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.


Planning our Celebration

Hey everyone, this is the monthly "post what you're going to bring post." So...post what you plan to bring to our meal to avoid repeats. Does anyone have theme ideas? Also, we never settled on a time for the meal. 6:00?

"Why We're Not Emergent" - Part 2

Well, this book has really grabbed my interest, and I've been reading it fairly consistently the last few days. It is a comfortable read, and I feel like I'm getting to know the authors and where they are coming from. The book does a good job presenting the arguments against the emergent church in a simple and practical manner. Some good questions are certainly raise. For another positive review, check out Dan Kimbell's post.

Kevin DeYoung is very well-read and educated, and quotes some great authors (G.K. Chesterton for one). He presents the emergent position by pulling from a variety of authors and books, although he seems to lean heavily on McLaren's earlier works (A New Kind of Christian), Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis, and then various compilations. Ted Kluck is more colloquial, and attempts to represent a lay person's impressions of the emergent movement.

The first chapter (download it here) critiques emergents call to "epistemic humility," uncertainty and unwillingness to make any absolute claims. Several good points are made, and one of my favorites is a reference to D. A. Carson's analogy of a "asymptotic line" in regards to our knowledge of truth -" a curved line that gets closer and closer to a straight line without ever touching it" (pg 41). Furthermore, they rightly point out that emergents like to say everyone else's interpretations of Scripture are too absolute but don't hesitate to offer their own "true" reading of a passage.

In spite of these positive contributions, the book maintains a sarcastic undertone. There is little respect for blogs (D.A. Carson says in an interview, "Too much information"), continual references to emergents being "hip" with "black-rimmed glasses," drinking coffee, obsessed with their own websites and their catchy self-descriptions (e.g. Erwin McManus "futurist, artist...spiritual and cultural leader") and cashing in on the Christian pop-cultural interest with the emergent church by writing/selling lots of books (some of which have "lots of white space" - can you guess who that's in reference to?) Most of this seems to come from Ted Kluck, who just seems to simply not "like" the emergent style of doing church (if I can make such a general statement). He says at the end of chapter 2:
"I thought A New Kind of Christian was an entertaining read...but ultimately was uncomfortable with some of the liberties he took with Scripture...I enjoy...movies very much, but couldn't accept them as a part of worship....I was really enjoying my church...There were logistical reasons as well, like what to do with our three-year-old while I was sipping a latte and trying to have church in a coffee shop. The fact that I don't like finger-painting in front of people...As it turned out, I wasn't as rebellious as I thought I was." (pgs 62)
These comments are less than helpful at best. I also find it really interesting that the emergent leaders are considered to be "super-hip." Has anyone see pictures of Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren, and Tony Jones? Pagitt just recently set up his blog, and there is a full website, complete with chic, artsy photos for the "Why We're Not Emergent" folks too.

So far, the serious chapters are on target and are helpful. But the undertones show that it is really hard to write a criticism without being demeaning or sarcastic, something that is hard for us emergents too.


Justice Revival

I just wanted to post the link to the Justice Revival sign-up.  It's free, but I guess the registration is so they can limit the number of people coming.  Adam and I signed up for all three nights.  I'm pumped.

Are You Emergent?

I picked up "Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be)" from the library and have just gotten into the introduction. The authors are honest, humble, and well-informed. They do a great job outlining their purpose and are not offensive at all. There is an interesting section right at the beginning that attempts to describe what emergent "is" and since I know this is a question we often ask, I thought I'd post their (very long) description. It's kinda funny, but not far off at all. So, read the description in the comments field, and answer the question for yourself, once and for all: Are You Emergent? :)


Xenos Summer Institute 2008

Greg found this first, but I just got the official e-brochure and it looks really interesting. Renowned speakers, including D.A.Carson and Mark Driscoll, with joint sessions on "A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church" (Driscoll) and "Evaluating a Complex Movement" (Carson), there are also really interesting breakout sessions, including "The Books of Brian McLaren."

I intend to go (July 23-25) - student prices are $15, and there are discounts for groups as well. Check out the site here

This could be a great opportunity to be stretched and challenged in our thinking, especially in terms of having "open conversations" with other people. I think it will be a great event.


Warehouse SALE!

Here are the details to the Augsburg Fortress Warehouse Sale I mentioned the other night. They sell church supplies and publish books (theological, ministry, church resources, etc) Paperbacks are only $1 and hardcover are $2.

Seminary Students normally arrive very early (6am) in order to get first dibs on the goods (i.e. biblical commentaries, albs, clergy shirts, etc.) However, they normally have many copies of the books and re stock later on.

We are currently making plans to get their early. A couple years ago we cooked out! If you want to join us uber-early I'll post our plans in the comments section in a day or two.

Spring Warehouse Sale!

Saturday, March 29, 2008
8:00 am to Noon

Augsburg Fortress Distribution Center
4001 Gantz Road
Grove City, OH

Bring two non-perishable food items to be donated to Lutheran Social Services Food Pantry and get a 10% off discount.


Is it time to lay "emergent" to rest?

Brett McCraken is a grad student in UCLA's Cinema and Media studies program.  I found his blog after reading several outstanding articles he's written over at RELEVANT and Christianity Today.  To me his reviews of current music, books, and movies (three of my favorite things) are always well-thought out and enjoyable to read.
Yesterday, his post concerned the emergent church.  Do you feel some of his critiques are merited?  Should we let go of the term?  I weighed in on the comments, but clearly his readership leans toward a, dare I say, more Driscollian point of view.  :)
Here's the link.  


Art as Worship

This Sunday we are meeting at the Columbus Art Museum for our discussion. First, the formalities – the art museum is free on Sundays, as is parking. We usually go from 3:00 to 5:00, but this time let’s start our discussion at 3:30 – we’ll meet in the central area where the chairs are. So, if you get there at 3:00, you’ll have 30 minutes to look at the gallery (or you can get there earlier, I’ll probably be there between 2:00 and 2:30). I don’t really care what you look at, so long as you are at least aware of the larger question, but it would be a good idea to at least look briefly at the European religious art section as it will certainly be relevant for our conversation. The museum closes at 5:30, so people should have a few minutes to look around at the end as well.

What would be best is if everyone could pick a work of art or two before the discussion that you fell best communicates spiritual meaning or makes an impact on you. We could certainly discuss how the image itself has changed it role in the Christian community, but I would rather focus more on us than the past. I really have no idea where our discussion will go (as I don’t really know the cma’s collection), but it should be fun and maybe we could even repeat it every six months or so if it goes well since we have discussed having a commitment to the arts as a potential aspect of our group.


Disciples Fellowship

As some of you have expressed interest in understanding what our fellowship of believers looks like in Birmingham ... this article might give you an idea. It was a blog post of a summer intern two years ago. That intern is now moving to Birmingham as DF has hired him to minister to the community full-time. Tyler has since erased his blog, but this article was posted on the DF website. It is a quick read ... both funny and true. Enjoy.

What happened at the cross?

I'd like to continue to talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus perhaps at next week's discussion group.

Traditionally I have always thought about the death of Jesus as a very legal matter: We sinned and God's justice could not let sin go unpunished so Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. My friend Mindy likes to use a courtroom analogy that God is the Judge, Satan is the prosecutor, We are proven guilty and sentenced to hell, but Jesus steps in and takes the punishment for us. This hasn't ever completely made sense to me, but I usually can't explain why when it is laid out in the normal tract fashion. The main thing I react against is that it is a guilt-driven system which makes me feel like I am indebted to God and now I need to serve Him with my life because He bought me from hell. I felt like this through a lot of high-school: angry and enslaved to God, but too scared of hell to do anything about it.

Reading Donald Miller's Searching for God knows what started to break that down a lot and enable me to think of it more like a relationship thing then a legal transaction.

I read this article today which has a lot of interesting ideas that I'd like to look into a lot more. I think this view really enables me to love God more, but I'd like to look more into the scriptural basis for it.

Basically the idea is that:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit have always existed in communion.
Jesus becoming man was God's original plan for our adoption into the Trinity since before Adam sinned.
On the cross Jesus didn't take on all our sins, but rather kept in complete communion with God through even the ultimate trial of humankind death and in doing so conquered death and sin.
Jesus fully human sitting at God's right hand is what enables us humans to enter into the fellowship of the trinity.

I don't think I really have enough information on this topic to be able to lead a discussion, but was wondering if we could all look into it a bit together? If a couple people are willing to help me out with it I think it'd be a good topic. If someone else has something they'd like to discuss that's fine though.


Woah. Super Exciting!

This is an excerpt from the EMC update I got today!

I'm excited to announce a new
Student Rate for our final 6 cities of the Everything Must Change Tour 2008! High school, college and seminary students will now be able to come to our conference for just $35 (yes, that's probably less than many people spend on lattes in a week!). So please tell your friends, children, peers, etc. to sign up now for this new student rate.

If you are currently signed up for the previous $79 student rate, you are invited to bring someone to your conference site free of charge...just email me at Linnea@deepshift.org with your guest's name and email address and the city where you're attending.

In addition, for those of you who don't fit our non-student category, we are extending our Just in Time rate of $99 for San Diego, Chicago and Seattle...so sign up soon! The Just in Time rate for Kansas City and Goshen is scheduled to end April 5 so make your reservations soon for those cities as well.

Super Fun Night

Hi everyone -

In case you haven't heard, Sunday night - 7pm - our house in Grove City - Super Fun "Lost" Party!!

Everyone is welcome - friends, family, neighbors and lovers. Feel free to "dress up" like your favorite "Lost" character and come ready for trivia, Dharma rations and a campfire (seriously!)

Please post on the blog if you will be bringing snacks or drinks so we can plan appropriately. Gracias.


A Lecture on Nothing

Yesterday (3/16/08), we gathered again for a couple of hours at the Global Gallery in German Village.  Our conversation centered essentially upon the issue of hermeneutics. Considering the 1500 years of Christian church history in which the Bible was primarily experienced aurally, we reflected on the differences that exist for us when hearing a passage read versus reading it one's self.  Jesse had a lot to say about story, which John suggested often gets marginalized by the tendency to worship the words of a particular version, thereby losing the freshness of the event being studied.  John Cage had a lot to say about nothing, which became an opportunity to reflect on the experience of prayer. [Feel free to disagree with anything I may have misconstrued...if anybody is sleepy...let him go to sleep.]


Tenebrae (Service of Shadows)

Ok so we had talked about this for a while, but I would like to invite everyone to my Dad's church's Good Friday service this Friday (March 21st).
It starts at 7:00pm(I'm not just making that time up) and is usually pretty short if people want to go out for a bit or come to my place afterwards.
The sermon title is "Meditations on the Road to Calvary" which makes me think that there will be a slightly cheesy dramatic readings. They also usually do communion during this service.

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
530 McNaughten Rd. Columbus Ohio 43213

Take 670 East to 270 South
Exit East on East Broad St.
Turn right (south) at the 2nd light McNaughten Rd.
Turn left (east) onto Billington Dr-> Church parking lot on your immediate right.


The New Perspective

TIME picked up on the continuing discussion in theological circles regarding so-called "New Pauline Perspective" which is basically reinterpreting Paul's letters (especially Romans) in light of his strong commitment to Judaism. In other words, don't read the New Testament like a Christian, read it like a Jew.

What is interesting is that this article pits Rob Bell against Ben Witherington, and the fact that TIME considers a new understanding of what it means to be a Judeo-Christian one of the top "10 Ideas that are Changing the World."

Read about it here

Graduation party

I just wanted to remind everyone that following the discussion on Sunday at Global Gallery, you are all welcome to my graduation party at Schmidt's Sausage Haus around 5 p.m.

I'd love for you to meet my family and friends and enjoy some tasty German food!

Schmidt's is located in German Village. The Address is:
240 E Kossuth St
Columbus, OH 43206


The Way We See It

This idea has been tossed around a few times, and I'd really love to get it rolling for a few reasons. I'd like to offer everyone (members of the cohort, readers of the blog, family, friends, unknown stalkers, everyone) the opportunity to share their unique perspective on Christianity, the church, the world, and the "emergent church." The concept is based upon the Starbucks cups that have different quotes, and a number after the phrase "The Way I See It." (Interestingly enough, when I did a quick search, this hilarious article came up.) Eventually, I would like to film everyone offering their thoughts, along with fitting and thought-provoking footage for the purpose of eventually editing together a sort of "intro to how we see emergent" video.

So if you are interested, here are the questions to think about, write down some thoughts, brainstorm what you would say about:
  1. How have you seen and experienced Christianity in the past?
  2. What do you see are some of the greatest needs of the world, your community? (these can be both religious and non-religious needs)
  3. How do you see the "emergent church"? In other words, what are you experiencing in the emergent church? How would you describe it in your own life?

Baptists & Global Warming

Just saw this headline on NPR and it reminded me of our discussion over dinner on Sunday.

I have enjoyed the somewhat extended discussion on prayer over the last few weeks, and I have thought that another topic we could discuss at length could be something like "Intentional Living." We could address issues of climate change, global poverty and consumerism, etc. Many of the topics would coincide with things discussed in McLaren's "Everthing Must Change" and so it could be a good lead up to the conference.

More than anything though, I think we could combine the resources of the cohort and really challenge one another to make significant changes in our lifestyles. As we've been mentioning, it is one thing to talk about "emergent ideas" as if it were a hobby that we enjoyed, and it is another thing to live as an emergent Christian. I know that even the ideas are fuzzy, so the lifestyle is even more ambiguous. Furthermore, when it comes to issues of climate change, consumerism, and the global economy, significant changes are even more difficult to achieve. However, I cannot help but feeling guilty for patting myself on the back that I recognize there are significant issues in our world, yet continuing to live my affluent American lifestyle, making little to no changes.


My family in Ethiopia

Hey I know I've mentioned that my parents and sister are in Ethiopia for awhile, but I don't think I had passed on the blogsite that I put up. You can see some pictures, video and emails here



Tonight, we experienced our third Celebration of the Faithful.  After a meal of savory appetizers and lively dialogue about this, we contemplated portions of Peter Rollins's How (Not) to Speak of God, C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and scripture.  Next, we took communion while a slide show of Christian artwork was displayed.  Throughout the event, we sought to intentionally reflect on the provocative question:  Would we still follow Christ if heaven or hell did not exist?  A prayer journal was born, and Mason enjoyed a back scratch of sorts.  Thanks, Jesse, for organizing; and thanks, Nick & Jane, for hosting.  Personally, the shared sense of community in this group has been truly enriching over the last few months.  And it seems we are being Emergent if our discussion topics, open-ended dialogue, and decentralized hierarchy, etc. are indications.  But how are we doing Emergent?  And how are we doing it in Central Ohio specifically?


Sunday Wrap Up

This Sunday we went to Global Gallery and watched a Nooma video from Rob Bell concerning prayer. Questions emerged regarding why God answers some prayers and not others and what is the role of suffering in this world. It evolved into whether prayer is a horizontal tapping into some ether or a vertical and individual acknowledgement of God's will. The power of prayer was then debated as directly causing or effecting events, or to a lesser degree affecting our experience of events. We drifted into discerning the mechanics of prayer and dipped into the unending, unanswered requests that we continue to pray. Two types of prayer were introduced: daily, relational (without ceasing) contrasted against direct requests. Verses were used out of context and onlookers eavesdropped.

Perhaps oddly, we never actually prayed.

While conclusions probably varied across the board, I think it was agreed that Prayer is mysteriously important in the Bible and in the Life of Christ. (Who heard Him pray when He was alone!?!) It likewise remains mysterious to us in the present day as it somehow interacts with a Spirit world that breaks down all the rules our universe usually obeys.

I feel the tension in my own thinking of a Sovereign God who has ordained our path and the effect any prayer might have on such a divine will. Yet I see Christ praying directly for his glorification, his disciples, all believers. There is a lot here and I hope we keep the discussion of prayer going; and that in that mind-bending theorizing, we also keep praying. Thoughts?

One comment from the video that I was going to bring up was this statement:

Don't pray for God to feed someone if you have plenty to eat.

I'm not sure what he meant by that or if I agree conceptually with that idea. What do you think?

Celebration of the Faithful planning

Hi everyone. Let's comment here with what people are planning on bringing this Sunday to our meal so that we don't end up with 300 cupcakes and one salad. I believe we said the theme was appetizers. The meal will be starting at five, followed by a liturgy that Jesse is putting together. Anyone is welcome, so spread the word.


Absolute Truth vs. Relativism

With all this talk about what is truth and how do we know what's true, I was looking into the concept of having a 'hermeneutics of humility' and came across a really interesting article by Philip D. Kenneson, a professor of theology and philosophy at Milligan. I'd love to know your thoughts.

New Facebook Group

Well, I tried setting up a facebook group and I think it worked. It's just called "Central Ohio Emergent Cohort" and you should be able to get to it from here. I sent it to those of you who I am friends with on facebook, so feel free to pass it along to other friends. Perhaps it will be just another way for people to find out and get connected to the cohort.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, we are planning to meet on Sun. Mar. 2nd, at 3pm, at Global Gallery in German Village. We'll be discussing prayer, with the latest NOOMA video "Open" being the discussion starter. Hope to see everyone there!