, and i got to talk to george and that was good and then mark came by for some furniture and i made grilled cheese for jordan and i had a really good talk about our missional community and church and how important he is and watched grey's anatomy on abc tv and read two blog posts from cliff and they got my mind wheels rotating and a typed in a long comment and asked myself some questions and isn't it warm for september and my wasn't our electric bill high and isn't the wild goose fluid and good and beautiful and isn't she worth following?
duane, elisa, cliff, casey and i met for lunch today: we said good-byes to the cottrells, and listened to sketches about what their next chapter might look like, up in denton, texas, going graduate work. orderup was the venue. did i mention i spilled an entire dr. pepper on cliff? another one of my wild gestures gone awry. sigh. he was good-natured about it. young casey finished the bar exam yesterday. hooray! we're all happy for him. amy's been very faithful praying for his exam. i was encouraged by that. hey, anyone got any good resources on the intersection of benedictine and celtic community life? i'm itching to reconnect with you national emergent folks; my batteries are drained, and i can't even drink my daily lemen aide anymo' ... barry brake, if you're reading this, we need an RSS feed to your blog!
For Emergent SA this past Saturday, i modified a silent retreat handout from last year (virusdoc, this will look really familiar to you) and thought i'd list it here as well. The assignment, if you missed the meeting but want to still
benefit was, after reading the silence and solitude chapter of The Sacred Way (3, I
think), to actually carve away some time, an afternoon, or at least an
hour, and practice hesychia, attentive silence before God. Download this PDF from your friends at EmergentSA as your guide. (NOTE: PDF is 444KB)
yesterday six of us from the cohort met in a little art gallery within viva bookstore in san antonio. we met travis, who is new to our group (that's encouraging: almost every week there's someone new; now if we could only build some continuity); what's funny is we talked for a long time about silence. [easier to pull of than being silent about talking.] about the practice of silence and solitude. we're going through tony jones' the sacred way, and it was my week to facilitate the discussion.
here are some quotes i had come across, regarding silence, solitude, hesychasm, etc.:
"Silence is not simply the absence of noise or the shutdown of communication with the outside world, but rather a process of coming to stillness. Silent solitude forges true speech. I’m not speaking of physical isolation; solitude here means being alone with the Alone, experiencing the transcendent Other, and growing in awareness of one’s identity as the beloved. It is impossible to know another person intimately without spending time together, Silence makes this solitude a reality. It has been said, ‘Silence is solitude practiced in action.’” — Brennan Manning, quoted in Worship without Words, Patricia S. Klein
“In this silence, unbearable to the “outer” man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose…” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1992
“True solitude is the home of the person, false solitude the refuge of the individualist … without a certain element of solitude there can be no compassion because when a man is lost in the wheels of a social machine he is no longer aware of human needs … One can escape from men by plunging into the midst of a crowd! Go into the desert not to escape other men but in order to find them in God.” — Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (chapter 11 of this book is excellent)
Regarding physical position and controlling one’s breathing, etc., “[a]ll these things have but a very secondary importance. The only question is whether they may prove helpful and facilitate what is essential.” — Anon., Orthodox Spirituality
“‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So
they went away by themselves … to a solitary place.” —Mark 6:31,32