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.


2 Questions

1) Meetup.com is a useful tool for connecting with people in the city. There are several meetup groups based upon "emergent Christianity" or "house churches." To officially start a meetup, you have to register which is like $15 a month or so. Do we think this could be helpful for connecting with more people in Columbus? Check out the site and lemme know what you think.

2) Are we going to continue meeting at 3pm on Sundays? Or move back to 7pm? Either time is fine for me. Votes?


Changing Faiths: The Paradox of Choice

We started this conversation on Sunday and I would be interested in continuing it here.

What is your reaction to this headline:

Americans Change Faiths at Rising Rate

Is this good for the church, especially considering what we may be emerging from, or is this a symptom of a flawed logic that more choices is better? This related and fascinating lecture is worth a listen:

Why aren't we happy?

I'm not sure that we'll ever have fewer church expressions to consider (someone should do a graph correlating the number church denominations and the number of available TV channels...)

To the grail knight in all of us (in honor of Indiana Jones 4): How do we choose wisely?


Wrap-up and Planning

I just wanted to thank everyone for coming to our concert today, it was great to see so many of you - for those of you that weren't able to attend, about 12 people attended a community choir performance of the Faure Requiem and then we went out to eat.

We didn't really get to talk about next week (at least not that I was aware of). I know that on Friday night some of us are planning on going to hear Greg play with Drums Downtown, and we might possibly got to a fish fry before - speaking of which, if you know of one put it in a comment. Do we still want to hold a discussion session of Sunday? I'm game, but I know we don't want to burden people.

Post your thoughts on that and let's try to figure this out in the next couple days so that we can plan before it is too late.


Which Theologian Are You?

Here's a thought-provoking quiz I found in the forums of the ikon website.  (I wonder how hard it would be to create our own message board someday.)  According to the quiz, my answers most aligned with Anselm.   Hmmm...  With whom does everyone else line up?

Peter Rollins Website

I saw from Tony Jones' site that Peter Rollins has a new website, and it's much better than his previous one. Check it out.

Also, he posts on the site that he is open to speaking invitations for the fall, starting in November. I know Greg mentioned that he had sent an email to this effect before, but I thought we should really try to have him join a cohort meeting if possible. Thoughts?


Everything Must Change Tour

So I registered for the Everything Must Change/Deep Shift event. It's being held May 9-10, in Goshen, Indiana, at Goshen College. In doing so I got a discount code to share with friends. So, I'm passing this little discount on to you, hoping that it will inspire you to register! Use the code "referral" when checking out, and you will pay $85 total for your registration.
The schedule of events looks awesome and I'm personally looking forward to the Saturday morning emerging cohort members breakfast with Grace and Brian McLaren and the digital art exhibit.
So register and get excited!


The Many Sides of Truth

Since a few people have opened the discussion of "truth" in it's many forms, I thought I might try to pose a question to the group and welcome everyone to post. (If you were my students, I would say I am "strongly encouraging" you :) I think a challenge when discussing the idea of "truth" is that there are really many levels, many facets, many dimensions and angles and most importantly experiences of truth. Each is valuable, and really true, but sometimes we tend to overemphasize the intellectual aspects.

So my question is, how have you experienced "truth" lately? A conversation? An image? A dream? A feeling? Something you read? Saw? Heard? Thought about? Perhaps if we share our personal encounters, it may help us to catch a glimpse of the many beautiful sides of truth.
Some of you probably saw this on emergentvillage.  In case you did not, here is a link to the newest Nooma video by Rob Bell.  I found it both powerful and relevant to our last meeting, as it pertains to the topic of prayer.  He says at one point, "prayer, if it's anything, is truth; it's being honest with your creator..."  Prayer is not a "rote ritual...", but rather "your whole posture towards life...the whole way that you see everything going on around you...it's when you never stop asking the question, 'what is God up to right here, right now, and how can I be a part of it.'"  The free viewing of the video expires on Wednesday.


Sharing Meals

I was reading a Henri Nouwen daily devotional book this morning, and he had several entries about the significance of sharing meals together. I have been reflecting on our shared meals, whether they be sitting together at a restaurant, extravagant dinners where everyone brings a dish, or just cups of coffee and chai, and personally find great significance in them. Nouwen's words are much better than mine though, so I'll post them in the comments.

Global Gallery Discussion Wrap-up

I figured since I was taking some notes on Sunday, I could post the "wrap-up" from the discussion. By the way, I loved Global Gallery, and the more I look on the website, I think this is a great location and awesome local endeavor that we should continue to support / promote when we can.

To keep the post short, I'll list some of the topics here, and then some more details in the comments section.

Topics of Discussion
  • Lent: Everyone shared their respective history and experience with Lent, which turned out to be quite varied
  • What does Lent mean to you? There was good discussion about favorite verses, experiences and some lessons on Church history.
  • The role of ritual in the Christian life: This was the topic that seemed to raise the most questions and discussion. I'll post more in the comments.
  • Next two weeks meetings: We agreed to join Nick and Jane for their super fun community choir concert next week (info here), and then to try to attend a Catholic fish fry on Friday the 29th, before heading to "Drums Downtown" to see Greg perform. More online info here, and I'm sure we'll post details in the coming weeks.


The New Christians

Kristen mentioned Tony Jones' new book over dinner last week, and then I saw that the first chapter is available for download if anyone is interested. You can find it here

How do we know what God does?

Ok I think this is the biggest question for me that stems all sorts of other questions that double back on themselves.

Lately I've been trying to define in my brain what I actually believe. If you take the Rob Bell example of the brick wall and the springs I feel like over the past years my wall has slowly crumbled to the point where I don't trust it to hold anything. It's like I am keeping the rubble around and still doing Christian things in part because I don't know what else to believe, in part because it's the way I've always done things and I'm scared of change especially change in relationship with friends and family, and partly because I believe there is some truth in there and I'm afraid that if I test it and put some weight on the wall the whole thing will fall and I'll be left with nothing. I want to start rebuilding with springs, but don't really know how or feel like I have the time and excitement necessary. I think this is a process that most of us are at some stage of and have been really grateful for the Cohort and that everyone is really open to discussing thing that really aren't open for discussion in an established Church.

I was thinking about the legitimacy of the Bible in the shower this morning and thinking about how it all goes back to the question of What does God actually do? Did He inspire the writers of the Bible to write the perfect words and for books chosen to be canonized to be the specific books He wanted and for the translators to translate it the way He wanted and then for us when we read it to understand what He meant? It is possible that He had his hand in the processes every step of the way. Or also part of the way He could have only inspired them as much as He inspires other writers today or They could have just written what they saw and heard and it could have been just a natural thing. I also have this question of prayer too. When I pray what does God actually do?

Ok I'm having a difficult time trying to put to words what I think/feel, but I guess them main question I want to ask is:
When something unexplainable happens to you, how do you decide if it was God, you understand it but know it's not God or you just don't know either way?

I feel like lately everything unexplainable has been going into the I just don't know either way category which feels very empty. I don't like being uncertain about everything, but don't know how to have certainty because the more I look into something more uncertain I am about it.

Just Clarifying...

To make a correction on Eve's posting, we will be meeting at the Global Gallery Cafe location in German Village. They have reserved a table space for our group, so if you are the first one there, go ahead, be bold!, and claim it!

The address is:
German Village
190 East Whittier St.
Columbus, Ohio
Phone: 614/444-5945

If you have questions, need help with directions, need a ride, etc: please email, and I'd be more than happy to help you out!

See you tomorrow at 3pm!


Speaking of Faith

Just wanted to add a link to the intelligent, relevent and insightful radio program I mentioned on Sunday, Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett. I can't recommend it enough, so I won't say more. Discover on your own: you can get episodes directly from the website or through iTunes.

Speaking of Faith


Feb 17th Discussion Global Gallery 3:00pm

Eve was having trouble posting so I'm posting this for her:

So as per the title this Sunday Global Gallery at 3:00 hope that works for everyone.

Let's talk about LENT!

Here's some questions to get it started that we'll talk about more at the meeting.
Why are we interested in knowing about lent?
How did lent get started? What has it meant to other Christians in the past?
What do you feel is the general attitude toward lent in different strains of Christianity?
What has lent meant to you personally in your spiritual life now and in the past?
Are you fasting anything for lent? Why? Has it been beneficial?


Wilderness Encounter

Here is a link to the reading by Kate Huey from yesterday, the first Sunday of Lent and our monthly Celebration of the Faithful. This is published by the United Church of Christ from the link below:

Wilderness Encounter

I know we didn't really get a chance to discuss much of it yesterday and that a first reading (or listening) can be difficult to ingest much less digest. Maybe thoughts could be posted here. I appreciated several moments of her Reflection that I I'll highlight here seemed especially relevent for navigating 21st century Christ following:

They (Christians) no longer distinguished themselves by their bold love for one another. (Bible Swords for fighting)

That hollowness we sometimes feel is not a sign of something gone wrong. It is the holy of holies inside of us, the uncluttered room of the Lord our God. Nothing on earth can fill it, but that does not stop us from trying. (Then fall into pointing out in others why their method of filling is sin while ours is not)

If you really are a Christian, shouldn't you be happier, healthier, richer, safer? (Americanized Capitilist Christianity, donate now!)

Perhaps that is the best way for us to approach Lent: as "a reflective examining of the inner places of the soul." (Done maybe through music, dance, art and nature)

Like I said, I'm learning a lot about the Lenten season and would love to hear more about what and why you're sacrificing, fasting or reading. I love her closing idea of not making our ministry narrow, or rather, not falling into the temptation of limiting Christ's work in our lives, in our cohort or in our community.


Joys and Sorrows

While praying during today's celebration of the faithful, I found myself caught between generic feelings and specific requests. I've been uncertain how to reconcile the two specifically in relation to this group as we move past the initial formation stage into something where we actually get to know each other deeper, both our joys and our sorrows.

After last weeks conversation with Jesse and others, I was impressed by the idea of praying for God's will to be manifested in our lives not in terms of vending machine requests like "give me this grade, Lord" or "let me meet my wife, God" or "heal my brother, Jesus." Not that we shouldn't pray for those things, but I believe God's answer can be in terms of attitudes and conditions (studious in everyting, love towards others, peace in hardship) in addition to tangible results (A+, Loving Wife, a Healthy Body).

I guess I just want to know how I can pray for you all: specific requests for all the ways that we don't really know each other, and also broader recognition of the way God's will be done here on earth. Maybe we can add a post like this every so often and people can add requests as comments. Whenever we're on our own or with others and ready to pray, we can bring up the latest prayer post... in this I share the hope to know and love you all the more.

What is "Emergent?"

I wasn't a part of the conversation Friday night, but I heard a lot of it revolved around the question "What does it mean to be 'emergent'?" I recently ran across the core values of the Emergent Village, as posted on their website, and for me they were really helpful. One of the problems is that "emergent" can encompass "postmodernism" "new Christianity" and many other things. But as far as the name Emergent goes, I think these core values are very descriptive and helpful. They may also provide interesting discussion for our cohort in the future.



When webcasts fail...

Last night a few of us gathered to watch Brian McLaren's live webcast but we couldn't get the technology to work (nor, it seems, could a friendly fellow in Miami who called to ask if Kristen could get it to work). We did, however, end up having a great conversation with two of Kristen's and Noel's friends. Both of these guys were great, and it was a thrill for me to see two people so fired up about God. The conversation larger revolved around what does it mean to be emergent, which, indivudally at least, we all were pretty much incapable of answering. Luckily there were five of us there and we were really able to bounce ideas off of each other. A.J. and Kevin (the friends) also had some very good points and have really given me a lot to think about.

Overall, I can say I learned two important things last night. First of all, when you get a group of people together that are generally interested in following God and getting to know each other better, it really doesn't matter when technology lets you down - and it might actually be better. Secondly, even though some of us in the discussion had different beliefs about certain theological issues, we have all experienced the love of God and we were able to have a loving, civil conversation on all ends.


Celebration of the Faithful

It is time to plan our next celebration which will be this upcoming Sunday, the 10th of Feb. Jane has volunteered to organize a liturgy for us. We had originally said that we would meet at 1:00, but we have a rehearsal, so we are going to meet at 3:00 which should allow most everyone to come. We will have a meal and likely some singing and scripture reading. Jane and I are hosting at 1270 Courtland Ave. and anyone is welcome.

So, we need to plan some food. Please comment and post what you would like to bring.