Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas and Consumerism this Thursday

Greetings all,
Next Thursday, December 6 the Nashville Cohort will talk about "Doing Christmas in a Consumer Culture" with Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, author of Brand Jesus.
I will say that Tyler's take on consumerism during this time of year is interesting and should be good fodder for conversation!

We will meet in the pool room at the Flying Saucer from 11:30-1:00 (and I've booked it this time!) as usual.
Call in your lunch orders to 259-3039 by 10:00am if you're able.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Community Called Atonement reivew

Hey everyone. You all may recall some months back the Cohort was asked to review some sample chapters of Scott McKnight's new book, A Community Called Atonement. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and have just finished a rather lengthy review of it. If you've read the book (or even if you haven't and want to dialogue about the issues it raises), you can check it out at my blog, The Truth As Best I Know It.

Grace and Peace,

Monday, October 29, 2007

david dark @ west nashville

want to get some more david dark? he will be speaking at west nashville united methodist church on november 10th.

Will Samson in town Next Week

Hey all,
Will Samson is in Nashville next Thursday, November 8, to talk about his book Justice in the Burb's at both our Cohort gathering and an evening conversation sponsered by several or our Cohort communties. The latter event is hosted by St. Bartholomew's and it's free. All are welcome to come to either or both.

See you there.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Faith & Immigration Links

Hey all,
Great conversation today. A huge thankyou to Emily and Steven for deflty giding our discussion! Your challenges and encouragements were a blessing to me indeed.

Below is a note from Emily including contact info for Strangers No Longer and the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition.


Hi Friends!

It was a real pleasure to meet you today and wrestle a little with this BIG issue! I just wanted to say hello and let you know a little bit about Strangers No Longer.

Strangers No Longer is an interfaith organization that seeks to promote reconciliation among all peoples, and to serve as a faithful witness for compassion and welcome to immigrants in our midst. We live out our call through education, and by encouraging people of faith to pursue deep theological reflection that will lead to action for justice on behalf of our immigrant neighbors.

Today we mentioned briefly a few opportunities for further education and reflection such as our "day-long immersion" experience. We also can help you and your community host a forum on immigration, suggest films or books for dialog groups, and much more.

If you would like more information about the educational programing that we provide, or how you can be more welcoming to the strangers in our midst, please contact us and we would be happy to help.

We will keep you posted on upcoming events for future education, action, and prayer about loving our immigrant neighbors.

Emily Snyder and Steven Miles, co-founders Strangers No Longer

website (coming soon):
Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition (

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Friends...


Just a note to let you know to expect some new friends tomorrow, here for emergingumc: a gathering, which happens beginning tomorrow night through Saturday noon at the General Board of Discipleship.

I look forward to meeting them and them meeting you!


Taylor Burton-Edwards

Monday, October 01, 2007

" Strangers No Longer" at the Nashville Cohort Thursday

Greeting all,
This Thursday the Nashville Cohort welcomes Emily Synder and Steven Miles from Strangers No Longer, an interfaith organization that seeks justice and advocates for immigrants "in our midsts".
Both are students at the Vanderbilt Divinity School and are eager to meet with us this Thursday.

Here's the little blurb about SNL (not Saturday Night Live):

Strangers No Longer is an interfaith organization that seeks to promote reconciliation between all peoples, and to serve as a faithful witness for compassion and welcome to immigrants in our midst. We live out our call through education, and by encouraging people of faith to pursue deep theological reflection that will lead to action for justice on behalf of our immigrant neighbors.

Here's a list of "faith and immigration" educational programs we provide:
presentations on faith and immigration,
day-long "immersion" experiences in Nashville in which people of faith can learn about immigrants in this community and the issues and challenges they face, as well as how to work together to make Nashville a more welcoming city to all,
Bible studies,
Sunday school lessons for all ages,
Forums and speakers bureau on immigration related issues,
and many more!

I met Emily and Steven at a presentation last month and the conversation should be great! Their website is here:

We will meet in the pool room at the Flying Saucer from 11:30-1:00 as usual.
Call in your lunch orders to 259-3039 by 10:00am if you're able.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Prayer Request

I wonder if I might ask you all to pray for my pastor.

Dr. Glenn Weekley, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, Tennessee is in critical condition this afternoon at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

Bro. Glenn has been undergoing treatment for cancer for the past couple of weeks. They were prepared to begin chemotherapy this week but he got pneumonia. Wednesday afternoon Doctors were beginning a procedure to drain fluid from his lungs. There was a complication with that procedure and Bro. Glenn went into cardiac arrest.

He is in critical condition in the ICU at Vanderbilt and doctors tell his church family that the next 72 hours are critical for him.

Please pray for Brother Glenn and his family as well as the church.

Links from the September Cohort

Hey all,
Great conversation today with David and Sarah (Masen) Dark.
Below are the links to David’s books and Sarah’s music. If the audio came out well I’ll add it next week. I hope it does, the interaction was great!

Sarah’s website:

David’s Books
Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons, and Other Pop Culture Icons

The Gospel According To America.

David and Sarah’s blog.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Cohort this Thursday and beyond

This Thursday, September 6 the Nashville Cohort welcomes author/speaker David Dark from 11:30-1:00 at the Flying Saucer in the pool room.

David is the author of Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons, and Other Pop Culture Icons and The Gospel According To America. He is a Nashville resident and will challenge us with some great food for thought at the Saucer this week.

Coming this fall...
Next month (October 4) we will play host to Emily Snyder and Steven Miles. Steven and Emily are students at the Vandy Div school and have started a movement to deal justly and Christianly with the immigration issues facing our community and our nation.

Finally, in at our November 8 gathering (or possibly December - we're still working it out) author Will Samson will be with us to speak about the topic of practicing justice from his new book Justice in the 'Burbs. I've read it and recommend all of us pick up a copy before meeting with Will on the 8th.

As always try and call in your lunch orders to 259-3039 by 10:00am on the day.

Peace to you all in Jesus,

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

This Summer's Best Books

At this month’s Cohort we each introduced ourselves by sharing what books (if any) had really blown our doors off this summer. Some folks wanted that list on the blog so here you go.


All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren
Red Cactus by Alan Pert
Colossians Remixed By Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat
Appreciative Inquiry for Congregational Change by Mark Lau Branson
Everything Must Change by Brian McClaren
St. Francis: A Revolutionary Life by ?
On Being Christian by Hans Kung
Legends of the Fall
Harry Potter 1 & 2 by. J.K. Rowling
Teaching to Transgress by Bell Hooks

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Justice in the Burbs Excerpt

Baker Books has put an excerpt of Will and Lisa Samson's Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live. The book is scheduled for release on August 7th, but you can get the introduction and chapter 1 pdf free. This looks like a very good book and hope that we get a chance to discuss in the next couple of months.

Michael Frost Audio

Many of the ideas from Michael Frost‘s book Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture, are talked about in sessions that he did in Peterborough, Ontario in 2006. Resonate makes this audio available as a podcast or download from ODEO. I have had problems with the podcast taking a long time to download, but the mp3s downloaded fine.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

No Cohort Meeting in July

Greetings All,
We are taking July off but will resuming our cohort gatherings on Thursday, August 2 at 11:30 at the Flying Saucer.

If you have ideas and about things you'd like to talk about this year email Dixon ( or comment below.

Peace in Jesus,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Last Month's Conversation

Last month's Cohort conversation is available for download (or your listening pleasure) here.

Next month we are on for June 7 with Matthew Paul Turner reading a selection from his forthcoming book Jesus Needs New P.R.. I've read some of the manuscript and it is really great.

Thanks to Matthew for sharing.

Peace and love,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flying Saucer Phone Number

Dixon. In the name of dog, change the phone number to 259-3039, which is the "real person" number.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Corporate prayer?

Note: this is a post copied from my personal blog: The Truth As Best I Know It. I'm posting it here because I'd like some input from you fine folks.

As we approached the first anniversary of The Gathering we decided to ask people to fill out a survey telling us what they found meaningful and what wasn't working. The results didn't really surprise us. In most areas we were doing fairly well. People felt like they really got to participate in the worship and that they weren't just spectators of some show.

The one area where we weren't doing so well, however, was in the prayer time during the service. We had sensed this for a while, and the surveys confirmed it. A year ago it seemed like we had a good strategy. I or another leader would open the prayer time and guide us through an expanding circle prayer: first we would pray for this congregation, then others who were suffering, our local community, the world, the church universal, and in communion with all the saints. As we expanded the circle we invited others to verbally lift up prayer requests, ending with, "Lord in your mercy", and the rest of us would respond, "hear our prayer."

What we discovered over time, however, was that this method didn't really work for a group of 50 people. I've personally experienced this as being very powerful in a small group of no more than 10 or so, but in a larger group it ended up being basically the same thing as what we do in the 10:45 traditional service at Crievewood.

At the later service the pastor or another leader highlights some of the concerns on the prayer list in the bulletin, calls for a few moments of silence (at most 30 seconds), and then prays out loud on behalf of the congregation. Theoretically the congregation is all praying together, but I've started to wonder if that's really true. Just because someone is standing at the front of a room making a speech directed to God with their eyes closed, does that mean that 200 people are all really praying together?

This was the same problem with our prayer time at The Gathering. In theory we were all praying together and others were invited to lift up prayers verbally, but in reality there were only a half dozen or so who felt comfortable speaking up. So instead of one person making a speech with their eyes closed and calling it communal prayer, we had 6 or 7 people making mini-speeches with their eyes closed and calling it communal prayer.

It begs the question of how we should handle prayer in corporate worship. It is really possible to get a group of people larger than a dozen to be praying about the same thing? Does the fact that we do this corporate prayer enable people's feelings of absolution from the responsibility to have their own prayer times outside the weekly meeting? Does the fact that we have specific prayer times in worship narrow our definition of what prayer is? Conversations about meaningful issues in our lives can be prayer. Times of studying and struggling with the scriptures can be prayer. The act of taking communion together should certainly be seen as a type of prayer. All these things are acts we participate in to heighten our awareness of God's continual presence with us, so why should we not call it all prayer?

Right now in The Gathering we're trying an individual prayer time. Prayer concerns in the expanding circle are put up on the screen, and each table has a stack of post-it notes to write prayers on and stick up on our "wailing wall". We're going to give this about six weeks or so and see if it's working or not.

What do you think? Are we doing ourselves a greater disservice by trying to have corporate prayer in worship? Can the only legitimate prayer be as individuals or small groups? Discuss...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Emerging and global warming...

For any who may be interested...

One of the things I've generally seen in emerging/Emergent is a commitment to environmental stewardship that generally is more hands on and feels a bit more urgent than I've usually found either in "pure mainline" or "general evangelical" circles.

If that's true for you, and you're interested in a simple action you might take regarding global warming (though granted, the hands here would be on your computer keyboard), you might consider cruising over to, take a look at what he's proposing to do (bring a LOT of signatures with him about the need for congress to take concrete action on global warming when he testifies on March 21), and see if that's something you'd want to do.

If it is, then get your hands back on your keyboard and tell a few others. If not-- at least you've taken a look and made a decision.

Peace in Christ,

Taylor Burton-Edwards

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Very COOL Lent

It's only one week until Lent. I don't normally send pre-Lent greetings, but I thought I'd let you know about something CoolPeopleCare is doing in regards to Lent this year.

My friend, Dixon Kinser, is encouraging his faith community, St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church (Nashville), to try a proactive Lent this year. So, instead of using the 40 days before Easter to NOT do something (drink Diet Coke, eat chocolate, steal), he's challenging folks to actually DO something positive each day.

As a model of what can be done, we'll be focusing the content of our 5 Minutes of Caring articles on this idea.

So, if folks at your church want to get together and try to actually care for 5 minutes each day as a Lenten discipline, we're here to help. We've got a special page set up that explains what's going on, and if people from your faith community want to join in, let me know and we'll add your name to the list of people participating.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thursday Night Dante ... an alternative theology pub


I'm trying an experiment. I've always been intrigued by the whole "Theology Pub" thing I see a number of "emerging" folks doing, and thought I'd give it a shot myself here in Nashville.

The setting: David-Kidd Bookstore Café at Green Hills.
The time: Thursday Evenings at 7:30
The text: Dante's Divine Comedy-- translation by Mark Musa (individual volumes available for as little as a penny on, plus shipping of course)
The format: We read one canto per week together, and talk about what it says and what it might mean for our lives
The agenda: Read, eat, talk, challenge, grow. 90 minutes max. Then go home or wherever the next place is for you.
The launch: February 22
The partners in crime: Rob Rexroat and anyone else who wants to try this
The intended audience: Folks who like Italian medieval and Renaissance stuff, people who don't like reading much, poetry geeks, and perhaps a few Christians. As of now, we have two Christians... help find the others!
The journey: We start in Hell for 33 weeks or so, then to Purgatory for another 33 weeks, then to Paradise for 34 more.
What to expect: Hell identifies sin that besets you. Purgatory is about growing in spiritual vision and grace. Paradise is about living from the deep well of God's abundant and transforming love. It's not about the places, the torments, the trials or the rewards. It's about the journey, and a God who's out to save us.

If you haven't read the Divine Comedy, but you always knew you should, here's a book club (if you want to call it that) where the amount of weekly reading is low, but the amount of learning and growth might be pretty high. Even if you come sporadically, or just once.

Let me know if you're interested. Or just show up next Thursday and/or succeeding Thursdays at Davis-Kidd.

Peace in Christ,

Taylor Burton-Edwards

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Good Discussion on Thursday

Hey all,

I thought we had a good discussion on Thursday, at our meeting. I was glad to hear some folks voice their thoughts on the topic. I want to encourage everyone to continue to do that. I noticed that some folks were more in a listening mode. While I appreciate that, it seemed that newer folks had a lot to say. I would (honestly) have loved to hear from the regulars more.

Would anyone like to share their thoughts or comments about evangelism, pluralism, or whatever here on the blog? Or link to their own blogs if you are talking about it there?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Festival of Homiletics coming to Nashville

I wanted to let everyone in the cohort know about the Festival of Homiletics that's coming to downtown Nashville May 21-25. For $235 (if you register by February 1) or $260 (if you wait till later) you can hear a lineup that includes Walter Brueggemann, Barbara Brown Taylor, Fred Craddock, Tom Long, Anna Carter Florence, Brian McLaren, Will Willimon, Gordon Lathrop, Jim Wallis, Jim Forbes, Cynthia Rigby, Will Campbell and others. The focus is on prophetic preaching.

Since you don’t have to fly anywhere, and you can sleep in your own bed at night, it’s the best bang for the buck for any con ed event you’ll consider this year!

Here’s the web site to check out the full lineup and to register:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sick of Emergent/C

I just unsubscribed to the Emergent/C newsletter. Why? Because practically every single one is a plea for money. In today's newsletter, the James Mills compares Emergent to Open Source computer software. Then he uses this comparison to ask for money, 2% of my income to be exact.

Open Source is a great idea. However, people work on it for free. That is the point. If Emergent is a "conversation," then we all have to contribute--but not to a guiding body. We should contribute through our presence, voice and prayers. We should also contribute by buying books or paying conference fees. But I don't see any reason for this conversation to be managed by employees.

My concern is that Emergent is becoming a denomination. And that is the last thing this member of the conversation wants to see. And it is one of the things that makes me suspect of this movement.

Do I believe in giving my money to the Church? You bet. The local church, parachurch ministries, ministry to the poor. But to a conversation? Count me out.

Responses? Other ideas? Where am I wrong? What am I missing? I would love to hear what you all have to say.