emergent gathering

Santafe_1I’ve just returned from the emergent gathering near Santa Fe, NM…I found it quite inspiring hanging out with about 170 similarly thinking people and eating great New Mexican cuisine. On the first evening we all suggested topics of discussion from theological issues to songwriting to how to make better coffee to sustainability issues. My favorite discussion title was "I’m going to breast-feed my baby at church, do you have a problem with that?" "What is the gospel?" led by Mark Scandrette was quite stimulating. Oh, and thanks Mark for the late night chat!

Brian McLaren led a session where he read through an article he is writing. What a classy guy, he asked for our input and suggestions. In this article he is trying to shift the focus from a postmodern discussion to a postcolonial discussion. This opens the picture up to developing countries since the postmodern issue is a mainly a western one. He refered to an African theologian who refers to Jesus in tribal language such as Jesus, the elder brother or the cheif of cheifs. Also he mentioned a Native American Phd student asking the question – Can our Native American spritually be our Old Testament?

Andrew Jones and his family taught us how to start a church with a pizza party. I enjoyed doing yoga each morning in Shelly Paggitt’s class. Her new book called Body Prayer looks like one I will have to buy.

I found it intersting that there were 5 different publishers represented, but they weren’t there to sell books, they had no big displays. So what were they there for…because they know this is an important pool of thinking Christians who are writing about their ideas. It was a pleasure for me to have lunch with Chad from Baker and get some ideas on submitting a proposal. Tim of Abington helped connect me to the music editor so I can plug my children’s songs on celtic texts.

Perhaps the best conversation I had was on the Southwest flight up to Chicago seated beside Will Sampson. He has quite a story of his move from hardcore fundemenalism to what he sees is his current calling of helping homeless people wash their clothes. He and his wife Lisa plan to visit us in Montreal in the not too distant future. Lisa is an artist and novelist with 17 novels published. I can’t wait to meet her. They are planning a book together with the working title "Justice in the Burbs". cool.

Is someways, it was meeting certain women that I enjoyed the most at the gathering. These were the women who are married to men that I already have great respect for. These incredible women include: Grace McLaren, Debbie Jones, Shelly Paggitt, among others. One other women that I REALLY enjoyed meeting was Anne desRoberts, the only Québécoise at the gathering. She is an amazingly gifted person who has be dealing with the deconstruction and reconstruction of her faith in isolation except for a few good books. I look forward to introducing her to many of my friends in the emergent discussion here in Montreal.