First it was Mark Driscoll saying, “And all the nonsense of emerging, and Emergent, and new monastic communities, and, you know, all of these various kinds of ridiculous conversations — I’ll tell you as one on the inside, they don’t have converts. The silly little myth, the naked emperor is this: they will tell you it’s all about being in culture to reach lost people, and they’re not.” Then recently I found a post asking if it was End of the House Church? This from another insider, who notes, “I am beginning to wonder if the ‘reemergence’ of the House Church Movement that has happened in the last three or four years has stopped before it really got going? The reason I wonder this is because in the four years of being in organic Church nothing much seems to be different in regards to numbers and the vibe I am getting around the place from way back in 2004.”
I’ve been pretty much too busy to read or write for the past …almost two weeks now. As my friend Bill Kinnon mentioned, the project that’s had me snowed under for that period of time has been the redesign of the Allelon website. There are a few bits and pieces yet to come and some small tweaks to be made, but there it is in all its glory! I came into the project at the 11th hour when most of the design was done, but as Bill mentioned it’s been a large amount of work by a small number of people. The new site is much easier to navigate, and I found all sorts of things that I’d never seen on the old site… and that’s without even browsing through all the articles. We updated some site content today, including a new article by Sally Morgenthaler and a video report from Seabeck and our Missional Order conversations this past October. You’ll find me talking in the video… but that’s not the best part of the eleven-and-a-half minutes. Bill spent a lot of time editing today, and he did a great job… he left me asking, “So, when is the next gathering?”
(RSS readers can click through to this post to view the video.)
One day as we were dwelling in Luke 10 at the Seabeck gathering, I stopped on the “70″ — or as some manuscripts report, “72.” One explanation of this textual error is that a scribe somewhere along the line “corrected” it to read 72 instead of 70 because it was associated with Numbers 11, which also features a group of 70, from which two were missing — or not.
I introduced the concept of Shalom yesterday as I was concluding my last post on the missional order. I should take this opportunity to explain that my many musings on this subject over the past week-plus, although they are tagged “missional order”, do not represent the formal outcome of or substance of discussions in our gathering at Seabeck. Many of these themes emerged at one or more points in the discussion, but the thoughts I present are my own ruminations arising in these post-Seabeck weeks. Of course, many of my thoughts go back to much older ruminations, and I’m busy wrapping them all up in this series. A series, mind you, which I never intended to be a series. Nonetheless, I’ve summarized it as such in a sidebar below. Back to Shalom, a concept which also makes an appearance in Luke 10, where a blessing of peace is extended to those from whom the 70 sought hospitality, and the notion of “a people of peace” arises in the reception of the greeting of peace.
One of the subjects that came up at the Seabeck Missional Order Gathering on Tuesday (I think) was the question of language. In the formation of an order and the conversation around St. Benedict’s rule, some question was made about the language we use and how we express it. Before I left for the gathering, the question had been put to me by more than one person. After all, words like “rule” and “order” sound a little to the rigid or legalistic side. In the charismatic tradition, the verse that speaks of “a God of order, not disorder” is met with the challenge of what order might look like to God, and the fact that it might look very disorderly to us. In context, the conversation was essentially what we hope to achieve in the formation of an order… whether it’s done in an elitist exclusionary way, a legalistic fashion, or what. What does such an order or rule do for us, anyway?
I’ve been intrigued for a while now with the idea of an unconference. I mean, I really got conferenced-out through the 90′s… the 80′s were still fun, but by the time the calendar rolled over “00″ I couldn’t be bothered. But The recent Allelon gathering to discuss the formation of a Missional Order looked different. I decided to give it a chance.
We’re in the midst of our conversations around a missional order here at Seabeck. It’s a beautiful little spot on Seabeck Bay near Puget Sound, pictured above through the eyes of Google. Thus far it’s been great to meet some people I’ve talked with on the phone or via email only, and to see again people I’ve met before but don’t get to see in person that often. The conversation is shaping up nicely, and the group of people here is rapidly becoming one of no-longer-strangers. On Monday evening I was standing in a group of five guys that included Andrew (Tall Skinny Kiwi) Jones and Rick (The Blind Beggar) Meigs, watching them piece together my name tag (which doesn’t say “Brother Maynard”) with my blog. The five of us decided to go in search of a pub with decent taps, and by the time we were piling into a car, we were joined by to more carloads of people that included Mark and Jeanette Priddy and Bill and Imbi Kinnon and others. You can click on the image above to view a Google map and search around for the little town nearby (Silverdale) where we got bounced from two different bars when they tried to card Imbi. Mark helpfully ran across the street to find a bar that promised not to card her, and we were set.
Dale Allison Jr. speculates in The Luminous Dusk: Finding God in the Deep, Still Places on wonder, and the impact of its loss. He gets there by observing a shift over time in the way people interpret and respond to major events such as natural disasters or even human-inspired catastrophes. Where once people would assume some fault in their relationship with God or the gods, they now assume some fault in God himself, if he exists: “Before 1700, misfortune made people doubt firstly themselves, not God and the Christian faith. Obviously, much depends on our prior inclinations. My question then is, What accounts for prior inclinations? In particular, what accounts for the medieval tendency to believe, or for the modern tendency to disbelieve?” (p.6-7) Just so we don’t get sidetracked, let’s imagine he’s using “modern” in its non-technical form to mean “today” despite the apparent reference to pre-modernity or post-medieval times, and despite the later reference to “us moderns.” I don’t consider myself “a modern” but perhaps the ongoing shift is the appropriate context for these observations… but we’re not getting sidetracked. Allison notes there can be no one answer, and goes on to consider possibilities, beginning with the concept of wonder, which is what I want to major on here.