I'm just leaving Emergent's "Gathering" near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Gathering is the Emergent community' s family reunion. This is a time of great friends, innovative ideas expressed in a setting devoid of microphones and harsh critics, great food, stunning landscapes, and one of those tastes of the kingdom that Jesus insists is forming in our midst. It is truly a unique event, or non-event more specifically. There is no registration cost. No ideas are shared for an honorarium. In fact, we schedule our meetings (really conversations) after we arrive. These conversations are formed by the interests, questions, visions, and concerns of those who attend.
Some thoughts from this week —
• We had a great conversation of why church plants fail, why our evaluation of church plant failures could be entirely wrong(!), and the hope that the home church movement brings to the greater church.
• Other conversations included money, family life in the way of Jesus ethic and mission, life decisions and a life rule in following the way of Jesus to name a few.
• Doug Pagitt raised the idea of how the scientific transition from Newtonian Physics to Quantum Physics (don't snicker) can alter, refine and redescribe our Christology, notion of the Trinity, perceptions of past and future, the organic and spiritual union with Christ that we call salvation, and can truly shed light of the mysterious tension of the past, present, and future kingdom that Jesus announces! I haven't been more excited about reading a work of science in many, many years! Thanks to Doug for always living on the edge of exploration and mystery.
Don't get me wrong — there's a place for large events. Our convention (done in partnership with Youth Specialties) is an excellent large event and serves a critical role. But, nonetheless, the Gathering is special and I hope that some of you consider joining us next October. By the way, there are few places in the world more beautiful (or fun) than New Mexico in October.
I'm off to Seattle to see my brother's family (who we love and miss dearly) and the Harbers (wonderful friends who moved from Chapel Hill. After these visits, I'll have a couple days meetings at Mars Hill Graduate School. Mars Hill is a school that I believe can help revolutionize preparation for life and ministry. I'm excited about the opportunity to share in this vision.
• BTW — Harry's Roadside Grille in Santa Fe has the best breakfast I've ever had, anywhere. The staff is as nice as the food is good.