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.


"We're Not In Kansas Anymore"

Over the weekend, I realized how deeply I miss feeling like I know what I’m doing with God; I miss having beliefs that I feel strongly about; and I miss having a story that I know how it ends.

Let me tell you that when I naively decided that I wanted more of God, I did not know how hard this would be. I didn’t know that wanting more of God would cause me to question so many of my beliefs and that I would essentially end up kind of like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz—a little lost, afraid and wanting to go back home.

There are so many critics of the Emergent Movement. Right now I can't really blame them—even I think this journey seems pretty irresponsible and too dangerous. What if I never find my way back? What if I never end up on solid ground again with real beliefs? What if I never have a way to live my life again that makes sense in the context of faith and the Kingdom of God and loving Jesus?

But Dorothy meets guides along the way, right? The personifications of wisdom, courage and heart. And after her ordeal of facing her worst fears, she does get back home. It is the same home, but better because she has changed. She is home and it is exactly where she wants to be.

Is that what I hope for--that I can somehow get back home? To be honest, because of this journey, nothing will ever be the same again.

And yet as I end this post, I realize I am exactly where I want to be.



Chris said...


your post is very touching and poignant.

I am not a member of your cohort but have contributed from time to time here. I have some experience with the EM, from reading and also interacting with some who are deeply involved.

I am not in agreement with much of the EM, but I do believe it asks some very good and valid questions. Some of those questions have also created in me a sense of dissatisfaction in the status quo of both conservative evangelical, as well as liberal mainline churches. I have recently left my liberal mainline church and have begun looking for a new church. I think this may be where our conclusions are different and where we may disagree.

Although I think things such as your cohort are good stop-off places to regroup, think, question, ponder, and work through issues, I don't think being a Christian (of which I do still call myself) was ever meant to be a solitary enterprise. I don't really think that I will ever be completely satisfied with any church as an institution, but I'm willing to surrender and submit my particular desires and preferences to something bigger. I'm not saying you should necessarily do so, but if I have any kind of semblance of a concept of what it means to follow Christ, I know it has to be done as part of a body, an organism, not a community. That may sound like semantics or hair-splitting, but to me it's an important distinction to draw.

I too want more of God. I have a passion for Him. Fortunately I have met enough Christians, in and out of church settings, that I would term "quality individuals" that make me want to be part of the thing that they "know". Not being a part of that body is definitely not where I want to be. I think the cynic might just say: He just needs his security blanket." But it's really not that at all. To be a part of the body, surrendering to Christ who is the head means that I am being well-used by the one I want to most please. That I am being best-used by God. Yes, I can do some things on my own that are worthwhile, but I have no one to keep me honest. I do need to be told from time to time to stop being so self-absorbed and to take a break from all the introspection and mental masturbation (sorry for the crass term), which I think emergents (and I) can sometimes have a tendency towards.

Adam Newby said...

I think this cohort is as much a body (rather a part of the Body) as any other church. This is my church. Nancy, Nick, Jane, Zack, Eve, Jesse, Kellye, Chris, Julia, Greg, Andrew, Noel, and many others are the body I choose to serve with. This isn't a pit stop. This is my church. That's how I see it, anyway.

Kristen Kuzmick said...

Thank you Nancy. Your post speaks so deeply to my heart and to where I am spiritually. I am so grateful that our cohort is able to share these intimate feelings. Despite the fact that I am so far away physically from Columbus now, I nevertheless feel like our hearts are aligned.

Our faith family is alive and strong and deep and intentional and I am proud to be on this journey with you.

Wisdom, Courage, and Heart - I pray for these things for you and for all those on their journey - that you may feel comforted and reassured that you are strong enough to endure, and even embrace, Oz. And you are not alone.

Greg said...

(Kara, Keturah, Scot, Mary, Meredith, Molly, Jim, Beau, Chad, Jon, Kristen, Kate, Glenn, Emily, Doug, and Peter could be added to those Adam already mentioned. And there are others to be sure...)

I think this conversation of whether we're a church or not gets tricky because Emergent thought inherently sees the acts of line-drawing and boundary-defining (acts with which churches can be quite too comfortable as we are all aware) to be rather futile and counterproductive. As Jesse has written in an earlier post, you're as much a member of the cohort as you participate. So, welcome, Chris! :) And I hope you're ready for much much more than mere mental masturbation. We pick up trash, we tutor kids, we pray for one another, we tell secrets, we share our peach cobbler, we jump on trampolines, we go rock-climbing, we take communion, we borrow each other's vehicles, we sit around campfires, and we support each others endeavors whether that's attending someone's recital, or someone's autism awareness fundraising event, or someone's graduation party, or someone's exhibit, or someone's class lecture, or someone's marriage.

I embrace your encouraging and heartfelt words Nancy. Thanks for them.

Zack said...

Kristen thanks for your encouraging note it feels great to know we're not alone in this.

Nancy I also feel sometimes crippled with uncertainty and doubt, but I don't think we need to be. We're not meant to understand the full picture and mysteries of Christ for everyone everywhere, but that doesn't mean I can't have some assurance of what Christ means to me right now and act on that in humility.

Also remember that Dorthy was as much a guide to the Tin Man, Straw Man and Lion as they were to her. We're all in OZ together here, and I for one would rather stumble around with the rest of you lost ones learning from you then to settle for a bullet list print-out of the easy answers and being told I'm home when I somehow feel we're all still in OZ.

Chris said...

Heartfelt apologies to all the members of this cohort.

Part of the problem of forums such as this is clearly conveying or expressing deeply personal thoughts.

I did mention that I have problems with the EM which is true, but I did not intend to diminish the sense of "church" that you have, however you define it, nor did I mean to disparage individuals efforts or sense of commitment to God, Christ, or humanity. I probably overstepped my bounds not really knowing you all and probably made some unfair assumptions.

Nancy's words resonated for me to some degree, but in my clumsy attempt to be clear and make distinctions I think I carelessly mishandled or mistreated what it was she was actually saying and the way in which she poured herself out to all of you.

Again, my apologies to all and I will pray for you as well.

Adam Newby said...

No need to apologize, Chris. I think your words are good and challenging. I didn't take it as an offense. I was just giving my different perspective. Thanks for your willingness to discuss and share your thoughts in a loving and kind way. I wish more people would be so willing (especially those who have some disagreements with the EM.)

Scot said...

Thanks for the Oz analogy Nancy:)!

My take:

the W. of O. theme for me is dominated by the "journey/yellow brick road" - how appropriate for us.

the journey is the story.

A few days before your post I was reading Romans 9 in The Message. Paul closes that chapter by quoting Isiah:
"Careful! I've put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion, a stone you can't get around. But the stone is me! If you're looking for me, you'll find me on the way, not in the way."

That idea of "ON THE WAY" really jumped out at me.

Seems like the challenge some of us face is transitioning from the paradigm of "there's no place like home" where I am secure because everything is static and sure. To "follow the yellow brick road" where life is fluid and unpredictable.

I really don't want to go back to Kansas and I can't make out from here what the "Emerald City" really looks like. But I'm meeting "characters", fellow travelers as I follow this road whom at first blush seem to be so different...yet they are going my way, heading for the E.C. We seem to take solace in the security of moving forward as a group. Not facing lions and tigers and bears alone is a good thing.
Some how we all believe our individual needs will be met when we get to where we are going. That may be part of our problem, as it distracts us from the NOW (the "on the way"). Don't get me wrong, for me a destination is very much a part of this faith walk. But the road is where the action is. That's where the personal transformation is becoming a reality. And... "come to think of it, forty winks don't sound half bad."

NancyJ said...

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments and support. It is definitely good to know I am not alone.

I really loved Zack's statement...
"We're all in OZ together here, and I for one would rather stumble around with the rest of you lost ones learning from you."

That is definitely true for me as well--no question.

And I agree with Scott--I can miss what is happening on the way if I am too focused on the past or the destination.

Again, thank you.