Sorry that I have been "blog-absent" for the last bit. The last two weeks of August in a university town are a bit crazy. I just got back from Chicago (an Emergent meeting). Our big adventure was being under a tornado warning for a couple hours. We were driving back from dinner in Elgin, ILL and heard the sirens blare. When we got back to our meeting locale at the International Teams Headquarters — Tim Keel, Doug Pagitt, and I decided to forego the basement to walk the grounds in pursuit of a tornado or funnel sighting. No sightings — but the closest funnel touchdown was only a few miles away. I think Laci Scott will be having tornado nightmares for weeks to come!
By the way, the hospitality of International Teams was an amazing gift to us. I was truly inspired by the way we were loved, taken care of, and embraced by this very thoughtful missions organization.
It was great as always to spend time with Tim, Doug, Laci, Brian McLaren, and Jason Clark (our Emergent-UK and international coordinator). Serious work was done, but whenever I with this group I always have a heavy and therapeutic dose of laughter and return with a few media "don't miss" recommendations. Here are my post-Chicago media recommendations —
•The British sitcom "the Office." Absolutely hilarious. Doug had the first season on DVD. A few scenes from this will surely grace a sermon or class in the future. I believe an American version is being made. I don't believe it can approach the humor of the "dilbert-like" work environment the British version portrays.
•Book (on a more serious note): Brian McLaren's "Generous Orthodoxy" arrived Amazon the day we convened. I read a few selections of a copy Brian brought. This is going to be an excellent and important book.
•Blog: I hope you're reading Doug Pagitt's blog
I returned from Chicago refreshed, thankful, and feeling truly rich and blessed by the many friendships that I have developed over the last decade in YoungLeaders, TerraNova Project, and now Emergent (which is approaching its five year anniversary).
One meeting note to report — Emergent has truly become an international movement. Jason Clark and Brian McLaren have worked so hard as observers, scouts, and ambassadors around the world. Emergent now has leaders convening and organizations forming in the UK, France, Eastern Europe, East Africa, South Africa, Malaysia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more. When I hear these reports, I am humbly reminded that God's is truly doing something ecclesiastical in this world and we are just trying to follow the movement of God's Spirit.
I also want to plug the Emergent Gathering in Glorietta New Mexico on October 18-21. This is our annual pilgrimage, un-convention for the emergent community. It is informal, highly relational, fun, and inspiring. There is no registration cost. Those who share their ideas do so freely without any compensation. The only costs are travel, food, and lodging (very inexpensive at Glorietta, the huge Baptist camp just outside of Santa Fe). Santa Fe and New Mexico are breathtakingly beautiful in October. The informal worship gathering we did last year to end the Gathering was one of most overwhelming visual, prayerful experiences of my life (I felt like I was in Rivendell). Consider joining us for this time of thought, prayer, and relaxation.