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.



Since today's conversation (at least for the first hour before I had to duck out) revolved around the notion of truth and what exactly is truth in an emergent community, I thought I'd offer up another blog I'm writing for. I posted something about Truth and Postmodernity at the beginning of June and have responded to a comment. Please feel free to take a look and chime in on the conversation.



6/29 Discussion Wrap-Up

Our discussion today was so wonderful! For those of you who had to miss out on it, here is an extremely distilled version of it. Please feel free to continue the conversation on the blog. Oh, and if I missed anything that was said that someone else feels was important, feel free to add. I admit that eventually so many amazing comments were being made in a row that I stopped taking notes.

We discussed the question, "What are the areas of agreement and areas of difference between typical emergent thinkers and evangelical thinkers on the nature and role of truth?" This question comes to us from the Xenos Summer Institute, where Jesse and Noel will be taking part in a forum in July.

There seemed to be a strong consensus that:
1. We learn truth directly from God, and that our relationship with Jesus is the key to this communication working effectively. Several gospel verses were brought up to support this idea, including Jesus attack on the Pharisees in John 5 (that they search the scriptures for truth, but that the truth is found in him), reply to the trap set by the Pharisees in Mark 12:24, and Jesus' famous declaration that he is "the way, the truth, and the life."

2. Along with the above, that knowledge of truth can be found outside of the Bible, and that there are truths that many Christians acknowledge today that could not have been gleaned from the Bible alone. A good example is what we currently think about slavery. The Bible does not present the whole picture on slavery, but instead addresses the institution as it existed at the time the texts concerning it were written. Perhaps Christians are often behind in the area of social justice because when we believe that all truth is found in the Bible and issues come up in the world that the Bible has little or nothing to say about, our answer is inaction (or even to assume that no answer from the Bible means the issue is not important).

3. That truth and love are intricately bound. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, which we might think of as a question about which truths are the most absolute and best guide a human's life, he responded that it was all about love of God and others. He stressed that we are to be concerned with the action of love, and not with being right. We should live in a way that causes us to love others. Being too concerned with what is true could very well adversely affect these others, as we cannot stop the angry voice in our head, screaming that every other person we meet doesn't understand The Truth as well as we do, for long enough to love.

4. That what we believe to be true about our reality is dependent on the situation that we find ourselves in, and on the life experiences that have preceeded it. What we thought was true at 16 we might consider untrue now. This doesn't mean that we were formerly categorically incorrect, but that the information we knew of at the two different points was different. We are to observe carefully the world around us and extract "truths" about how to life most effectively (lovingly) in that place. It is as though every person's life is a box of a unique shape, and that our job is to fill it completely with the love of God.

5. That to truly seek after God's truth will result in a constant feeling of tension in our lives. For some reason humans love lists of rules that they can follow, perhaps because this allows us to escape relationship with God. We want a neat and clear way to live our lives. But if we instead rely heavily on the Holy Spirit to show us exactly what he wants us to do in a given situation, this really takes the power out of our hands. There will be a lot of waiting, uncertainty, and probably failure as our impatience gets the best of us. We must continually seek intimate moments of communication with God, where he reveals to us what he wants us to do in a time of crisis.

6. That there is no consensus among Emergents about an answer to the question posed to us. While we don't want to circumvent the question, based on our experiences with each other we all have very different ideas about any and everything. Think about any Christian doctrine, and then ask yourself how much agreement there is among a diverse group of Christians about it. Even among just Evangelicals, there is hardly agreement as to things like the Trinity, speaking in tongues, and how Christ accomplished his work on the cross. I suppose one of the truths Emergents tend to believe is that truth is very complicated, multi-faceted, unstable, and highly dependent on experience and cultural conditioning.

7. That the best way to communicate truth to children and teenagers is through modelling rather than teaching. Young people need to see how the older people they know live life, not a list of things to do and to not do.

Finally, I wanted to further challenge and stretch our personal understandings of truth with an article that I heard about recently on a small Amazon tribe called the Piraha. A link to it can be found here. Learning about the Piraha blew my mind, because their worldview is so different from my own that it raised questions about how God reveals truth to humans in general. I found the descriptions of the efforts of the missionaries that have worked with the tribe to be heartbreaking, because the organization they are with believes that all missionaries need to do is translate the Bible into a culture's native language, and then God will do the rest of the work. This approach has made little impression on this particular culture. Might there be another way that the missionaries could share what they believe is true about God?


Xenos Summer Institute "Pre-Discussion" - Part 1

As you know, we have the privilege of joining in the Xenos Summer Institute later in July. Noel and I (Jesse) will be joining with Dennis McCallum in a breakout session to discuss the differences between emergent and traditional church views. Dennis has already emailed three topics that will be discussed, and an idea was suggested amongst the cohort that we discuss these topics on the blog before the session.

The goal for Noel and I is not necessarily to share our personal opinion (although I'm sure that will naturally come out), but also to represent the cohort as a whole. Therefore, in the next few weeks, I'll post each of the topics (verbatim from Dennis) and invite everyone to share your thoughts in the comments. Some of these are "repeats" from previous conversations, so feel free to either re-post some of your thoughts, or generate new ideas.

Topic #1: View of truth: What are the areas of agreement and areas of difference between typical emergent thinkers and evangelical thinkers on the nature and role of truth?

Agora Ministries

I just wanted sum up our Sunday morning experience yesterday. Noel, Kara, and I went to the Agora ministries Sunday morning worship time. The ministry is part of the Mennonite church. However, they are completely self-supported. The building is located on Broad St. in Franklinton. We showed up 30 minutes early because we thought it started at 10:30, but they actually start at 11:00am. But it was cool. Richard Bartholomew (hope I got the name right) greeted us warmly and told us a bit about the ministry. They are doing some really cool stuff in the community. In the front of the building, they have a kind of bakery and cafe in the fellowship area. They actually bake their own bread in the bakery and sell it in local coffee shops. The ministry largely focuses on reaching kids in the inner city. You can see what kinds of services they offer on the website. Also, there were youth groups visiting for the week from several churches in northern Ohio and Indiana (including Goshen, IN!). So there were a LOT of kids. 

There was fresh bread and cereal and coffee available. At about 11:00 am, everyone gathered in the "auditorium" area and we sang worship songs for about half an hour. After which, there was an open time in which people shared what blessings they had experienced during the week. There was a prayer, and then we broke for "fellowship time." At this time, everyone gathered back in the fellowship area to visit and chat over coffee and fresh bread. After about half an hour, we gathered again in the auditorium. Richard's dad, Rich, is the pastor. He shared some good thoughts from 2 Corinthians chapter 4.

All in all, it was a really good experience for Kara and I (I can't speak for Noel, we didn't have a chance to chat afterwards). We had really good conversation with Richard Bartholomew. He was quite interested in our group and asked if he could come sometime. I gave him a card (thanks, Andrew!!), and hopefully he can come visit us soon. I also suggested that maybe sometime, he or someone else could come share with us more about the ministry they are doing ... much like Lower Lights did last time.

Hope to see you soon, Richard. Please drop in anytime. 


Factory Green

If, like me, you sometimes feel frustrated by the dearth of greener shopping options, here's a cool site I found linked on treehugger.  The clothing is designed by University of Missouri art students.  "This company is about hope and change, and the ability of young people to do something to turn things around.  To further this change, a percentage of each sale also goes to the United Nations Water for Life Campaign" (TH).


Saturday Night Super FUN

Prepare to have SUPERFUN at the Newbys' new pad, (unit D) at 6:00 Sat. night. We have a pool nearby, for those so inclined towards water, we also have lots of board games and movies if anyone would like to partake in that kind of superfun. We will fire up the grill, so bring some meat, or things that go with grilled meat. I'm not sure what we will provide- probably a spinach salad, among a few other things. Please post if you are planning on coming and if you are planning on bringing anything. We don't have that many outside chairs, so if anyone has any, that would be great.

Also, Adam and I were thinking about visiting a local church Sunday morning if anyone is interested in joining us. We haven't decided which one, though we have a few in mind.


Sat. Night Dinner Cancelled

Sorry to say that we won't be going to LowerLights this Sat. night. The dinner itself isn't canceled, but another church was already scheduled to provide the food. Somehow the dates and plans were miscommunicated amongst everyone involved.

I'm really sorry, because we had such a great response from everyone. However, I'm sure more opportunities will come soon enough. It's been great to see everyone in the cohort really support one another in different ways this week, and I have personally been encouraged by this commitment to each other.

As of now, plans for the weekend only involve perhaps meeting up somewhere Saturday night - nothing scheduled for Sunday. I guess if anyone has ideas, they can post them here.


Details for Sat. Night Dinner

Thanks everyone for signing up today! - the food distribution looks great. If you didn't get a chance to sign up, (or don't know what I'm writing about), we will be serving dinner at the LowerLights ministry on Saturday night (June 21st). This is a time designed for families to come and have a sit-down, healthy meal and to spend time together as families. Everyone is welcome to join us, whether you made it to the discussion today or not. Here are some details:

Arrive at Bellows Ave. Church of the Naz. b/w 4:15-4:30pm - (1066 Bellows Avenue Columbus, OH) - Guests will begin to arrive around 4:30, and we will socialize and chat for a bit. Then dinner starts at 5 -

After dinner, there will probably be a short service upstairs, which we can attend, or help clean up from dinner. We'll probably be done around 7 or 7:30.

There is talk about maybe just going out to a bar or hanging out for a bit....the "movie" or "putt-putt" idea is off the table....More info to come this week, or if you have questions you can post here or email me at schroeder.jesse@gmail.com


"The Story of the Other"

This Sunday we'll have the privilege to talk with a few people from the LowerLights ministry about their experience with the poor in Columbus. I just want to throw out a few thoughts to kinda get people thinking, and as always, feel free to bring your own questions and ideas to the table.

I was glancing back through the "Hungry for Justice" booklet that we distributed a few months ago (can you believe it's been that long since the Justice Revival?), and I stopped in week four, looking at this phrase, "The Story of the Other." I know that my experience in Columbus is very one-sided. Living in an affluent and isolated suburb, it is easy for me to experience Columbus in a way that is very different from the experience of the poor. Often when I drive down high st. or other parts of the town, I imagine that I am in a totally different city, and it's not that hard to do because the city can "feel" very different depending on what street you are on. One of the greatest realizations I had from the Justice Revival is that it is very easy to look past, or over, or even through the areas and the people of the city that I don't want to see. I don't want to face them, so I drive on I-270, speeding over the neighborhoods that are filled with people - filled with the kingdom of God.

We have thrown this question out several times before, but I think it will be a great opportunity to really reflect and challenge ourselves to come up with some kind of answer this week: "How can we as Christians really love the poor in Columbus?" Some aspects of this love have to include things like an ongoing relationship, not just a one-time hit; love from the heart that is uncomfortable and costly at times, but is genuine; love that does more than just "visits," but also identifies and sides with the person.

There are some great questions in the "Hungry for Justice" booklet - check some of these out, and come ready to be challenged on Sunday - 3pm, Global Gallery in German Village.


Celebration of the Faithful planning

It is that blessed time of the month again when we gather for a meal, liturgy, and communion. We are going to do things slightly differently this time. We will start with the liturgy first again, at 6:00 (do try to be on time) at 1270 Courtland. Please enter quietly and ready to speak with God. There will be music playing, and when you arrive please put your food in the kitchen and then silently pray in a circle until the liturgy begins. I do not want to give too much away, but as you can probably tell from the picture, we are going to try an "emergent rosary" (which will be similar to the Catholic rosary with a couple different prayers) as a group. If you happen to own a rosary, feel free to bring it, if not I'm going to try to some that will serve the same purpose.

We also need to coordinate our meal, so please comment what you plan to bring. We will have the oven on warm during the service if that helps.


Upcoming Dates

Hi everyone - just some business here regarding the next two weeks activities. Let me know your feedback, likes/dislikes, ideas, etc.

June 15th is scheduled to be a discussion week, and I've asked Rachel Swartz of LowerLights ministry to come and share with us some of her experiences working with inner city families. I thought it could be cool to a get more balanced perspective as we prepare for serving dinner on Sat. June 21st.

So if everyone is cool with it, we can plan for a "normal" discussion week, Sun. June 15th, 3-5pm at Global Gallery, with the topic being poverty in Columbus. Perhaps some frisbee/games in the park again afterwards?

Then Sat. June 21st is an opportunity to serve a meal to some families connected with LowerLights. This will be from about 4:30-7:30pm altogether, and there is no obligation, but it'd be great to have some people come and also help to provide food and drinks.

I know that week is scheduled to be a "super-fun" week, and so I thought that perhaps we could move our weekly activity to that same Saturday night, the 21st. Then we could come up with a "super-fun" idea to invite the families from dinner to participate in as well. Perhaps a movie night at the church, putt-putt golfing, or something similar.

Ideas? Thoughts?