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.


Church as Fetish

Check out Peter Rollins's latest blog.  In it, he is critical of "confident, aware, independent people" who continue to attend churches in which they "do not subjectively agree with what is being said, how it is being said, and the structures within which it is being said."  He also throws in a little Hegel and Marx for good measure.  Do you agree with his assessment?  


Nick Johnson said...

Greg, thanks for posting this. This is very timely because I just got back from a home church meeting for Xenos. Once again I was struck by how much the teaching bothered me on various levels, but then when it was done I had a great time talking to people. But, I really felt for the first time like going to all these teachings I hate is hurting my relationship with God.

On the other hand, I do think there is great value in sharing the "good news about the good news" as somebody put it in Goshen (it might have actually been McLaren). I'm not sure just spliting away from everyone is the answer.

Also, I think Peter's casting aside of the issue of not wanting to disrupt social networks is a bit extreme. The fact is it is hard to maintain friendships with those people if I don't see them sometimes. I don't know, I will have to think about this more.

This issue, though, is one that will probably be a part of this group for a long time. If we are really a place for people to do some deconstructing before they rebuild then we will have a lot of people not sure if they should leave their current churches. Not saying I have the answer, but I predict we will talk about this more.

NancyJ said...

While I agree with Peter Rollins’ challenge that people should live out their lives authentically, I personally believe the transition anyone faces in leaving a church because “they no longer feel subjectively connected" is much more complex. That disconnect is not a simple on and off switch.

Choosing a different path was a decision within a process that happened over time. It came with a great deal of wrestling (and unfortunately not without guilt). I’ve hurt my family deeply by questioning the beliefs I grew up with. My choice to become more open to ideas and other religions was neither supported nor celebrated.

I had to be willing to go forward completely alienated from many of my friends because they could no longer connect with me and relate to my struggle.

I don’t believe leaving a church is as easily categorized as “knowing what ought to be done and yet refusing to do it.”

I have chosen to make the Emergent Cohort my church; I do not attend another church. But I remain sympathetic to people who still choose to attend church where they are not quite able to embrace all. And while they hold that tension (from McLaren), I hope to encourage anyone to awaken to all that God has for them even if it involves some risk.

For this, I will allow as much time as needed.

Andrew said...

Great post, Greg.

I see his point but disagree with what he's saying. I think it's a sign of a healthy church that lot's of people are asking questions, thinking things through, potentially disagreeing. Otherwise, group-think takes over. (Cue the Monty Python clip: We're all unique!! We're all individuals!!) He's stance is extreme to make a point, but where are these people supposed to turn if not back to the church? Emergent groups serve as a good outlet, but they also plant seeds of broader truth that would challenge more institutionaly control.

I guess my response is: as opposed to what? It's really easy to point out the flaws, but what are these people to do? Abandon church life, friendships, loving faith communities? Or keep quiet and stop thinking? It seems like if we are going to think critically in church, we have to be okay with some people taking part without completely agreeing. If any of us waited to find a church we agreed completely with, we'd never find it. Given that, I think it's just natural that people discuss the things that are different.

clark k said...

The differences between denominations and individual churches are sometimes major- closed or open communion; ordaining women and/or homosexuals- and sometimes minor- what kind of music you play- and you are right that it is rare to find a congregation that does everything exactly the way you would like it to be. I think you have to decide which beliefs and practices in worship are most important to you, make you feel your relationship with God is strong and productive, and find a place that gives you the best opportunity to express those beliefs.

The blog didn't specify if these examples were minor differences or fundamental theological beliefs; the first paragraph seemed to indicate a wide range of disagreements form "what" to "how". It also didn't say whether they were openly discussing their differences with their fellow practitioners or hiding their disagreements. A healthy relationship depends on open honesty. The difficulty of disrupting personal relationships by changing churches should be secondary to the concern over having healthy relationships with both God and your fellow worshipers. Are his "confident, aware, independent" friends openly discussing differences in worship practices, or are they hiding differences in basic belief? How healthy are their relationships?

I don't claim that this is an easy or quick transition to make, but the wording of the blog indicated to me such changes were not even being considered.