Thursday, July 27, 2006

A 2006 East Coast Gathering for Emerging Women Leaders

This fall, October 1-3, I am helping to orchestrate a gathering for women interested in more fully exploring the necessity for women's voices to emerge within the Christian leadership community. We will approach this through the opportunities/open doors that the national emerging conversation has presented to 21st Century Christians around the world for the last decade or so. The emerging, postmodern culture is calling for a shift in methods to present the Good News of Jesus Christ. How do the women fit into this conversation? into this new paradigm? into this culture shift? into the pressing needs of the shrinking, Western Christian community?

Virginia's beach is beautiful in October! I'm putting out an invitation to all women viewing this Blog: Come and join the conversation!

Register through: www.emergingwomen.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims

It seems amazingly coincidental that I started reading this book about two weeks ago considering the crisis now taking place in Lebanon! The book couldn't be more timely, offering me an alternative view of 'what could be.'

The book reads easily despite being moderately meaty. Three authors contribute their perspectives, based on their spiritual backgrounds, of Abraham's story as recorded in the biblical narrative and other source materials that are particularly relevant to each religious culture. Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Sister of Erie, PA, contributes from a Christian viewpoint, Rabbi Arthur Waskow from a Jewish one and Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti from a Eastern (sufi)Muslim perspective. Each contributor presents an insightful, thoughtful, and potentially unifying perspective of Abraham's story, hopeful of finding a basis for unity and peace among three cultures who both claim Abraham as their "father." Each contributor also brings their own story from which they weave and tell another.

I highly recommend this book for summer reading, especially under the current world situation that is gripping the Middle East. I wish more people could come to the table and dialogue about the stories, hopes and dreams that we all long for while journeying on this small planet together.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Story, as in MY story.

Last night, at a friendly gathering of female seminary students, I enjoyed hearing many life stories that testified to a plethora of diversity in the journeys traveled so far. They also included dreams, hopes, intentions ...

As a life student myself, I find that after having spent a considerable amount of time learning how to make literary observations in the Biblical Narrative (what the academic community calls exegeting the written Word,) "exegeting" social settings, especially those which include life storytelling, is also profitable and fascinating.

Here are some of my observations from this particular gathering that brings a smile. First, it's almost impossible to have one's "OWN story." As I shared my story and how I experienced God's participation in my own drama, I could only laugh at the great need for others to reinterpret MY story to fit their own theological leanings and story. I must wonder this morning how our levels of personal securities drive our need for 'all the stories of life' to fit a comfortable sameness. We expound the benefits of diversity, but telling a story that doesn't fit someone else's own story becomes a threat instead of an opportunity to gather wisdom. I observed students, who are immersed in modernity (enlightenment) thinking, feel compelled to initiate a lecturing monologues of how I need to see MY OWN STORY! Why is it so hard to just listen to a person's story and allow them to own it as is? I smile.

Second, putting a "spin" on stories is a genre all unto itself. What drives the need for spin? Why is it so difficult to tell an authentic, struggling story? Why the need for an "A" performance to our stories? One must wonder about the affect that this need to spin affected the recording of biblical Stories? Then, we teach/preach these stories putting our own spin on them as well. A spin on a spun story! It certainly draws me into a state of pondering this morning! I smile.

Third, is it possible to make a mistake and learn nothing because it was just that ... a mistake? Can Christians make mistakes and so be it? Is this a result of years live in enlightenment also ... one must always be learning or it's not valid or valuable? I smile.

Is that one of the things that wisdom finally brings, a smile? God Smiles, babies smile, flowers smile, puppies smile ... I smile.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

An Emerging Lament!

I find myself stuck in No-Where land! Ahead in vision and behind in age! I'm not happy stuck here either and I think it's God's fault! (Don't worry readers ... He's been blamed for worse as King David is my witness!) I seem to have found a real "home" with the emerging postmoderns ... a new culture that has been emerging for at least the last 10 years or so ... yet this emerging culture doesn't really have a home yet! Even they are still emerging! I love the conversation, believe in the paradigm shift and love pondering and discussing the transformation that the church will be forced to go through in the next 30 years. But the problem is ... I'm in that babyboomer crowd and, for the most part, they are just not into the discussion at all! I'm an alien in boomer clothing!

I just read a great discourse written by 'Heather' on postmodern evangelism and she discovered that "people" are willing to talk about spiritual things, BUT have no reception for tuning into the marketed, religiously pitched 'plan for your life in 4 simple steps'! (By the way, I still have these four steps, diagrams and all, in my memory banks!) I agree with Heather, BUT ...

unfortunately, it's not true with the 40+ group in my neighborhood! Have they been pitched to one too many times and now even approaching a 'spiritual' topic causes their highly, fine-tuned radar to go off? Have the white burbs people so bought into capitalism and purpose driven church clubs that any type of 'real conversation' is just 'beneath' them? Or, maybe it's going right 'over' them?? Is it that once we boomers have a front bricked house with a two car garage and 3 cars all too big to fit in that garage, a pool that fills the backyard, a BBQ grill the size of a small car, and kids with enough toys to fill a cul-de-sac on any given summer day, ...we have proved that we have it all figured out and so what's left to discuss? Maybe we already have our church membership card because we've bought the Christian product years ago and so we have our hell insurance card ... end of the discussion!(of course, we keep the membership card in the glove compartment of the family SUV and it rarely gets to church!) And, of course, in the boomer crowd there are those that have legitimately been severely BURNED by the modern church and they wouldn't have a discussion on the topic for 'all the tea in China!'

And so I'm stuck ... with a postmodern mindset that is prophetically foreign to my peer culture who is thoroughly (and seemingly happily) saturated in the blissful abundance of modernity! Today, I'm feeling the wrong spiritual size ... I just don't fit! Maybe I need to move to a condo on the beach! (Still smiling, Lord!)