29 September 2006

Missional / Emerging / Emergent

Hi folks. I'm back, if only for a brief post. Sorry I've been away.

Here's what I wanted to mention: If, when you hear any or all of the terms "missional", "emerging", or "emergent" (in relation to the church), you react in some way (personal identification, curiosity, aversion, whatever) - and especially if your thinking goes like "well, I might be X, but I'm pretty sure I'm not Y, and I'm not sure I like Y very much, to be honest..." then please take a look at what Jamie is saying on this subject here and here.

That's all.


16 September 2006

In Loving Memory of William Addison Stavlund

Details on Sunday and Monday's services in honor and memory of Will and in love of his parents, Mike and Stacy, and his sister Ella, can be found on the Common Table web site.

Among those details is an invitation to offer a poem, a prayer, a piece of visual art or some other offering for the Stavlunds during this time.

May we all be encircled in the love and comfort of God.

13 September 2006


I've been having trouble writing about this. Schuyler has begun to aggregate what others have shared, so I'll direct you to their words. I'm also having a hard time praying. I keep on falling into prayer - especially prayer for Stacy, Mike, and Ella - but there are no words, and there's no peace in the silence. So, I fall back to faith - faith that the love of God, channelled through a community of people who care deeply and powerfully for them, will in some way comfort a grieving mom, dad, and twin sister. Will, in your short time with us, you taught us so many lessons of courage, strength, tenderness, and love. Mike, Stacy, and Ella, we love you.

O God, whose beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them: Give us grace to entrust Will to your never- failing care and love, and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: Deal graciously with Stacy, Mike, and Ella in their grief. Surround them with you love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

09 September 2006

The Archbishop of Canterbury and "the gay issue"

I'm not quite sure what to make of this:

Gays must change, says archbishop - from Telegraph.co.uk

Everyone - the reporter, and interviewed folks on both sides of the issue - seem to be assuming that the Archbishop's remarks represent a fairly radical reversal of his previous views on the more progressive side of these issues. More of Dr. Williams' comments can be found here (HT: Will). I felt like I was searching in vain for a quote that made that supposed reversal crystal clear. He was making several nuanced distinctions, and to be honest, I was frustrated: is this theological sophistication, or political double-speak? What's the difference?

I guess, in the end, I came away thinking that, the "higher up" you get in a large church institution, the more impossible it is to distinguish between spiritual discernment and political reality. I have a very high degree of respect for Rowan Williams, and I am definitely not accusing him of being a cynical political animal. In fact, his words that I've linked to here, like all I've read from Williams, are those of a powefully intelligent, deeply faithful, and fundamentally compassionate man. But despite that, his job is an intrinsically political one. As is the job of anybody in a position of leadership/authority in a church institution of sufficient size. I think that's just reality.

And I find myself wondering: is it worth it? Are our Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Pastors, etc. happy? Better question: are they able to joyfully discern the calling and sending of the Spirit, and serve God and God's people, in the face of the unavoidably political nature of their jobs? Are these institutional structures worthwhile? Do they bless the world and the church more than they sap our energy, our passion, and our strength?

C'mon, folks. I need help here. Somebody please reassure me that large institutional church structures bless the world, and we wouldn't be better off with loose networks of small congregations and house churches, joining/networking together to do things like large-scale and international mission/service/aid work. Anybody? My e-mail address is at the top of the blog if you don't want to comment.

01 September 2006

Upcoming events

I wanted to remind y'all about a couple of upcoming events, to which everyone who reads this blog is most assuredly invited. (Though I recognize that if you live in Boston or Pretoria, you're unlikely to justify the plane ticket. Especially with the threat of poisonous snakes, and all.)

  1. Thursday, 7 September (evening): The first meeting of "mesh, a new, inclusive, faith discussion community". Please check out the mesh blog for more info, and send an e-mail to meshcoordinators@yahoogroups.com to join the e-mail group and get directions.
  2. Monday, 18 September, 7 PM: The Washington, DC Emergent Cohort will welcome both Don Dayton, author of Discovering an Evangelical Heritage, and Tony Jones, national coordinator for Emergent Village. Wow! It'll be at Guapos restaurant in Tenleytown; check out the DC Cohort blog for more info.

If you miss these, you'll be kicking yourself. Again and again. It will hurt. And where's the fun in that? :-)