Friday, November 14, 2008

The Great Emergence--Thursday 11/20

I just finished Phyllis Tickle's The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why and found it accessible, interesting, and thought-provoking. Many people I know have already read it and have been impressed as well. I highly recommend that you get ahold of it and read it--it sets all the changes happening in Christianity and wider culture in a broader historical context--as well as forecasts a bit of future trends. The book will spark lots of possible discussion topics--even if you have not read the book. We will gather to discuss on Thursday the 20th of November at 8pm at the Chesapeake Wine Co. (2400 Boston St. 21224--in the same group of stores as Kiss Cafe. CWC faces Starbucks and is next to Subway.) We'll be in the back. See you then, Tim

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rides for Pete Rollins conference in November in Philly

Don't forget the Emergent mid-Atlantic conference that we are part of on November 8th in Phiadelphia. It's only $25 and should be great. Sign-up at We can use the comments section of the blog to coordinate rides.

Next cohort gathering--Thurs. November 20th

Next cohort gathering: Thursday November 20th at 8pm at the Chesapeake Wine Co. for a discussion of Phyllis Tickle's book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why. The book is described as: Rooted in the observation that massive transitions in the church happen about every 500 years, Phyllis Tickle shows readers that we live in such a time right now. She compares the Great Emergence to other "Greats" in the history of Christianity, including the Great Transformation (when God walked among us), the time of Gregory the Great, the Great Schism, and the Great Reformation. Combining history, a look at the causes of social upheaval, and current events, The Great Emergence shows readers what the Great Emergence in church and culture is, how it came to be, and where it is going. Anyone who is interested in the future of the church in America, no matter what their personal affiliation, will find this book a fascinating exploration. Amazon link: here. If you find her book interesting, check on this upcoming conference in Memphis, December 4-6.

Tonight at ... Huckas at 8pm!!

Tonight we have a change of venue for our discussion of Pete Rollinss book, The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief. Kiss Cafe is unexpectedly closed today. So we will gather just down the street at Huckas at 2324 Boston St., still at 8pm. Come even if you didn't get a chance to read the book. You can always google some reviews or just show up. Tim

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mike Stavlund's vectors

For anyone who was at the cohort gathering last week, you know how interesting and helpful, Mike's "vectors" were in describing the emerging church. Here's is his blog post "Emergent Observations" from I was honored by the invitation from my friend Tim to join the crew at the Baltimore Emergent Cohort last night. He asked me to talk about my experiences with and impressions of this thing called 'Emergent', and so I spent a couple of weeks ruminating and jotting down some of those thoughts. Which I shared last night, and which elicited a lively and interesting discussion. A few folks there asked for my notes, so I thought I'd go ahead and post them here: To me, 'Emergent' (ie, 'Emergent Village') is relational, not organizational. In fact, it is not organized (though folks with a different paradigm can't help but see it through their lens, and so expect it to have a certain structure and hierarchy). So I'm not a spokesperson-- in fact there are no spokespeople (not even Tony Jones!). I'll describe what I've resonated with relationally, and I'll invite everyone else to chime in if they're feeling it, too. Or if they're not feeling it. Or if they want to add something. My understanding of Emergent is based in a wider sense of 'emergence' in our culture (check out the wikipedia entry on 'emergence' for more on this)-- in organizations in general, and in science, journalism, information dispersal, and etc.. Like other examples of emergence, it has flat org. structures, is self-organizing, etc.. My understanding of Emergent (ie, the network of Xians) is that it was a group of 'cultural creatives' who were following their instincts theologically, ecclesiologically, creatively, and relationally. They chose the term 'emergent' from the world of forestry: 'emergent' growth is the stuff that comes up on the forest floor, underneath the larger canopy. The health and future of a forest is indicated by this growth (and, to continue the metaphor, if 'Emergent' ever became the canopy, it would cease to be 'emergent'). They employed emerging means of connecting-- blogs, new media, gatherings, simple relationships, and most of all, utter experimentation. So what is emerging is, in some senses, nothing new-- many other Xians and denominations can rightly say, 'We've been doing that forever!' And yet, at the same time, there is a fresh approach, fresh energy, fresh combination and innovation and method and ethos and intent and departure and dispatch and commitment. The sum is greater than the parts. This way of doing church is also no utopia. Many of us would say that it's the only way for us to go forward, but we also recognize that it has many headaches and encumbrances, too. It might be simple, but it is not easy. So here are some observations I've made, which I offer as starting points for discussion, and stated as vectors (my friend Pete has gotten me thinking about vectors, and about how our metrics are often too static-- what's more important is where we're going). This list is obviously incomplete and perspectival. -- from confidence to humility. Epistemology and proper confidence. My friends are not wishy-washy, but learned, determined, and often opinionated. It's just that they simultaneously realize the limitations of their understanding. [last night, one person used the great phrase, "strong ideas, held weakly".] -- from organizational to relational. Not centralized organizations (churches, et al) but scale-free networks. -- from pre-meditated to intentional. The groups I see developing do not know exactly where they are headed, but they are very intentional, nonetheless. The art of community development. -- from observation to engagement. Common Table's 'Worship Services' and 'Service Worship', and Relational Tithe's relational engagement with 'widows and orphans'. -- from mainstream to marginalized. Learning to listen to the marginalized voices in the world, in culture, in our Scriptures, and in theology. -- from holiness to holism. The problem of dualism, and the embrace of holism. Celtic spirtuality. A new emphasis on Jesus' incarnation, and an earthy and honest spirituality. Renewed interest in the 'minor keys' of Scripture. -- from Truth to true. Scripture as beauty to be experienced, rather than a set of truth claims to be mastered. "Inerrancy" as a theoretical and philosophical position. -- from stage to floor. [I had a lot to say here, but nothing more important or interesting than the Arcade Fire concert I listened to on the ride up, where the band started the show by playing 'Wake Up' acoustically, from the middle of the concert hall as the audience sang along.] -- from taskmasters to caretakers. Concern for the planet, and our environmental legacy. Reclaiming the idea that 'the new earth' is the one we're sitting on right now. -- from consumerism to critique. A reconsideration of consumerism, of church consumerism, and of dualism (in politics, denominations, etc.). I'm utterly confounded when I hear critics say that the emerging church is capitulating to culture, when the emerging Xians I know are the ones serving the poor, giving away their possessions, leaving religious hierarchies, and speaking against the Empire. Undomesticating Jesus, and embracing smallness. -- from belief to action. People who are 'religious, but not spiritual'. Non-creedal, non-doctrinal expressions of Xianity. Sara Miles is my hero. (in an email this morning, Tim added another idea for a vector: "from compartmentalization to integration---thinking about holism and seeing God in all aspects of life, not just with Christians or in the church". )

Immediate Needs to Help Houston and Galveston

an important update to pass along:

Immediate Needs to Help Houston and Galveston

By Chris Seay, re-posted from Facebook:

My Brothers and Sisters,

I am not sure how clearly the national media is telling the story of the devastation in Houston and Galveston, but I can tell you that the rare combination of a massive storm that filled the Gulf of Mexico and the fact that it struck Houston and Galveston ( a combined population of close to 5 million people) has created a disaster of immense proportions. The majority of the city is still without power and clean water and almost everyone has some kind of damage to their residence or business. Houston, which became known as a city of generosity and hospitality after Katrina, is now experiencing what it is like to be on the other end of that kind of generosity.

Ecclesia is thrilled to be able to represent the broader church as a source for light and love to so many hurting in the devastation of this storm. We will continue to need teams skilled in debris removal, demolition, and construction for much of the coming year. If you are willing to send a team, we will work to provide lodging and logistical support for your teams. We are longing to have brothers and sisters that will demonstrate the love of the Liberating King as they help families in a time of dire need. In addition to those that will come and labor alongside of us, there are some immediate financial needs that would help us to serve the region and share the hope of the gospel. There are three areas of immediate needs:

1) Relief Support — any donations to relief support will go to purchase chainsaws, tools, food, van rentals, water, generators, temporary employment for relief coordinators, and necessary items to support relief teams. We are estimating the immediate need for relief support to be more than 25,000 dollars. If you are able to purchase any of these items in your area and have them delivered to Houston, this would be preferred over local purchasing. However both can be accommodated.

2) Financial Relief — for those suffering financially because of loss of property and income, we would like to offer a short term assistance package. For countless families and individuals struggling to make it financially before the storm (hourly wage employees, immigrants, and single mothers), the last week has often been devastating. We hope that the federal government will improve in their response time, but the church is able and willing to fill this gap. If you would like to give specifically to this package we will distribute the following on your behalf. In the case of single mothers we intend to double the assistance. $150 Mortgage/Rental Assistance $100 Grocery Card $50 Gas Card $20 Basic Toiletries Gospel of John (VOX) We will attempt to continue or begin a long-term relationship with all assisted families and will offer this assistance to as many as possible.

3) Taft Street Coffee as a House of Hospitality — You may know that Taft Street Coffee (the coffee shop owned and run by Ecclesia) is rated each year as one of the top 3 coffee shops in the entire city. This morning we had our power restored and would like to re-open the shop as a site for those still without power. We estimate that over the next three weeks many would benefit from a centrally located house of hospitality that offers air conditioning, a free lunch, coffee drinks, Wi-Fi, phone service, children’s play space, and spiritual support. If you would like to sponsor the food and operational costs to run Taft Street Coffee as a gift to the community, we estimate that cost to be $850 per day.

If you have any questions you can contact me ( or our Mission Pastor John Starr ( I am grateful for the love and support of the entire church to my beloved City.

Previously: Ecclesia Relief Efforts After Hurricane Ike

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gathering tomorrow night with Mike Stavlund! then 10/21

Come at 8pm at Kiss Cafe (2400 Boston St., Baltimore, 21224) to join in conversation with Mike Stavlund. Mike is a husband and father who lives outside Washington, DC. He is a part of the innovative and experimental church Common Table, and is also a member of Relational Tithe and enjoys the friendship that is Emergent Village. He writes, he builds stuff, he runs, and he keeps a blog called The Awakening. In short we will have an evening full of depth, wit, and insight on life, faith, the church, and the world. I wouldn't miss it. Also, check out the info. on the cohort blog for the Reclaiming Paul conference in October in Kansas City plus Nov. 8th with Pete Rollins in Philly. Our October gathering will be on Tuesday the 21st (again at 8pm at Kiss Cafe), and we will discuss Pete Rollins' book: The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief. The book is described as: "What if one of the core elements of a radical Christianity lay in a demand that we betray it, while the ultimate act of affirming God required the forsaking of God? And what if fidelity to the Judeo-Christian scriptures demanded their renunciation? In short, what if the only way of finding real faith involved betraying that faith with a kiss, like Judas did to Christ?" Hope to see you tomorrow, Tim

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Next cohort--SEPT. 16th with Mike Stavlund!

Our next cohort gathering has shifted slightly and will be on Tuesday night 9/16 and our special guest will be Mike Stavlund. Here's his bio. Mike Stavlund is a husband and father who lives outside Washington, DC. He is a part of the innovative and experimental church Common Table, and is also a member of Relational Tithe and enjoys the friendship that is Emergent Village. He writes, he builds stuff, he runs, and he keeps a blog called The Awakening. In short we will have an evening full of depth, wit, and insight on life, faith, the church, and the world. I wouldn't miss it. We'll gather at Kiss Cafe (2400 Boston St., Baltimore, 21224) at 8pm. Also, check out the info. in the other posts for the Reclaiming Paul conference in October in Kansas City plus Nov. 8th with Pete Rollins in Philly. Hope to see you on the 16th, Tim P.S.--for those interested in New Monasticism from our more recent cohort discussion. Check out and the 12 Marks of New Monasticism.

Reclaiming Paul Conference

From what I've heard, this should be a great conference with a distinct Baltimore flavor. Check it out and go if you can. Here's the description: Are you interested in Paul and the church? Consider coming to the “Reclaiming Paul” conference, a conversation among emerging church leaders and biblical scholars, pastors, and educators. It will take place at Jacob’s Well Church in Kansas City, October 22-24, 2008. Pauline specialists giving plenary addresses include Steve Fowl, Kathy Grieb, Ross Wagner, and Baltimore’s own Mike Gorman. Other presenters include John Franke, Tony Jones, Tim Keel, Mike King, Doug Pagitt, and Danielle Shroyer. Visit the website for more information (

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pete Rollins conference in November in Philly

This should be a great conference that we are part of: The Emergent Mid-Atlantic Conference: A Humble yet Comprehensive Attempt at Kingdom Building When: all day Sat. Nov. 8th, $15 for students, $25 online, $35 at the door Where: Church of the Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square (Philadelphia, PA) Who: Everyone, but especially Pete Rollins Let's get some folks together to go! Tim

Cohort on Thurs., then Sept. 16th?

Thursday night the cohort will gather to discuss: A Christianity Worth Believing: Hope-filled, Open-armed, Alive-and-well Faith for the Left Out, Left Behind, and Let Down in us All by Doug Pagitt. To download chapters and podcasts from the book visit Take a look at it (or not) and come to discuss on Thursday night at 8pm at Kiss Cafe (2400 Boston St. Baltimore, 21224).

If you are drawn to the the mystifying, loving God whom we meet in Jesus Christ, but put off by "Christianity" (or, for that matter, the Christians you know) this contrarian, wise, winsome, passionate book is a must-read.

Lauren F. Winner — author of Girl Meets God, Duke Divinity School

Here is theology as it is supposed to be: a love story between two parts of one whole. Intimate, candid, vulnerable as well as brilliant and salvific, this one is God-talk at its most persuasive. It is also emergence Christianity at its clearest and best.

Phyllis Tickle — Author The Divine Hours, The Words Of Jesus

The next cohort gathering is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday Sept. 16th at 8pm at Kiss Cafe. Hope to see you soon, Tim

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cohort--Wed. night 8pm then 8/14 (Thursday)

On Wed. night (7/16), the cohort will gather at 8pm at Kiss Cafe (2400 Boston St. 21224) to discuss The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier by Tony Jones. I have read the first few chapters so far and find it to be interesting, useful, informative, and helpful.. I think that it will form the basis for a good discussion whether you have read the book or not. To learn more about it or to read some selections, you can visit Tony's blog: Next month we will read Doug Pagitt's new book, A Christianity Worth Believing: Hope filled, Open Armed, Alive and Well Faith and will gather to discuss it on Thursday August 14th at 8pm at Kiss Cafe in Canton. You can learn more about the book here. If you want to see these guys (authors) in person they will be in DC on Thursday night July 31st for the Church Basement Roadshow--along with Mark Scandrrette who wrote Soul Graffitti. It should be a fun night--more info. is available here. Hope you summer is going well and I hope to see you soon, Tim

Friday, June 27, 2008

Volunteers needed for Artscape 2008

I received the e-mail below asking for volunteers for Artscape 2008. It looks like a great opportunity to support a great event. The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts has a severe shortage of volunteers for Artscape 2008. We are contacting you in hopes that your church may be interested in volunteering for this event. We would greatly appreciate your help! We would be glad to sign up your church members by phone and arrange for them to work together. We could liaison with a representative from your church to do so. We only ask that volunteers be at least 18 years of age or older. We provide free parking, a free-t-shirt, and refreshments. If you have individuals or groups who may be interested, please contact me directly at 443.263.4307. Thank you in advance for your support! Debbie

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tuesday June 17th, then Wed. July 16th

The Baltimore Emergent Village cohort will next gather on Tuesday June 17th at 8pm at Kiss Cafe (2400 Boston St, Baltimore 21224). Our topic will be" Post-colonial theology. We will look at the distinctives of post-colonial theology and its overlaps and distincts from varous postmodern approaches to theology. In short, we will discuss what people outside of the Western world (particularly the colonized in the global south) can teach us about what it means to follow Jesus and to be the church. Here are some reasources to help you to prepare if you are interested. The first is a lecture, "One African Postcolonial Theology: The Imperative to Differ" by Kenzo Mabiala delivered at the first Amahoro Africa gathering in Uganda in May 2007. The audio quality is not the best but the content is outstanding. The second resource is an article by Kenzo: I hope to see you on Tuesday. On next gathering will be on Wed. July 16th at 8pm when we will discuss the book, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier by Tony Jones. Some other anouncements: Emergent Village is asking everyone (committed participants, casual admirers, and friendly critics) to take a brief (5 min.) survey. Please help out the Board of Directors by CLICKING HERE TO TAKE THE SHORT SURVEY Also, 2 upcoming Emergent Village-related events in DC
June 27: Shane Claibourne will be at Calvery Baptist Church, Washington, DC. 7pm - Register for free tickets here.
July 31: The Church Basement Road Show aka Tony Jones, Doug Pagit and Mark Scandrette at the Kay Spiritual Life Center at American University 7pm $10 at the door. Wesley Seminary is the acamedic sponsor for the tour - so come on out. More info is available here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

May 15th--Jesus for President

Our next gathering will be on Thursday night 5/15 at 8pm at Kiss Cafe (2400 Boston St. Baltimore, 21224). Our topic will be the recently released book, Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. I encourage you to pick up a copy--there are lots of pictures for those who don't like to read much :). Publishers Weekly has this to say: Starred Review. Here is the must-read election-year book for Christian Americans. What should Christians do when allegiances to the state clash with personal faith? Haw and Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution) slice through politics as usual and well past the superficial layers of the culture wars with their lucid exploration of how Christians can and should relate to presidents and kings, empire and government. Their entertaining yet provocative tour of the Bible's social and economic order makes even the most abstruse Levitical laws come alive for our era. They also provide a valuable political context for Christ's life, reminding readers that Jesus did not preach the need to put God back into government—he urged his followers to live by a different set of rules altogether, to hold themselves apart as peculiar people. The compelling writing is enhanced by a lavish, eye-popping layout. The pages are a riot of textured callouts, colors, photos and fonts—the perfect packaging for a message that must compete in a world of sound bites. With this second book, Claiborne emerges as an affable, intelligent, humorous prophet of his generation, calling people out of business-as-usual in a corrupt world and back to the radically different social order of the biblical God. (Mar.)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

CityPaper article

The cohort was featured in this week's Citypaper. Go check it out (you can find the full article here), it a good perspective on what we are the emerging church and this cohort are all about. My and Saranell's work with Next Generation was also highlighted along with some other folks who were at last month's cohort. The next cohort gathering will be on Thursday April 17th at 8pm at Kiss Cafe in Canton. Hope to see you then.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Next cohort gathering Tuesday March 25th

The next cohort gathering will be on Tuesday March 25th at 8pm at Kiss Cafe at 2400 Boston St. in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore. Kiss Cafe is easy to get to and has plenty of available parking. There is a full menu available. We will be on the left side of the restaurant. We had a great gathering in Feb. and look forward to another one this time. We do not have a set topic at the moment , but since we have not gathered for awhile, it might be interesting to talk about what we think the church that is emerging is, can be, and how we can make a difference in the blog. Feel free to post any preliminary thoughts or rumblings on the cohort blog. See you in a few weeks, Tim P.S.--It is not too late to sign-up for the Deep Shift conference on Friday and Saturday in Vienna, VA. Let me know if you want the $20 off discount code. Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Upcoming events--NT Wright and Deep Shift

Over the next month, there are 2 interesting events that may be of interest. First, NT Wright is coming to Baltimore to speak at The Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary on February 25th and 26th. His topic for the lectures is "The Bible and the Future." N.T. Wright is the Anglican Bishop of Durham, England and is arguably the world’s most prominent biblical theologian. For more information, visit the St. Mary's website and follow the links. Then, on March 7-8th, the Deep Shift tour featuring Brian McLaren, Linnea Nilsen Capshaw, the Cobalt Season, and others will be in Vienna, VA presenting an experience of Brian's book, Everything Must Change, and implications which grow from it. You need to register by March 5th. To get a discount code for $20 off, email Tim. Hope you enjoy these events!

The Cohort is BACK!!!--2/27

After a period of hibernation, the Baltimore Cohort is again going to meet. Many of us have missed being together and others have been itching for a chance to participate. The next gathering will be on Wednesday February 27th at 8pm at Kiss Cafe at 2400 Boston St. in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore. Kiss Cafe is easy to get to and has plenty of available parking. There is a full menu available. We will be on the left side of the restaurant. This month's discussion will be on Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope by Brian McLaren. Come whether you have read the book or not, whether you have liked the book or not, and share your thoughts, ideas, and questions. We'll also consider ways to read the book with others. E-mail Tim with any questions.