The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

To receive cohort emails, join our Google group.


Global Gallery Discussion Wrap-up

I figured since I was taking some notes on Sunday, I could post the "wrap-up" from the discussion. By the way, I loved Global Gallery, and the more I look on the website, I think this is a great location and awesome local endeavor that we should continue to support / promote when we can.

To keep the post short, I'll list some of the topics here, and then some more details in the comments section.

Topics of Discussion
  • Lent: Everyone shared their respective history and experience with Lent, which turned out to be quite varied
  • What does Lent mean to you? There was good discussion about favorite verses, experiences and some lessons on Church history.
  • The role of ritual in the Christian life: This was the topic that seemed to raise the most questions and discussion. I'll post more in the comments.
  • Next two weeks meetings: We agreed to join Nick and Jane for their super fun community choir concert next week (info here), and then to try to attend a Catholic fish fry on Friday the 29th, before heading to "Drums Downtown" to see Greg perform. More online info here, and I'm sure we'll post details in the coming weeks.


Jesse said...

More details about discussion:

- We discussed how, in a fractured and disconnected Christian community, rituals and traditions can help to join churches and denominations together (for example, the Anglican book of Prayer). These rituals can help to create a bond, and a recognition with other Christians (like ashes on the forehead on Ash Wed.)
- However, some also pointed out that if traditions are forced upon believers, they lose their meaning and significance. To hear the same liturgy every Sunday, it can become just second nature, comfortable, and God's presence is no longer there. Also, very important was the point that some Christians do not seem to need any ritual expression at all. Here Nick and Jane shared experiences as Xenos. Also, some members share how repeated rituals (like a weekly liturgy) just simply don't help them spiritually.
- A powerful phrase that Kate mentioned, was "committing to the liturgy." I understood this to be a good way to explain how a ritual will only have meaning if it is practiced intentionally, with the right motivation and proper reflection. Forced ritual can actually be a hindrance to people, but if a person voluntarily adds ritual to their spiritual life, it can be a benefit.
- Some people noted that many intellectuals are "into" rituals right now, and they are sore of "en vogue." This brought up the point that there is often a pendulum swing the other way - a reaction against rituals.
- Kristen mentioned Mike Frost's book "Exiles" and his idea of a "liquid or solid" church. There were lots of comments about depth, superficiality, trying new things and maintaining traditions for the sake of longevity and meaning.

Hope these notes spark some ideas. Feel free to post comments, questions, etc. if you like.

Greg said...

Good wrap-up, Jesse.

I enjoyed hearing Kate's description of Lent as that which causes us to "break routines." The point then becomes not whether the particular routine is a help or a hindrance, but whether its routineness has made us unaware of God's presence in our lives.

Andrew's comments about seasons and rhythms also clicked with me. Rob Bell has often made this a focal point of his teachings. Seasons are part of the human experience, and it only makes sense that the early Church chose to infuse that experience into the Christian life. (Or for an earlier example, as Andrew pointed out, the many OT examples.) As one who has grown up in church settings devoid of the Church calendar, I am fascinated with the knowledge that Christians around the world are doing the same things at the same time. To me, this is not dissimilar to the collective sense of unity shared by crowds at a music concert or a presidential campaign speech. Also, I appreciated Andrew's point that in the same way that new meaning is drawn from the same sources at various stages of life, so also can new meaning be found in the same rituals/traditions over the years.

The question still remaining for me is how to avoid the empty rituals that were part of Kristen's experience. Perhaps the larger question is learning how to be more intentional. I think Kate made reference to some Lutheran churches that are attempting to reengage in this way. How are they making this happen? Is intentionality even something that can be taught?

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