Friday, June 22, 2007

What I've Done

"Let mercy come and wash away what I've done..." Lincoln Park


I spent a chunk of my morning time working through this documentary on the war in Iraq put out by Frontline called Endgame. It was helpful for me as it summarized and created a better understanding in what has been going on over there these past years. This is the fifth installment in a series of films to watch and I plan to invest more time in the rest of them at a later date.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Leopard Shows its Spots

I am a Mac Girl. I love Apples...what can I say? Here is a great review of the new Leopard coming out in October. Just in time for my birthday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Brain Fitness

I have been interested in brain development and brain health for years. I especially love games that improve cognitive ability. My new favorite game for the brain is found here. You can take a "brightness" rating test and then play the thirty day program free for a limited time while they finish developing the site.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Fluent Church

A few days ago, I started searching to see if there was an emergent church in my area. Alas, there were none. I started digging around a bit to find out that the closest ones are in Western Michigan and even there, only a few.

Also, I have learned how broad the term emergent church can actually be. What I consider it to be is a group of people in the pursuit of truth, working at bringing social justice back to the forefront of Christianity; people who want to talk, grow and learn together, in a community filled with mutual respect for one another's differences; a people longing to honor God in an authentic way. At least that is what I imagine the vision to be...I am sure there are better descriptions to be found in other places. There is a good description of the emerging church along with background information found here.

Being a reading teacher, I think of the term emergent as one of the beginning stages of development. The first stage of reading is the pre-emergent stage. Here is where children learn their abc's, develop phonemic awareness and become exposed to lots and lots of literacy experiences. (i.e. being read to, singing songs, hearing and reciting poetry, etc.). I think that the pre-emergent stage in church terms are the seeker churches. These are the churches where people are putting a toe in the water and learning a little about scripture, about God, about worship and community.

The emergent stage of reading is where students are truly beginning to put the letters and sounds together and make meaning out of everything. They are building skills one of top of another. They take a step forward and a step back as they approximate, learn and grow. This emerging church is a bit like that. They are growing together, stumbling, talking, not forgetting what they learned at the previous stages of their growth but building from the rich traditions of the past and continuing on in the journey.

I am surprised at how much criticism there is being thrown at the emerging church. I was shocked to read this. People who grew up in the Christian subculture might not be as surprised. People can be so easily threatened.

My hope is that eventually we will reach the later stages of growth- fluency. A fluent reader is naturally living the life of a reader. They have moved into automaticity. They are going through the process of reading without thinking about all the little minor things. They have moved on to maturity and can spend their time understanding what they read, digging deep into character study, plot lines, themes, and comparing and contrasting it to other texts they have previously absorbed. They have a critical eye to examine closely everything they add to their memory, and it is more mature. The childish things are put away. I can hope this for the church too. More acceptance, more active moments of being the church, caring for the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, visiting the prisoners, clothing the needy. More love, more forgiveness, less bickering, less jealousy, envy and strife. More worship and more moments filled with gratefulness and peace.

A fluent person also spends more time in silence. Thinking.

Why do so many people want to be told what to think? I am currently reading a biography about Einstein and he despised nothing more than people who did not think for themselves! Annie Dillard's character, Lou, in her new novel The Maytrees, spent a large portion of her life in silence, because she did not want to miss an original thought of her own, if it ever came along.

The emergent church is a place where lots of conversation is being had and that is great, as long as we are not all just merely echoing one another. I do not want to follow Brain McLaren, Tony Jones or Phyllis Tickle's way of thinking just because it is the latest fad. I feel my own spirit truly agreeing with much of what they have to say. I understand much of what they are saying. I get excited; like I've found a home when I read their work. However, I test what I hear them say, against my own beliefs, my own background and my own ideas.

I look forward to continuing the journey and hope one day we may all become the fluent church.

Saturday, June 16, 2007