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.


Reading now available!

Hi all,
The reading for our next discussion (Oct 5th) is now available in PDF form. If you're interested please e-mail me at chrisorban@yahoo.com and I can send you the file. (Disclaimer: I'm not making any money off this!)

The meeting on Oct. 5th will be last week that I'll be leading a discussion this term on evolution and related theological topics. If you're still curious to learn more there are some events at Ohio State University and COSI coming up that that may be of interest.** I've posted that information below.

peace in Christ,

** Not an endorsement of the views of the visiting speakers!

October 20, 7:00 PM, Independence Hall, Federal Judge John Jones who
presided over Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board will give a
lecture entitled: Our Constitution' s Intelligent Design. (pun
intended). In addition, Judge Johns will be available from 9:30-11:00
on October 21 at the Davis Heart Lung Auditorium for an informal
discussion "A Conversation with Judge John Jones" which Entomology is
sponsoring in lieu of it's normal Tuesday seminar.

October 21, 7:00 PM, Jennings Hall Auditorium, Pulizter Prize winning
author, Edward Humes, author of Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education,
Religion and the Battle for the American Soul will give a lecture
entitled" Talk Radio Evolution: America's Love-Hate Relationship
with Science.

October 22, 7:00, live at COSI with videolink to Fawcett Center
Auditorium, annual panel discussion on science and religion. This
year's panelists are: Joan Roughgarden, Evolutionary Biologist from
Stanford, Connie Bertka, Geologist and Theologian currently at
Carnegie Mellon and Carol Anelli, Assoc. Prof. Entomology from
Washington State. The panel will be moderated by David Brancaccio,
host of PBS's NOW.


Sunday's Celebration

So, for this weekend's celebration, I'd love to facilitate!
I have something in mind, but don't have all the details ironed out yet, so here is what you need to know as of now:
--please wear comfortable clothes.
--bring a towel or mat with you.
--if you are comfortable, leave a comment with the general theme you'd like to be/are/hope to/want to/need to be praying/feeling. (e.g., wholeness, honesty, etc)
We will meet in a park (TBD) and eat there afterward. I am going to bring pitas, and ask everyone to bring their favorite "insides" of a sandwich for the pitas. and maybe a snacky item to go with it, if you want. (for example, I'm going to bring pitas, hummus and olives. hummus and olives is one of my favorite sandwiches!)


Evolution Discussion Part 2

Hi all,

Thanks to everyone who made it to the Park of Roses Sunday for the discussion we had about making sense of evolution and, in the process, making sense of God's interaction with nature and the fallen-ness of the world. I really enjoyed the discussion, which kept me on my toes, and I hope everyone got something out of it. The backdrop of the park and the bike ride along the river to get there really added a lot too. It was great to talk about God and nature while in nature.

For the "Part 2" of the discussion, I suggest that we read two chapters out of

"Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion"
, a Pulitzer-prize winning book by Edward J. Larson. The chapter "The Trial of the Century" gives a lively narrative of the famous 1925 trial of a Tennessee school teacher accused of teaching evolution to his students, and the last chapter, "Distant Echoes", talks about the wider significance of the trial for Christian and secular culture in America and the legal battles between then and now. If you are interested please e-mail me at chrisorban@yahoo.com and I can send you the PDF of the relevant chapters. (Disclaimer: I'm not making any money off this!)

The discussion itself will take place at 3pm on Sunday October 5th (location TBA) so there is still plenty of time to pick up the book. If you can read more than just the two chapters before then that would be even better, especially since my hope here is to have a discussion about the historical and cultural impact of evolution, rather than have another discussion about evolution and theology.

peace in Christ,


What's in a name? (part 2)

What is your response to this article? Post a comment on the Out of Ur website.


Evolution Discussion Sunday

Hi all,

Chris here -- by popular demand we'll be having a roundtable discussion on Sunday at 3pm about issues around evolution, creation and faith. This is something I've thought a fair amount about as a Christian and a physics grad student at Ohio State and I hope some of what I've learned and my thoughts on the topic will be useful to you in your Christian journey.

By "evolution, creation and faith" I'm actually looking to have a discussion around a much broader topic than just the current Evolution vs. Intelligent Design debate since the much larger question being asked in all of the rhetoric is the question of "How does God interact with the natural world?" And at the end of that debate is the ever-relevant question of "What is, or ought to be my relationship to the natural world?"

Acknowledging the huge scope of these kinds of questions and the many details that often cloud the discussion (e.g. "Did Darwinism cause World War II?" or "Who gets to decide what to teach in public schools?") I don't expect that we'll be able to cover everything on Sunday. I would however like to focus our upcoming discussion on what the experts might call "theodicy" and evolution -- in other words: how should we reconcile our understanding of a loving God with "survival of the fittest" or is it reconcilable at all? Another good question is "What is a miracle?"

For more food for thought check out these articles

"Theological Implications of an Evolving Creation" by Keith Miller (relatively short)

"Theologies of an Evolving Creation" by Robert J. Schneider (longer with more theological meat)

See you Sunday


P.S. I acknowledge that these links are biased towards theistic evolution. My intent here is not to shut down the debate between the two theories, nor to imply anything about the abstract reasoning power of people who might be sympathetic to Intelligent Design. (And, in any case, neither of these articles are anything like a Richard-Dawkins-esque scientific refutations of creation science.) If you have other articles of mention, or questions please comment.


What's in a name?

This past week several emerging/emergent bloggers have written about why they are dropping the label emerging. You can read Andrew Jones' post here, Dan Kimball's here, and another sort of summary blog here. I haven't seen any responses from anyone explicitly associated with Emergent Village.

The gist of these posts seems to go like this: Emerging/Emergent conversations started 5-10 years ago as a way to rediscover what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus in our current 21st century context, especially with an emphasis on reaching non-Christians with the gospel. However, over the past few years, the name and label "emerging" has taken on new forms, and has become much more of a marketing brand that is most clearly associated with Emergent Village and corresponding authors like Brian McLaren, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt. The movement has gained recognition and has experienced a good amount of criticism (which even we in this small cohort are familiar with). Now when a person is identified as emerging, or the term is even thrown out, it is necessary to defend theological positions, explain who you are with and who you disagree with, and exhaustively locate oneself on the evangelical spectrum. So, writers/authors/bloggers/speakers are saying, "Look, this isn't worth all the hassle. And I don't agree with Emergent Village on a lot of stuff anyway. So I am no longer emerging/emergent. I am 'missional' or a part of the 'church being reformed' or simply finding new ways to faithfully follow God in my context. But I/we/our church is NOT Emergent."

**Insert deep sigh here**

I have so many mixed reactions to these posts that I've been reading over the week. On the one hand, I empathize and can understand the need to make this move and identify (or un-identify?) oneself for the sake of the ministry you feel is important. On the other hand (and this is what I really feel), I thought we were done with all this label bullshit? I thought as a post-modern Christian I was post-denominational, meaning I don't care what you call yourself, if you celebrate the Eucharist or communion, if you were baptized as an infant or an adult, or if you hold the penal substitutionary view of atonement above all others. I thought emerging/emergent was all about recognizing and even celebrating our differences.

I get the sense from these writers that they have deep differences with guys like McLaren and Jones, and thus feel the need to separate theologically. That is really sad to me. I'm also a little concerned about what this means for Emergent Village and those associated. Does this relegate these others even further out on the orthodoxy spectrum, teetering somewhere between truth and heresy? (Again, I thought we were getting beyond such words....have none of these guys read Peter Rollins?)

Alright - as always, I could say/write a lot more about all this, but perhaps you have thoughts. I would especially like to hear from those outside of our cohort, if you happen to be reading this. What are your reactions? Is mine an overreaction? I mean, it is all just a name after all right? It won't really change what we do in our cohort or what I believe about Jesus.

Nevertheless, it is an example of why I am emergent - to get past all this "label" crap.


Good Neighbors Picnic

A coworker of mine is helping to organize the annual Good Neighbors Picnic in Columbus. It's basically a day of free food, entertainment and looove for those who are without homes (and no, Greg, that doesn't mean renting...). They need volunteers and I was hoping to generate some interest from you guys! I'll be there! What a cool opportunity to meet some of those in our community who need some extra love and support right now and to make a start to some great relationships! Let's do it!


The Questioning Disciple

This is a meditation that Greg Newton at Disciples' Fellowship in Birmingham, AL delivered on 8/17/08. Greg humbly suggests that not only is it okay for us Christians to ask questions, but perhaps it is our duty. The video is only about 20 minutes long, and I highly recommend it.

Stream videos at Ustream

A few quotes I really liked:
“In my sense, truth is not something we arrive at or something we possess. It’s something we seek. And our questioning never ends. We’ve done a lot of questioning, but we still need to do more questioning. Because whatever we arrive at … wherever we end up on something, it’s still open to more questioning because it’s not going to be perfect. Anyone [here] think they’ve arrived to perfection on something? Is there no room still for there to be some questions to be asked?” - Greg Newton

“Truth is too important to leave what we’re doing unquestioned and unexamined.” - Greg Newton

“We’re not questioning truth. We’re questioning what we’re doing. We’re questioning our perceptions. We’re not questioning God as much as we’re questioning perhaps our perceptions of God. We’re not actually questioning what God says. We’re questioning how it is we understand what God says.” - Greg Newton


Sept. 7th Discussion

I had mentioned Chris and Luke coming to discuss Evolution and Christianity with us possibly this Sunday, but it will work out much better for them to come on the 21st. So that means we don't have a topic for this Sunday. Who has an idea? Literally anyone can do this - if you can get to where we meet in Columbus, Ohio and you have an idea, you can do it. Those are the only qualifications. If you've never led a discussion or haven't led one in awhile, please think about volunteering. Just one thing: maybe we could take a break from discussing passages of Scripture. We've done that for the past two discussions and it would be nice to do something different.