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 Wrap-Up

We had a great time sharing lunch together at Nancy's house - thanks so much for hosting! We tossed around different ideas for the future of the cohort, and I thought I would just jot down a few of them here (anyone can feel free to edit this post of remind me of things in the comments section). I think the three things that were settled were:
  1. Fewer discussion sessions, perhaps only one a month.
  2. Having an assigned "coordinator" for each month, or perhaps a few months at a time. This person would simply be in charge of making sure the blog info was updated and something was generally "planned" for the week and info was getting out to everyone.
  3. Having a "planning" meeting that would take place once every three months or so. This meeting would be an informal and open time to discuss and suggest new ideas for the upcoming months. New ideas for different activities/meetings could be any of the following:
  • Visiting a church together on a Sunday, and then sharing lunch afterward to discuss/process the experience (this is something we did together a few times in the past, but is hard to do if a discussion session is planned at 3pm)
  • Doing joint service projects together. These could be random, or connected to programs people are already involved in (for example, picking up trash in Weinland park area, serving a meal at Bellows Ave. church, or something totally new).
  • Increased inter-faith dialog, which would involved inviting people of other faiths, other groups from Columbus to be a part of our discussion. For example, inviting a Buddhist to explain and teach meditation practices.
  • Inviting other "emergent" speakers to share with our cohort (similar to the Rollins event).
  • Encouraging new people to ask questions or suggest topics that could then be discussed. This would not be "leading" a discussion session, but would give them the opportunity to suggest a topic/author/book/idea, etc.
Some of the tensions involve 1) Wanting to accepting, affirming and welcoming of everyone, but also continuing to develop a close bond with each other in the group; 2) Encouraging diversity and differing opinions while recognizing people will naturally stick with people they agree with; 3) Providing a service to Columbus, inviting new people, but we don't feel like the goal of the group is to grow bigger necessarily; 4) being open to other faiths and ideas, but not being ashamed of loving and following Jesus.

As always, the cohort is in the process of becoming and it is a joint experience. We are so thankful to everyone who has been a part of the cohort in the past, and we welcome everyone's continued involvement and input, especially to those new voices who have just entered the conversation in the past months. More than anything, we desire for everyone to feel accepted and welcome, and to grow in the way that they most need to, whatever that might be.

I did record the discussion for those who couldnt' make it but wanted to be there. If you want an .mp3 file, just email me at schroeder.jesse@gmail.com


Sunday Meeting

Last Sunday Adam had volunteered to lead a discussion at Global Gallery for our next meeting, March 29. As it turns out, Adam let me know his week was extra busy and another alternative might be better.

I suggested to Adam that the group could meet at my home in German Village on Sunday for lunch around noon. In light of the recent blog, we could discuss ideas and suggestions and thoughts about the future of the Central Ohio Emergent Cohort and how to go forward.

How about if everyone packs a lunch and I'll provide some drinks. If it's a nice day, we could walk down to Schiller as well.

I live at 750 South Lazelle Street. Directions: As you are traveling on Third Street toward Schiller Park, turn left on Frankfort and then right on Lazelle. (Two cars can fit in our driveway if the first car pulls up as much as possible.)

Please feel free to make other meeting suggestions if the idea and time do not seem like a good fit for Sunday. Additionally, if you would like to skip the meeting this Sunday since some are going up to Canton on Monday, that's fine too.


A Time to Quit

So how would everyone feel about quitting the cohort?  Scandalous, right?  Or maybe just history repeating itself.
I feel like I'm in a private club.  Does anyone else have that sense?  And I don't mind the members in the club. They're quite nice.
What do we want to do?  What to do we want to be?  When Nick and Jane re-began the group (which is what I'm suggesting is in order again), the five of us settled on being a place to talk about emergent and doing topical discussions on a bi-weekly basis.  A few months later, Zach prompted discussions that led to our current schedule of discussion/celebration of the faithful/discussion/super-fun.  Now, many new voices are part of the conversation, so please speak up: what works and what doesn't?  Should we abandon the celebrations?  Should we only do celebrations?  How can we reimagine this thing?
Peter Rollins commented this morning that "no matter how much people within or outside the church accept doubt, complexity and ambiguity they do not want it to be reflected in the worship songs, the liturgies and the preaching. The structure itself is protected from doubt."  
How can we let doubt be a part of our structure?   


What's Next?

This Sunday we'll be talking about Phyliss Tickle's book The Great Emergence again. The basic message of the book (in fact, it's the subtitle) is that Christianity is changing for a variety of different reasons. Here a few links that have shown up in the past weeks that offer different perspectives on the changes within Christianity:
  • TIME names "The New Calvinism" as #3 of the top ten ideas that are changing the world right now. The article quotes Al Mohler as saying about young people, "They have plenty of friends: what they need is a God...The moment someone begins to define God's [being or actions] biblically, that person is drawn to conclusions that are traditionally classified as Calvinist." (See also this post by Mark Driscoll himself that includes 4 reasons why neo-Calvinism is so attractive) Interestingly enough, the article begins by offering the Calvinist slant of popular Christian music as evidence for the shift; a statement akin to one Tickle made at the conference in Cincinnati a few weeks ago.
  • The prediction that Evangelicalism is coming to an end. First a series of posts found here, then picked up by several other blogsites. One of the most notable statements is that, "This collapse, will...herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian west and will change the way tens of millions of people see the entire realm of religion. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become particularly hostile towards evangelical Christianity, increasingly seeing it as the opponent of the good of individuals and society." While this is simply an opinion piece, the statement that "HALF of evangelicals [will] be something else within 2-3 generations/10-20 years" is similar to Tickle's statement that in the coming years, 50% of Christianity will operate within what she calls "The Emerging Center" or "The New Rose." (She also claims that "experts" agree).
  • A bit of a heated blog-a-logue regarding the nature of "virtual community," primarily started by Shane Hipps, author of Flickering Pixels. See an interview here between Shane and Rob Bell, a longer one here with Zach Lind (from JEW!), and finally, the one that started it all (watch this one if none of the others). Essentially, Shane claims that true community must have the following: 1) A kind of shared history: This helps establish a sense of identity & belonging; 2)Permanence: This is how you get the shared history; 3) Proximity: You have to BE with each other to create meaningful connection; 4) A shared imagination of the future: This is especially important within Christian community. More interesting than Shane's claims were the responses by different bloggers, most notably AWC here, and Scot McKnight here and here, with a final response from Shane.
So, my point in sharing all these links is several. First, to give us a bit of shared resources to discuss on Sunday. So in the following days, as you have time, peruse some of these links, and perhaps post some more in the comments. But more importantly, I want to pose the question to be discussed this Sunday, "Are things in Christianity and religion at large really changing, and if so, what do we think is next?" At the last discussion session we briefly discussed some ideas of what might be the coming "authority" in terms of religion and even society (BTW, Tickle claims that the authority from the time of the Reformation until about the mid-1900's was "Sola Scriptura" or "Scripture alone").

In short, what will Christianity look like in 5, 10, 20 years? What does that mean about how we should be living and believing now? Where are the changes taking place, and where will the "new" Christianity be, and what might it look like?


Discussion Sunday, March 22, 2009

We are planning to meet 3:00-5:00 at the Global Gallery as Adam and Jesse present Part II of the discussion about Phyllis Tickle's book, "The Great Emergence." I reiterate what Nick posted recently, “this book has been highly touted by other Emergent Village writers, and is seen as a synopsis of Emergence, not just in religion, but across all society.”

Perhaps near the end of the discussion we could consider sharing what initially brought each of us to the Emergent Cohort and how the Emergent Movement and the Cohort have affected and moved us forward in our spiritual lives so far.


On the American Dream

I was talking to my really good friend last night and I said “I partner my life with God—I don’t try to take the responsibility of having a great life on my own.” She was, to say the least, skeptical.

I grew up believing in the American dream—I worked hard, had a good job, had a family, had religion, a house, vacations, stuff and was told ‘this will make you happy.’

But then I turned 40 and realized:

What? Wait… that didn’t work. Why am I not happy and what do I have to look forward to?

The fascinating thing for me was that I expected to love my life because my religion said I would. The promises were great (Heaven) and the dots connected (how to get there). But I certainly wasn’t happy with my life and then it tanked. Good grief—really frustrating!

But I was determined to love life. So I set out to get close to God. I wanted to not only be happy, but I wanted to be peaceful about things. I started searching, questioning, fighting and believing.

…And surrendering.

The surprising thing was the more I let go, the happier I became. I started looking for ways to invest in others’ lives instead of my own.

Who knew?

I genuinely love my life even in these very uncertain times. I’m becoming fearless and actually starting to gain peace and contentment.

So is there hope especially now when many are watching everything they’ve worked hard for slip through their fingers?

My idea for The New American Dream:

Partner your life with God and let it all go. Your life will never be the same.


America becoming less Christain

Interesting article on the decline of Christianity in America. 75% of Americans consider themselves Christian today versus 86% in 1990. Personally, I'm a little surprised that the number is so high, but I work and study in academia which is often a very anti-religious place. On the bright side, one source in the article says the economic downturn will bring people back to church...



Plan for Sunday 3.8.09

We need to finalize plans for this Sunday. Currently, we are planning on meeting at 3:00 at the Global Gallery for a one-hour discussion. Then we will move to Tree of Life at 4:00 for a one-hour wiki training session to work on our website. Even if you know how to edit wikis I would love it if you came to this because we will also be discussing style criteria and general qualifications to post something on the blog. Currently, I have posted that we will concentrate on avoiding over-consumption, buying US or from factories around the world in which workers are treated fairly, shopping at responsible stores, and trying to have some of our money reenter the local economy. However, these are just what I came up with and they are very much up for discussion.

If everyone who wants to help with the wiki (and really, this will take almost everyone to work) can please bring at least one idea of something you want to post - a product or business, that would be great...think of it as emergent homework. If we post a bunch of things right away it would really get it off to a good start.

Directions to Tree of Life are posted in the comments

Update: Discussion Topic
We will be having a brief discussion about Phyllis Tickle's book, "The Great Emergence." This book has been highly touted by other Emergent Village writers, and is seen as a synopsis of Emergence, not just in religion, but across all society (see recent youtube discussions here). Tickle argues that there are 44 different catalysts that are changing society and the way religion is experienced, and the result within Christianity is a "new rose," a movement within the various quadrants of the faith, resulting in new expressions. Words like "theonomy" and "orthonomy" as well as "the hyphenateds" will be discussed.


Post-celebration Post

Just a few things I wanted to throw down after tonight's great Celebration of the Faithful. Thanks, Zack and Eve, so much for hosting and coordinating. It was a blessed and special time.

The last song (that we didn't sing) connects with prayer, and so I thought I would share it on here. The title is "Yes and Amen," and I was thinking about the song as we were closing in prayer, and thinking about how the word "amen" is not only a word we say at the end of prayers, but is also how we live our life of faith. We live our "amens" every day, living out God's kingdom in our life and the lives around us. We pray "your kingdom come, your will be done...amen" and then we step out into the world and make it happen. Our prayers are not just empty words, but are actions that are taken in faith and accompanied by the power of God.

So I found the song on IMEEM, and embedded it below, and you can listen to it and read the words, and hopefully they will encourage you. Have a great week everyone, and know that we are all praying for one another!

Hear Your people saying yes,
Hear Your people saying yes to You.
Yes to anything you ask,
Yes to anything we're called to do.

Hear your people say amen,
Hear Your people say amen to You.
Let Your kingdom come on earth,
Let it be just like we prayed to You.

Yes and amen to everything that´s in Your heart,
Yes and amen to everything that You have planned.
We live to see Your will be done,
And see Your perfect kingdom come on earth, on the earth.

Yes and amen, we're taking up our cross for You,
Give us the strength to take these dreams and follow through.
We live to see Your will be done,
And see Your perfect kingdom come on earth, on the earth.

All the promises are yes,
All the promises are yes in You.
Every good and perfect gift,
Every blessing that we have was You.