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.


Sunday Discussion... On The Island Of La Grande Jatte

This Sunday, we will be meeting at the Topiary Garden in downtown Columbus at 3:00.

Here is a link to a map. Let's meet at the entrance at the Northwest corner close to the parking for the Main Library.

The loose topic of discussion is Faith and Politics. Now I realize that entire foundations have been created based on that topic and we won't be able to do it justice in a mere two hours.

Perhaps a better approach may be this: Below are links to several recent and relavent political and faith resources, some of which have been forwarded around, others of which may be new or just interesting. Perhaps three or four of us could assume ownership of one of the resources or something similar and present a short summary to the group. I think this would be part informative and part discussion generating.

These are just a couple of things I've been looking through, there are obviously countless more. If you have something to share, post a link so if we have time to expose ourselves to it before the meeting we can. If you know you want to present something, share so we know what to look at. Thoughts?

I don't feel trained in the tools for how do intelligintly deal with so many of the complex issues of the ongoing debate (literally: 9:54 Wed. eve). I for one would love hearing not only what information you discover and want to share with the group, but how you process that as a Christian.

Where does Biblical truth fit into $700 Billion bailout packages?
How does God involve his will with who is president?
Is America supposed to be a "city on a hill?"
Would rather be governed by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian? (Martin Luthor would)
What are local issues you know of that we should be aware of?

If you need another reason to come, the Topiary Garden itself is quite the wonder of the world: It is the only topiary interpretation of a painting in existence. It is based on Georges Seurat's Famous post impressionist painting, A Sunday On The Island Of La Grande Jatte.

Now that's maverick.


Noel said...

Here is the website I referenced during our discussion yesterday. Its www.stopconsuming.org
Jesse, Greg, kristen and I attended on of their events in the spring and I was really surprised by some of their statistics.

Jesse said...

Another interesting stat here from Andrew Jones


Anonymous said...

Mary and I (Scot) are still digesting our experience @ the park this past Sunday. Suffice it to say that we did feel kinda out of place because of our political views. But I think that is at least part of what the discussion was aimed at wasn't it? Is there a political litmus test for being a Christian? That is something I've been wrestling with for a long time. Can people who love Jesus love one another when they don't agree politically? Is it possible to be politically passionate and not let it polarize you from those who oppose your own position? Is part of dying to self resisting the urge to decimate an opponent's argument for the sake of unity? Or would that be selling out on your passion? I don't know. I do know this culture we find ourselves in where our faith and politics overlap offers us a fascinating conundrum.

Anonymous said...

Really good questions. I've been thinking a lot along those lines, as well. Asking myself those questions on a personal level. I never really noticed before just how divisive we can be over political matters. Sometimes it seems like some of us are very inclusive and understanding of different religious or theological ideas. But when it comes to politics, we draw the line. At least, that's what I'm finding out about myself. Why am I more passionate about expressing my approval for the ideas of a candidate than about expressing my approval and belief for the ideas of Jesus? I've just about decided that I shouldn't be SO expressive about what I think is right or wrong in politics. It just seems I can't do it without being divisive. I've made known my political views very passionately on my facebook account and blog, and I've strained friendships because of it. It's not worth it, is it?

Thanks for the questions. They are really good questions for me to challenge myself with. And I think it's good that we keep talking about it.

Also, I think I speak for many people in our group when I say this: I LOVE having a variety of people in our discussions. I LOVE being challenged by different viewpoints. I think only good comes out of having diversity. Creating an environment of people where everyone agrees on every subject is not a good thing. It creates a "fake" atmosphere of us vs. the rest of the world. Believe me, while many of us may think similarly on political views, we all have very different viewpoints on lots of issues. PLEASE COME BACK. You're input is valued and needed in my opinion.

Nick Johnson said...

Scot - thanks so much for posting, and I echo Adam's comment that we greatly value your input. As a side note, our group right now seems to be made up of mostly white, college educated, 20-35 year olds who tend to agree on political issues (I do not speak for everybody, but this is at least the majority of people who come often). This is not something we particularly like and I think all of us wish we had a lot more diversity in terms of age, race, political affliation, class, etc., because we recognize that we are all God's children and we all have expereinces and opinions that are valuable.

I also am struck by how many emergent types and often christians in general are so quick to be inclusive about religion but not about politics. I believe that, as with religion, there is a lot of gray areas in politics. No candidate or party is ever going to be all good or all bad because no candidate is Christ (or Satan, for that matter). George Bush might have done a lot of bad, although to be honest I think he has done a good job on a lot of issues, but we shouldn't love him nor his supporters less for it.

Let me just say this - imagine how bad it would be if we only had one party instead of two. That could get real ugly real quick because it would still be a human-run party. In other words, we need each other in politics as in faith.

Finally, I really like your question Scot, "is it possible to be politically passionate and not let it polarize...," although I will need to think about an answer. I would maybe ask, is it possible to be so passionate about love for each other that not even politics gets in the way?

Jesse said...

Well, I'm very sad I missed the discussion on Sunday. Scot - thanks so much for your comments here on the blog, and I just want to say that I also wrestle with these questions, now leading up to the election more than ever. I work in a very politically conservative environment, and the understanding is that Christians only vote Republican. I told a co-worker (and close friend) that I was a fan of Obama, and she responded (only half-jokingly, I suspect) "Are you a Christian?!"

The challenge is separating disagreements about policies, government and political parties from our opinions about each other as people, and most importantly, children of God. I fully agree with Nick, that a two-party system (or perhaps someday more?) is far better than a dictatorship, but how do we disagree lovingly? Perhaps it starts with remembering that our worth is not contingent upon our beliefs (political, theological or otherwise). This is one thing the emergent conversation has emphasized to me again and again - being like Jesus means loving those who are radically different than me, in every way.

My current struggle is how to respond to those who are negative during campaigns. There is a lot email crap that gets sent around the church email lists, and a lot of it is offensive at worst, or simply incorrect (example: Obama is a Muslim and wants to create "one nation under Allah," or "black are voting for Obama just because he is black and they don't know any better.") How do I respond to these types of emails in a Christ-like way? I asked Don Miller about that a few weeks ago when we heard him share up at Ohio-Wesleyan, and his advice was to talk with the person one-on-one, which I've tried this week (by responding to the general email, no reply-to-all, but just to the person). So far, no responses back. We'll see how the week goes, and perhaps I should just keep my responses to myself? Not sure...

Scot - I hope to meet you and Mary sometime soon!

Jesse said...

Sorry, one more good article about being Christ-like during election times:


NancyJ said...

“I would maybe ask, is it possible to be so passionate about love for each other that not even politics gets in the way?” I loved Nick’s question and offer a wonderful story illustration that I read recently by Marion Woodward that for me speaks to the possibility of living life in a way that would manifest that kind of love.

The author told of a time when she was the crew for one of her friends as they both set sail one afternoon…

“He takes easy command of the boat and as I watch him poised and excited, straining every muscle to keep the craft upright…I see the strong body and the keen mind fused in perfect harmony, at once concentrated and relaxed, sensitive to the fierce energies through which we sail. His right hand firmly controls the lines, his fingers sensitive to the shifts in the energy of the wind…We know that we are dependent on the wind and waves to move us, but we are equally dependent on his sailing expertise. He knows his own strength; he trusts his own body; he is able to surrender his strength to a strength infinitely beyond his personal strength. The eternal has blown through him because he has tuned himself so exactly to receive it.”

For so long my own spirituality has been a pendulum swinging back and forth quite severely between hope and optimism and then to the other side of self pity and despair as circumstances beyond my control create dramatic shifts causing my trust in God to become sporadic and inconsistent.

When I read the story illustration, it made me think that is exactly how I want to live my life …allowing the eternal to blow through me as I tune myself exactly to receive it.

How much better to allow God’s unique way with me until I become like an experienced sailor--the combination of my strength and what I have learned through experience with intuition (yielding to God’s spirit.)

In this combination, I believe I will be able to discern when to stay silent or speak in confidence my views to my family, friends and colleagues on any subject as I listen with intelligence, curiosity and empathy to theirs.