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.



Feast of the Transfiguration

For our meeting this Sunday we will be celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration. The official Feast is on August 6th, but many liturgical churches celebrate it on the Sunday before, so that is what we will do. We would like to do things a bit differently this time and do a group art project in addition to singing and communion. We are thinking of having a mostly blank, large piece of paper (perhaps with a hill on it) that each person can add something to. We were thinking people could either draw something, write a poem, write out a verse or saying that speaks to you. We will save the paper and hang it at celebrations and possibly even continue working on it in the future. So, think about what you would like to contribute in our group's expression of love and gratitude towards Christ.

Now for the details - we will start the Celebration at 5:00 at 1270 Courtland Ave., please do try to be on time. Afterwards we will share a pot-luck style meal together. Please comment below what you plan on bringing so we don't get too many cupcakes (if such a thing is possible). Finally, anyone is welcome to this event, even if you have never attending any of our functions in the past.

Film, Faith and Philosophy #2

Hey all,

By popular demand I was thinking of having a second installment of what will be an on going gathering of "Faith, Film, and Philosophy." I then heard of a showing of "Constantine's Sword" (http://www.constantinessword.com/) at 7:00 this Saturday at the Wexner Center. Perhaps instead of meeting at my place we could go see it together and discuss it. It is a documentary written by a former Catholic priest who explores the links between religion and war even from within his own tradition. It sounded really thought-provoking. After the film is shown there will be a Q&A with some people that were interviewed in the film, and afterwards a reception at the Wexner cafe where we can perhaps sit together and discuss our reactions.

As a disclaimer, I have not seen the film and so am not sure what conclusions the documentary will come to. At the very least, it should be good food for thought and discussion over a very timely subject.

If you're interested you can pick up tickets ($5 or $7) beforehand at the Wexner center. Let's try to meet in the lobby at 6:45 beforehand. Let me know if you are coming so I can look for you! My cell is (937) 572-2751.

Hope to see you there,


Constantine's Sword Reception and Q&A on Aug 2(Oren Jacoby, 2007)

Sat, Aug 2, 2008 7:00PMFilm/Video Theater


How Emergent and Mr Rogers are (or want to be) alike

I just read this article on Mr. Rogers, and I really really enjoyed it. My dream, my prayer, is that in some way I can be more like Mr. Rogers. Well, I mean, I don't need to save Public television or wear a cardigan. But you know what I mean.


Emergent Meets Evangelical Recording

Okay, we've got the recording of yesterday's discussion between our own Noel Britton and Jesse Schroeder with Xenos paster Dennis McCallum. You can find a download here. It is a large file (thanks to Zack for hosting it!), so it will take a bit to download, and the total playing time is around an hour and 15 minutes. Overall the conversation went very well, so if you were not able to make it in person, please check it out.

I thought we could also use this post to continue discussing some of the issues that were raised. So, comment away.

Thank you Dennis & Xenos!

I just wanted to write a quick note to anyone from Xenos who may visit our blog over the next few days to say "thanks." I felt very welcome, very loved, and the treatment I received as a guest speaker was fantastic. Our breakout session assistant, Jody was so nice; the sound guys did a great job, and Dennis was very kind during our discussion. Furthermore, many people welcomed us after the session, thanked us for being there, were appreciative of our thoughts, and invited us to hang out later. One woman even gave me a few bags of Skittles! How great!

Over the next few weeks we will certainly be unpacking the conversation and highlighting points of disagreement. I will admit that it was tough to sit through some of the sessions as a person who greatly values the emergent conversation. However, I really believe our particular session honored God and showed the love of Jesus in a real way. For me, it was a good example of how people with very different opinions about truth, God and religion can come together, share the beliefs that they hold firmly, still disagree at the end, but still be friends and grow closer to God in the process.

Thanks again Xenos! As always, you are all invited to any one of our gatherings or to post on this blog. We love to have you share your thoughts on any topic, even if they are distinctly different from our own.


Jesse Schroeder


Xenos Summer Institute Thoughts

First off, congratulations to Noel and Jesse for their great work at the 2:00 pm session at the institute today (Emergent meets Evangelical). I was proud to have them as my representatives. I couldn't believe how many people showed up to the session to find out more about who these crazy emergents really are! It was also wonderful to continue the conversation afterward as many people approached us with comments and questions.

I must also say that I was quite surprised to see a phrase from one of my posts in huge letters on the projecting screens during the discussion. It was excerpted from a summary I had created of one of the cohort's discussions, and I put it up so that members who weren't at the meeting could get a sense of the conversation. I never thought it would be taken as some sort of creedal statement. Suddenly what I had written on a blog was being subjected to intense scrutiny in front of hundreds of people! If anyone is interested to read the entire post, which contains several ideas about "truth" besides that it is complicated, multi-faceted, unstable... please check it out here.

Also, we made a recording of the session and we should have it available soon for anyone who wasn't able to make it, or those that would just like another listen.

If anyone would like to continue the discussion on the nature of truth and epistemology, please feel free to comment.


What is the Emergent Movement? An analogy....

Alright, I've offered analogies before, and you have all been kind enough to offer critiques. I know the question "what is emergent" is going to come up at this little breakout session at Xenos on Thurs., and I want to be able to offer a better answer than a chuckle, a smile, and something like, "No one really knows..."

I'm not sure why I thought of it, but I was thinking about this crazy optical illusion that my dad sent to me one time. Please take a look at it here before you read on.

So the idea is that if you stare at the small cross in the middle, the blinking dot turns green, then eventually all the other dots go away and all you see is the green dot moving around the circle. It is such a clear example that what we see is not always what is there...but then when you *blink* or look away for a second, the other pink dots show up again.

So here is my analogy: The emergent movement is like *blinking* - When we are so focused, so set in our theological ways and opinions, so consumed with the absolute truth we see before our eyes, we may very well be missing something else that is also there. Doug Pagitt in his new book, "A Christianity Worth Believing" (which is surprisingly good, by the way, and you should read it) says there are 31,103 verse in the Bible. So if we memorized 300 of them (which is a lot), we'd only have 1% of the Bible. What about the other 99% What are we missing when we only focus on what we are so certain we can see, and don't step back, *blink*, and take a look around the rest of the Bible.

For me, the emergent movement is about getting a fresh look at the Bible and correcting my vision a little bit. It's being willing to admit that what I think I see may not be what is actually there. It's about allowing other verses, other perspectives, other voices to speak and to inform so I can get a better overall picture. Admittedly, after several years of looking at it this way, I'll have to blink again, and get a fresh view again. But what the optical illusion tells me is that my human nature if prone to block out what I'm not focusing on, or what I don't want to see. So sometimes I have to step back and getter a broader view, even if it messes with what I thought was really there.

Alright, what do you think? How would someone who is not favorable toward emergent respond to this analogy? Obviously it isn't the whole thing, but for me, it hints at the core - any thoughts?


Xenos Summer Institute "Pre-Discussion" - Part 3

Alright - here is question #3, with a little bit of explanation, and a few side tracks. These are the proposed topics of conversation for Sunday's meeting at Global Gallery.

Dennis' initial email asked: "How to reach postmodern young people: What should go into an approach to communication, community, church ethos, structure, practice, etc. in order to avoid losing relevance to postmodern culture?"

I was a little unsure what he was getting at, so I sent another email and asked him to explain a bit more, and this is what he wrote: "I'm referring to non-Christian postmodern people (mainly the young) and how to attract them to Jesus. What does the church need to be in order to be considered relevant to these people's lives? What would commend Jesus to them? I think one of the big arguments I've seen and heard from emergent Christians is that unless the church becomes more postmodern, it will lose its voice with postmoderns. So, the argument is that the church is too propositional, too modern, and that's why we need a change that emergent is pioneering." (btw, thanks Dennis for the great questions and quick email responses!)

Side track A: When Dennis first offered the three topics, I suggested a fourth topic, "The Kingdom of God," and from the looks of an email giving some details about the conference, this topic is also on the table. So perhaps this week we can also toss around the topic of the different understandings of the kingdom of God b/w traditional evangelicalism and emergents.

Side track B: Since the Goshen "Everything Must Change" event, a few of us have tossed around the idea of getting together with other cohorts in the MidWest region. If you haven't heard, Emergent Village officially canceled any official national cohort gathering this year in an effort to stimulate more regional, indigenous and organic gatherings. I contacted a few cohorts this week and they seem interested, so perhaps we could also toss around ideas for a regional get-together.


Beyond Sunday "Church"

Christians commonly define and describe their faith by the church they attend. Answer to questions like, "What denomination are you?" "Where do you go to church?" "What is your pastor like?" are the ways we typically describe our faith. Even in our cohort, we describe ourselves by our meetings on Sundays, and we often talk about where we went to church that week. But I am increasingly getting the sense that the Sunday gathering of Christians should be the least defining element of my religion.

A favorite verse of evangelicals is Romans 12:1 - "Therefore offer your bodies as living sacrifices....this is your spiritual act of worship." We are admonished again and again to "live a life of worship." I've usually understood that phrase to mean that I should not sin against God, and thus everything I did (meaning my life of not sinning) would be worship to God. But I've started wondering what a life - a Monday through Saturday life - of worshiping God would look like. More than that, what would a community of Monday through Saturday worshipers look like?

What would be the implications for our cohort specifically if we focused on living on entire lives together as worship to God? If our little community continues to grow and we are more and more intentional about our lives together, we may feel tempted to develop some form of "service." But what if instead of focusing our energies on one hour together with other Christians, we reflected our passion for Jesus and his life in the other 167 hours of the week in practical, purposed and Jesus-like ways?

I don't know how well I'm presenting this, but for me, this is a huge (HUGE) change in my way of thinking about what it means to be a Christian, and even more what it means to be called to "full time ministry." What are your thoughts?

Small Fire

I saw this site referenced in Frost's book "Exiles." It offers great pictures of alt worship services from across the world, including Peter Rollins' Ikon in Belfast, and Doug Pagitt's Solomon's Porch in MN - cool stuff and offers some neat ideas.


Just wanted to let you all know that this Saturday, I am going to have
people over around 7:15 to watch and discuss the Danish movie
"Babette's Feast." A few months ago this film came up during a
discussion of sacraments and the common meal. Its the first
installment of what I hope will be an ongoing "Faith, Film, and
Philosophy" event once or twice a month. Anyone is welcome. Just let
me know if you plan on coming.

My address is 1212 Summit Street and I live on the corner of Fifth Ave
and Summit. Parking is available on the street but if you have any
trouble there is some room behind my duplex as well. My number is
(937) 572-2751.

I'm really looking forward to the chance of sharing this film with you
and hearing your thoughts and insights.


Xenos Summer Institute "Pre-Discussion" - Part 2

Alright, here is question #2, as posed by Dennis in an email:

View of the cross: What are emergent thinkers saying, and what does it mean? What are the different ways of interpreting the cross, and how wide are the differences between newer, postmodern perspectives on the cross and more traditional understandings?

Here are a few additional resources:

- - Emergent Village has had some interesting discussion regarding atonement theories in the past months. Here is a blogpost that includes results of an "atonement theory" contest and here is a great, short podcast where Tony Jones and Mark Baker talk about atonement and the contest a bit more.

- - We have discussed this issue already on this blog and you can view the initial post by Zack and the summary of the discussion that we had at Global Gallery. Also, here is a google doc I created that has a summary of atonement theories.

So, feel free to post your response to Dennis' questions, or to pose new questions. Also, I believe this will be the topic for the next discussion at Global Gallery on Sunday July 13 (which sadly, I will miss).


Google Calendar instead of "Our next meeting"

Greg suggested making a google calendar to use so we could post events farther in the future then just our next meeting. What do you guys think should we use this instead of the "our next meeting" or keep both? Suggesstions? Month view, Agenda view, Tabs?
I'll invite people to be contributors to it, but I don't have everyone's e-mail so if I don't get you and you'd like to add events, let me know.


Celebration of the Faithful

This Sunday Celebration of the Faithful will be at Adam and Kara's house, we will come together at 5:30 for the meal, followed by worship and meditation time. Kara will make a poppy seed casserole, and we still have a few adult beverages left from super fun night. Please post to let everyone know what you are planning on bringing. We are looking forward to it!

Can You Name the Seven Ancient Disciplines?

For those unaware, Phyllis Tickle taught at Mars Hill this past Sunday. What I appreciate more than anything when I hear her speak is the passion and hope always present in her words.
This particular teaching, entitled "Ancient Disciplines for the Church," begins by explaining that we are in yet another pivotal moment of change that Tickle calls The Great Emergence, the same name unsurprisingly of her forthcoming book. She then gives a quick recap of the 500 year cycles that have characterized Church history:  Great Reformation, Great Schism, Gregory the Great/Birth of Monasticism, Great Transformation (Judaism to Christianity), Babylonian Captivity, and the end of the Age of Judges.
Is there a connecting link between all these changes?  According to Tickle "there's something about religion that wants to institutionalize...more programs, more buildings, more doctrine, more people to police the doctrine...until what began as a faith of the heart becomes institutionalized and intellectualized, and ceases to say to your body and your whole life 'I believe in Jesus Christ, and I live it out,'" thereby causing the next cycle of change to erupt.
A point she also emphasizes is that the original version of what was before is never completely erased.  In other words, Roman Catholicism still exists today in spite of the Reformation.  (To me, this point is her subtle way of stymieing misconceptions about the emergent church as a power-hungry attempt to overthrow what has been our current normal state.)

She goes on to illustrate that one aspect of the new thing being born is always about rediscovering what had been lost.  In our current case, that means rediscovering what got lost as a result of the Reformation.  Because though the Reformation rightly reminded us that Christ is now our high priest, "it must not be forgotten that to be followers of Christ...we must bear not only the wonder of this story in our minds and in our memories, but also...in our bodies," which leads to the crux of her message:  an outline for our Western, Reformed ears of the Seven Ancient disciplines--communion, tithing, fasting, fixed hour prayer, keeping the sabbath, keeping the seasons of the liturgical year, and making a pilgrimage.
It is much more enjoyable to hear her speak it, so head over here.