Thursday, October 26, 2006

How Do We Want to Handle: Guest Speakers?

This month Chris Seay will be sharing his thoughts with the cohort on recovering the biblical narrative. He will be the second “guest speaker” we’ve had this semester and I think having “an expert come in”, as we discussed after September’s gathering, does change the dynamic a little but it's not inherently bad.

So, how do we want to handle guest speakers? We all talked about Chris coming in at last month’s meeting and, because we agreed it was a good idea together, we invited him. Is this the best way to approach having “speakers” when we they want to come? Do we like that format enough to try and find people to “speak” to us, or is the occasional “expert” a better way to go?

Again, a penny for your thoughts.


How Do We Want to Handle: Ministries and Vendors?

Because I’m the contact person on the EV website for our cohort, I get emails from people who want to connect with our little community for both personal and commercial reasons. Emergent is, for better or for worse, becoming more and more well known inside publishing and marketing circles and there are those who want to connect their product with our demographic. While this is not an inherently bad thing (depending on your perspective), I’d like for us as a community to discuss how we’d like to handle this as it relates to us.

So far people who want to use the cohort as a platform for getting word out about their organization have been in one of two groups. First, there are ministries that want to share what they’re about because they have common values with us. I’ve been inviting them to come to a cohort meeting knowing that we have announcements at the end and they can share the if they’d like (Habitat for Humanity is one example). Second, there are folks who have a product they are trying to sell (it can even be ministry related i.e. webpage software for churches) and want to access the “emergent demographic”. These folks I have thanked but tried to explain that we are not a group where that type of relationship (vendor/customer) is what we’re cultivating. They can join us as people, but I discourage their participation as salespeople.

However, there are some areas (like the book thing did with Tim last month, or Jay’s Brian McClaren announcement) that don’t quite fit into either group. These are things that are of general benefit to our community life and things we should share. So, my questions to us is, how do we want to handle these things? Not in a policy way so much (i.e. where is the line?) as a relational one (what kind of life are we trying to have together?).

Thoughts, opinions, feelings?

It seems to me these choices should be made as a group so, what say you?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Brian McLaren in Nashville Area

The Godfather himself is coming to speak at a conference in Franklin in November. I received an e-mail today asking me to help spread the word throughout the Nashville area about Brian’s appearance, and this conference, which looks extremely interesting.

Missio Dei – “The Mission of God for the Next Generation” is a conference sponsored by an organization called Wiconi International. Wiconi is an organization focused on the intersection of Christianity and the Native American community, attempting to bridge the cultural gaps between westernized, colonial Christianity and native American culture.

The Missio Dei conference appears to be a regular gathering, and this year they are featuring Brian speaking at two different times, focusing especially on embracing God in the global church. The conference will be November 9 – 11 at the Christ Community Church in Franklin, and will feature worship from many cultures, including Middle Eastern, Pakistani, African, and Native American. Brian is schedule to speak at a luncheon for church leaders at The Factory in Franklin, and will be the keynote speaker at the Friday evening session of the conference (7:00 p.m.). The materials suggest that the Friday evening session is open to the public without registration, which the church leaders luncheon does require registration and costs some bucks.

I frankly don’t now much about Wiconi other than what I’ve picked up on the website, but this looks extremely interesting in thinking about issues of multiculturalism, so let me know if you are interested in attending.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Feed back from the McKnight Book

Here is what we sent to Scot McKnight in regard to his book manuscript we read together. The recording didn't work (my fault) so this was based on my notes. If anyone wants to make corrections, post away!

Nashville Cohort
Reflections and responses to Scot McKnight's forthcoming book A Community Called Atonement, 10/5/06.

We had lots of conversation and sifting through it all I think there are about 5 salient points.

1.) Is Atonement the best word to use in all this? We talked for a long while about the Biblical connections to atonement and how atonement of sins in Lev 16 is different than the forgiveness of sins on the cross. Jesus linking of the Cross and Passover further complicate the matter. So, question asked – what if a new word should be coined? Maybe you could borrow one from Doug;)

2.) The emotional highpoint seems to come in the middle. At some point McKnight tells an incredibly poignant story (it's from a woman's email; she is a nurse who washes the feet....) that is the emotive high point of the book but it comes just past the mid-point. We couldn't help thinking sermonically at that point - that the climax came but there were still pages and pages to read.... anyway, worth a thought

3.) Golf is Good. Loved the golf metaphor of needing “every club in the bag”. So helpful. AS was his whole emphasis on finding an atonement theology that “works”. We felt it was a good via media between the academy and the parish. He nails it there.

4.) Atonement Wars, Really? Tim (West) asked if we experienced the Atonement Wars referenced by McKnight at a “street level” in our contexts. Most of us agreed that we did not. We all experience the fights about other stuff in our protestant traditions (which are broad, Non-denom to Episcopal), but not that. However, we know the fights are going on (you don’t need to look too hard on the net to find the fray) and that’s where his offering of a missional implication for the theology really helped. If the fight is not your concern, the book still really matters.

5.) The Kingdom gets back burner-ed. Some felt that the book read as though McKnight thought the atonement made possible the coming of the Kingdom of God, in Jesus. So, basically, the Kingdom wasn’t really happening in Jesus life and ministry until the cross and the atonement happened. I know this isn’t what he believes, but the group thought this should be pointed out.

Compiled by Dixon Kinser

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cohort Gathers This Thursday October 5

Greetings all,

We have our next cohort gathering this Thursday, October 5 from 11:30-1:00 at the Flying Saucer in the pool room.

Our conversation will revolve around the idea/theology of the atonement in a postmodern context. We will be discussing Scot McKnight's new book that deals with this subject and record the conversation in order that he can make changes based on our feedback. You do not "have to have read" to come and be part of the conversation. We will have someone summarize McKnight's argument so we can all participate.

If you have any questions email me at and if this is your first Cohort, you have to fight...I mean your lunch is free. Sorry, too much Fight Club;)

See you there,