the best incompleteness of love

This weekend I am hosting up marriage covenants between two friends of Kelley and mine. Its at a vineyard in Dahlonega, GA. It should be a blast. So, Kelley and I have been married ten years as of June. And each time I do a wedding it is a chance to remember how much it meant for our friends to participate (grooms men, bride's maids, Ty Saltzgiver- my Young Life trainer who married us, Ryan Long- the singer-songwriters who played for nothing but a hotel room). The premarital counseling, service design, and the prep for whatever homily I offer- they all give me a chance to revisit the compelling thoughts of love shared by everyone in God's World.

I was struck this time around by Paul's choice to place the theme of "incompleteness" inside his ode to love in 1 Corinthians 13. Peterson's paraphrase puts it this way:

We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled…

We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing God directly just as God knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.

And the best of the three is love

Ten years ago I didn't know half of what I know about love now. Because love requires locating ourselves in the unknown. It requires mystery and unfinished-ness. People are naturally relational- we understand ourselves in relationship to others and our contexts, and have a consciousness about that relationship. Love requires us to leave that consciousness open for edits. We leave ourselves vulnerable, accessible. Love edits our memories (forgiveness) and our dreams for the future (hope).

Love of God, and our beloved-ness as children of God... does a similar thing. True knowledge of God-is-love-ness requires receptiveness, and it "softens" us. True participation in this Love-of-God-ness casts out fear (memories) and makes all things new (future).

So asking having strong enough 'faith' to be featured on CBN, or being the greatest political orator of our time, or making poverty history... without love is nothing, gets us no further along, and starts to sound like a creaky gate or a bent cymbal.

presbymeme II

So my new friend Bruce, who moderates an assemblage of 'self-identified Jesus followers who trace their ideological origins back to the reformation and utilize the language and infrastructures of political representative polity to make their decisions' used his power to requisition a meme from those of us in the blogosphere....

The Rules // Presbymeme II

  • in about 25 words each, answer the following five questions;
  • tag five presbyterian bloggers and send them a note to let them know they were tagged;
  • be sure to link to this original post, leave a comment or send a trackback to this post so others can find you;

The Questions // Presbymeme II /

1. What is your favorite faith-based hymn, song or chorus.

Currently tied between Lori Chaffer's "Please Don't Make me Sing this Song" and "Come Ye Faithful Raise the Strain" (hymn 14 blue hymnal- though I mess with 1870s melody) by John of Damascus (c. 675-749).

2. What was the context, content and/or topic of the last sermon that truly touched, convicted, inspired, challenged, comforted and/or otherwise moved you?Mark Lomax at Church Unbound as he spoke about the reign-dom of God.3. If you could have all Presbyterians read just one of your previous posts, what would it be and why?

I think the discussion around the future of presbymergent several months back was a good one to have my presbyterian colleagues weigh in on.

4. What are three PC(USA) flavored blogs you read on a regular basis?

5. If the PC(USA) were a movie, what would it be and why?

"Stranger Than Fiction" the pop-pomo film where Will Farrell meets the voice of his narrator and strives to control his poetic destiny. Why?: Because we continue to hear the voice of our Narrator, but in our fear of our imminent death we run the other way or try to form committees of experts to avoid our very vocation. And because I'm pleasantly surprised at the courage of folks I meet who do take the risk of stepping into the script, and laying down our tribe's future for something larger than our own story, only to find that this is the very act that makes our story and tribe what it is.

no I have not left presbyterianism

a quick update... I was excited to have some conversations the past few months with AJC Religion editor, Chris Quinn.  He's great. He reported on Brian McLaren's particpation in the Mainline Emergent/s event, Jan 2007 and this summer's Jesus For President and Church Basement Roadshow.  Today he wrote a nice short piece about Phyllis Tickle and her upcoming book, The Great Emergence.  In it he quotes me talking about the local Atlanta Emergent Cohort:

Troy Bronsink, a former Presbyterian pastor who leads a strand of the Atlanta movement, describes some involved as “refugees from ecclesiological abuse.”

I did say that, but I have not been de-frocked nor have I burned my frock (I don't actually have a frock).  I was ordained in July of 2006 to validated ministry in my neighborhood of Capitol View.  During my time there I have done a lot of odd projects inlcuding managing a coffee shop, community organizing,  neighborhood association work, volunteering with the Annie Casey Foundation to convene conversations around Public Art and Culture.  For a year  I was intalled as minister at The Church of St.Andrew in Sandy Springs, but that was an 18 month contract that ended abruptly at 12 months (to here more about that read this post).  Since then my family and I have grown more and more committed to the future of our Southwest Atlanta neighborhood and two months ago began planning to form a Christian community here called "Neighbor's Abbey."  I am working intimately with the PC(USA) and the Presbytery here in Atlanta to begin this work.  MOre than that, though I am working with my neighbors to discover what it should become--- so there will be more to hear on this as it unfolds.

So I am the former minister of one particular presbyterian congregation, but I have not left the tribe. I've only left the formal traditional congregation side of Presbyterianism.  And BTW I still hang out on occasion with formal traditional Presbyterians, and they don't bite ;^)

songs to know

I'm going to start posting about songs and albums and songwriters that I love. The first is a CD that Kelley has been chomping at the bit for us to get for months now:

Raising Sand: a duet album of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss produced by T-Bone Burnett

In a very short review: the album needs to be played loud. Its one you need to listen to more than twice and then it will haunt you. At first, Plant sounded less Zeppeliny than i expected but after a while you recognize the violins of Krauss, her haunting shrills and Plant's mood building swells as part of the old Zepplin greatness. And Krauss' willingness ot bring her whole self into rock-feeling songs like Let Your Love Be Your Lesson, is unmistakably what makes the album work. Two unlikely paired together to remind us why we love them both and to host an entirely different project. But the real flair is Burnett's ability to pull the best repertories for these two.

Here's some lyrics from my favorite song writers who's songs are covered by these two legends:

Passing the hat in church It never stops going round

You never pay just once To get the job done

What I done to me, I done to you, What happened to the trampled rose?"

from trampled Rose by iconoclastic jazz great, Tom Waits. Waits can make anything haunting, but who would have guessed that sweat Alison's voice could be mixed to match Wait's bowed saw and rake.

Standing in my broken heart all night long Darkness held me like a friend when love wore off Looking for the lamb that’s hidden in the cross The finder’s lost…”

from Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us by California female songwriter Sam Phillips (also known in old CCM circles as Leslie Phillips).

Being born is going blind And bowin’ down a thousand times To echos strung on pure temptation

Sorrow and Solitude these are the precious things And the only words worth remembering…”

from Nothin’ by Texas songwriter, Townes Van Zandt

if you have not heard it yet you need to! And if you don't know these two great songwriters, stay tuned I'll post more of their stuff.

Everyday Liturgy interview about city, emergence, and Wendel Berry

I was interviewed by Thomas Turner of Everyday Liturgy, an quarterly journal, about the impact of Wendell Berry on my work as a pastor, community organizer, and artist. I can't believe he used as much of the interview as he did. I'm by no means a literurature critic or expert on Berry. Thanks Thomas for the chance to share my story!

The interview is entitled: The Art of Being in Atlanta

This issue includes other book reviews, several more articles about Berry and great reflection for folks looking to see the beautiful and divine in the everyday. And the previous isue includes interviews with Brian McLaren and a beautiful artful piece by Paul Soupiset.

Connecting...

So, Tom Livengood and folks at The Living Room took the initiative to help people connect to their neighbor in Atlanta. They started by listing agencies they knew of in the atlanta area on a google map. Trey Tucker with Roov.com designed artwork for a re:connect page. And then one of the TLR peeps, Amy Anderson, built this site to facilitate the google map and to introduce folks to Roov.com. "Thank you, Tom, Trey, Amy and others."

www.re-connect.us

The Re:CONNECT weekend was an invention of Nate Ledbetter, Melvine Bray, and Leroy Barber and myself. We wanted folks in Atlanta to meet other people doing justice and to learn about justice/social community work. The weekend rocked! We had a panel discussion on Friday night and the panelists included (I'll add more as I have their blogs):

Rusty Prichard : Evangelical Environmental Network

Mark Anthony: Pastor, Jesus for Justice

Carlos: Mentoring and Public Speaking

Daniel Hombrich: INnocence Atlanta

Nate Ledbetter: Charis Housing

Deborah: Mothers and children

Chris Capehard: ROOV.com

They described their work and they answered questions including:

  1. How do others’ passions contribute to the reach and focus of your ministry?
  2. How do you meet Jesus in doing your work?
  3. What has your work taught you about engaging civil government?
  4. How do local neighbors and the contexts of individual neighborhoods play a roll in the kind of ministry you do?
  5. How do church congregations help or hinder the work you feel called to?

J4P crowds

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shane’s stump speach, complete with the revolutionary’s bullhorn

The next night we had Shane Claiborn, Chris Haw, and Scott and Jay from The Psalters come and perform "Jesus for President." It was an unbelievable synthesis of narative theology, liberation theology, political imagination, and John Howard Yoder with some deep country Tennessee thrown in. I felt like I was simultaniously at a Tom Wait's show, a Toni Morrison poetry reading, Walter Bruggemann seminary class, and post modern theatre. My friends Ryan and Holly Sharp also known as the Cobalt Season, were the artists behind the book design and the multimedia support- they nailed it!

The whole weekend was a huge success. The AJC wrote about it, we had folks from Auburn and Columbia, SC. And we had a huge crew of volunteers from the Atlanta Emergent Cohort, Marietta Presbyterian Church, and Mission Year.

If you're from the ATL go to Re-CONNECT.us and keep the movement going!

Montreat

So, I'm excited to be speaking at a few events at Montreat, NC over the next year. In July of 08 I'll be presenting with Karen Sloan on Emerging Church at the Church Unbound Conference.

And in June 8-11 of 2009 I'll be a keynote at the Alt7 event, as well as presenting there with Adam Walker Cleaveland.

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I look forward to meeting many of you along the way!

alas Pilgrimage to Santa Fe

205768275_eg34.jpg The closest to attending an Emergent thing before the Gathering was a songwriter's conf at Solomon's Porch. So in 20012 when Kelley and I bought plane tickets for Albuquerque it felt like a big leap. I guess that's part of the magic, pilgrimage means going somewhere you haven't before, and it usually takes some extra effort to go on a pilgrimage, and there's that whole mystery thing working for it too.

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We had Eve with us and we crammed into a cabin with some great folks who would turn out to be lifetime friends (cue the Toad the Wet Sprockets tune). It took a few years of that before we felt like we needed a trip like this to keep our blood pumping, to have courage, to risk. it was nothing like those camps that we had all run as college kids and youth pastors. It was lo-fi, it was a place to rest. Around pubs in town and around the lake or the gi-mung-us Bible we learned from each other. We invented book ideas, church ideas, community development ideas, monastic habit ideas... We prayed, and sang, and shared Christ's blood and body, and did yoga, and went to spas, and laughed and drank. It was generative, "producing new possibilities."

About three months post-gathering I had started a cohort at the prompting of Tim Conder. It looked a lot like a gathering, good food and drink, and the kind of environment where the first timer could feel as much a part of things as the guy that called the first meeting. And not long after that we tried to get one of my professors, Walter Brueggemann, to speak at the theological conversation.

And not long after that I was out of Seminary and Kelley and I had no idea what we were going to do: I facilitated a house church that disbanded after 2 years, we lived in a shared community house until they disbanded after 3 years, I managed a small local coffee shop and then it was closed, we bought and home hired contractors and fired them, I became a Sr. Pastor of a Presbyterian church- and was resigned (not de-frocked, just resigned), Kelley started her first business and left it...

So a couple ups and downs!

At each point along the way, pilgrimage to the Gathering held us up. By the end we and the folks in that first cabin we shared were running the gathering like the old camps that we all done in earlier days. And folks were attending looking for that same kind of infrastructure, and we were charging registration in return for that same infrastructure. The whole "producing new possibilities" had fallen off the goals of the event replaced by "producing a program".

We decided that since anyone can build this kind of thing, it ought ot go back to the compost pile for a year to actualy see what others will produce. In fact we decided we would do it this year in our own homes and regions, and take a year off for the big project to settle down. And we might do it again next year. and others are already doing it in their regions. So Gathering is still happening.

To cook up your own gathering just mix up:

1 part safe cheap open place

1 part initiative takers

1 part open posture

1 part generative posture

your own seasoning!

Here's a great slideshow of pics by Paul Soupiset from the last Gathering.

Click here to read my post about the Gathering and the discussion to follow on Emergent Village.

polter abend

Kelley's and mine's friend Uschi Jeffcoat lost her mother to a long battle with cancer. Her mother is German and her family goes there a lot. They make up these hybrids of German experiences and ameri-germanic and one of them is the wedding festival that includes "polter abend" roughly meaning crazy night. At the night of a traditional german wedding people break ceramic and china and scream out blessings and explatives. The occasion of our polter abend was the engagement of Uschi's youngest sister Kristina. It also happened in their mothers' house that they were selling. It was the night after the garage sale. Those plates and figurings that did not sell were animated into the crashing and breaking and drinking and shouting of amy German words we knew. I remember yelling "Jurgen Moultmon" and "gestalt" and "nien." I wish I knew more German!

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GTD

Junk mail not included I get about 50 emails a day... I have about 10 phone calls that lead to an action on my part. I sure you have the same deal or more so. In addition, however, I also pray and play with my family and plant things (that get too little water in this drought) and write and consult... I do get upside down on my commitments from time to time (I just was reminded yesterday of a newsletter that i was supposed to publish months ago), but i get most of these things done because of a elegant and simple system presented by David Allen:

For over a year now I have been working through David Allen's "the Art of Getting things Done" and i am becoming more efficient with my time. Allen teaches that th old idea of "work" with clear boundaries job descriptions and expectations has changed to "knowledge work" (Peter Drucker's concept) requiring a new system to capture all commitments and to manage next actions. He writes:

"There has been a missing piece in our new culture of knowledge work: a system with a coherent set of behaviors and tools that functions effectively at the level at which work really happens. it must incorporate the results of big-picture thinking as well as the smallest of open details. It must manage multiple tiers of priorities. It must maintain control over hundreds of new inputs daily. It must save more time and effort than are needed to maintain it. It must make it easier to get things done" (page 9, GTD)

 

Getting things Done (GTD) is a system with a cult following. I even have a mac program that helps me with this, OmniFocus. Anyway, the GTD peeps, David Allen and company will be hosting a workshop in two weeks, June 10, in Atlanta and the non-profit rate is $387.

Here's his plug for the event.

I'll be there, If you wanna join me be in touch.

oh blessed god

Troyedit2this song is located at iLike the chorus was co-written by Ryan Sharp and Damien O'Farrell.

Here are the lyrics and chords <I fixed some of them today, May 2>:

Oh blessed God (by Bronsink, Sharp)

B E A, B E A,

B E A B E A the fresh spring of everything pouring from your words, “let there be…” B E A B E A the fleshed life of woman and man dancing in the dawn of eden B B/C C#m E A richness of plenty for all the earth a destiny F# A B your-voice walking with them your-song’s cultivating rhythm

(chorus) E E/D# oh blessed god the saving one E/C# B lord, hear our cry to you E E/D# your kingdom come your will be done E/C# B life pouring out of you (pouring out of you)

B E A, B E A

now we fall like trees for missing you and miss the kiss when justice and peace meet too along the hungry and the thirsty streets we see you in the people we meet

our eyes are empty, our stomachs ‘full how long, oh lord, ‘til your world’s made whole? your-voice walking with them our songs, so far from heaven

oh blessed god…

(bridge) C#m C#m/C C#m/B A Put a song in me like you people the streets of history C#m C#m/C C#m/B A Turn me upside by the heart I find in each street I’m walking C#m C#m/C C#m/B A put clothes on shame teach us to sing forgive our sins ‘salvation ring F#m B A ‘salvation ring

(chorus) oh blessed god…

the great easter heist

Melvin and Kelley and I took our kids to the neighborhood egg hunt last Saturday.  It was billed as "Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt Saturday 12-5pm"  We thought, "How can you have a hunt or 5 hours."  So I called the parks and rec person and she verified that hunt would be first thing followed by a cook out and face painting and other games Well we get there at 12 to learn the hunt would not be until 2pm.  But eggs and kids were everywhere.  everyone was wailing at little kids for not controlling themselves and at big kids for–well, not being able to contain themselves either.  After an hour of this Kelley suggested that we make a run for it.  Grabbing the eggs off the hidden far side of the park and continuing to walk home from there.  Melvin thought the idea was genius and so we grabbed the kids hands and never turned back.

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I wonder what the kids thought?  We took this pic and then kept running!

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well out of site, we relaxed for the walk home.

The next day the Brays and Bronsinks were joined by our friends Dawn and Dave for Easter Brunch, sharing songs, reading scripture, and some good ole body prayer.  He is risen!

The story of Stuff

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this is a terrifying quote by economic aid for Eisenhower, Victor Lebow.  the image is form a clever 21 minute film by Annie Leonard called "The Story Of Stuff." 

It is a brilliant critique of the linear system of extraction>production>distribution>consumption>disposal!  You need to give yourself the full 21 minutes to watch it. The only criticism I'd give is that, while light hearted and whimsical, 21 minutes of all bad news can be discouraging.  BUT IT IS DISCOURAGING!  and then the site offers great encouraging ways to get involved.  And thinking in sustainable and relational ways that are not linear begins to seems the best response.

I'll be exploring some issues of sustainability at the Southeastern Regional Emergent Conference

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Here's the description of my breakout group for Sunday afternoon:

Adaptive Re-Use: Using Everything We've Left Behind

As the modern world changes many old buildings, neighborhoods, and consumer products have become neglected and fallen out of use. What do we do with that old warehouse or the huge cast iron vacuum cleaner? Our neighborhood has been asking this very question. Designers, architects, and other artists are responding to this change by learning such arts as adaptive reuse, found art, folk art, and re-design.

What if we used such categories from architecture/design as metaphors to explore sustainable emergent church practices? What if we met the challenges of underutilized church boundaries, values, practices, and assets asking how they could be re-cylced faithfully into materials for the emerging work of the kingdom of God. Can we avoid the wasteful alternatives of abandonment, demolition, or sprawl? Our breakout group will play by exploring an integrated approach to church through these metaphors touching on overviews of missiology, creation theology,

So if your in FL, or planing to be at the event, look me up and we can chat about this.

Church as Art :: conversation continued ::

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Folks from the cohort, and anyone listening in.  What do you think?:

  • god's beauty is unfinished, breaking in and leaving physical proof, artifacts
  • we are the art of god
  • we are the artists commissioned by god
  • we are curators called to be patrons of god's beauty as it breaks in everywhere

We talked about this and more on Tuesday night abut because the group grew to a sprawling 22 we never got to share discussions as a whole group. I'd love to know what you think.

saying goodbye

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After 12 months as designated pastor at Church of St. Andrew,  our shared season has ended. I learned some remarkable things from the beautiful folks there, and made friendships that I hope will continue for years to come.

I have learned the value of focusing on a few understandable good things so that as many folks as possible might join the conversation and participate fully.  I've learned how much space and the ordering of space can create new possibilities.  I've learned that old folks can learn new things, a great 80- year-old friend at church smiled with radiance after a service in which we made space for meditation.  I learned that, even in the suburbs, partnership with neighbors matters deeply!  I learned that everywhere people are thirsty for authentic communities to share faith practices with and a safe place to doubt and be vulnerable.

I've also learned more about my limits.  I am more clearly seeing the strengths I have for orbiting deeply layered institutions and the chaos I bring to my life and others by colluding to those institutions. I am seeing that having a burning passion within me to share the good news with anyone is not the same as being universally qualified to teach the good news with anyone.  Another limit I've learned is that I will always be drawn more deeply to the verbal behavior of being church (ambassadors of reconciliation, harbingers of the kingdom of God, salt, light) than to the proper noun of being declared a church (building, organization, certain cultural authority).  This gives both Kelley and me pause when i consider what is next...

Oh, and I have missed writing music.

I'm sure I'll learn more and reinterpret the above learnings more and more as time passes.  If your reading this as a friend, my deepest need right now is to take time to grieve.  So I welcome the encouragement and prayers that I get off my arse and do that now while things are fresh.

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A  week after the session, and presbytery and I agreed that we were to conclude the contract as designated pastor I was at the former community  house where Kelley, Eve, and I had lives for 3 years.  We looked out at a more-than-60 year-old Water Oak that had just been pruned.  Branches that were no longer nourishing the trunk and no longer being properly nourished by the tree had been carefully removed for the sake of the tree’s health and their home’s safety.  This might be the clearest way to describe what has happened recently with and for St.Andrew’s. 

But with any good metaphor no one thing equals the other. The tree is not the church alone, and the cut branch is not just the change in personnel.  No, the tree is also my family and me,  the Presbytery, and the city of Sandy Springs –even God’s entire World. And there are many branches being addressed in this process. In many ways our family, nourished for quite some time by the members and leadership of COSA, has felt further grafted into our neighborhood and the Presbytery, nourished by them in this process.  And in many ways the session and I, with the help of Presbytery, have seen with clarity where nourishment was taking place and where breaches in trust had caused certain branches not to get sufficient light or nutrition.

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So the habits of grafting, while they do include cutting, are cultivating, generative practices.  I am feeling all sorts of nutrients as our family settles into this new reality.  My imagination is growing because of this all.  New opportunities to create are emerging.  New employment opportunities long range and short range, are presenting themselves.  And great chances to thrive here in Capital View are showing up.  So I hope that the folks at St.Andrews will also be met with the grace of imagination and possibility as they look into the their horizon.

 

hello, again

well:

I have moved my email to .mac and you may have come to this blog to find out who I am (sorry for mass emails) or what we're up to.

Here is a short description:

Kelley and I were married June 1998, moved to Spokane Washington, where I became interested in emerging church paradigms, Presbyterianism, and beauty (Kelley became a speech language therapist- interested in kids and beauty).  We moved back to the south to Atlanta, GA in 2000 for me to attend seminary at Columbia Theological Seminary.  We lived in a mixed income apartment complex in the innercity of Atlanta and fell in love with city life and grew in our appreciation for racial and socioeconomic challenges of the south.

While in seminary we had a beautiful daughter, Eve, who is now four.  After seminary the three of us moved into intentional shared community with two other Christian families with kids.  I traveled/spoke as an emerging church consultant, singer-songwriter, and worked in our neighborhood, Capitol View, as a community organizer and facilitating a house church.

Last summer, I was ordained and a few months later was installed as pastor of Church of St. Andrew, Presbyterian, a 45 year old church in Sandy Springs, on the north end of Atlanta.  I also was published for the fist time in a book by baker pres, "An Emergent Manifesto of Hope." in 2006 Kelley began a scrapbooking/papercraft store with three other friends, oh and we added a Great Dane, Noah, to the mix as well.  After a year of new beginnings and the wearing off of honeymoon phases, I am entering my second year as pastor at St. Andrews and Kelley has left her first business venture to return to her first love as speech therapist.  And this summer we moved down the street from the community house into our first home (owned).

Yesterday was the first day of school, and Eve entered Pre-K at the same school where Kelley teaches.

I'll post some pictures here later this week.  If your an old friend visiting the site, I'd love to hear what you're doing.

Presbymergence?

I recently met up with some great folks in the Presbymergent conversation.  My reformed-ness got the best of me and I started out with a confession:

Sorry to be so late.   I hesitated leaning into this site for many reasons:

The main one being time sensitivity.  While serving as a validated minister inthe PC(USA) for a couple years since seminary, I recently joined my practices with a historied community of Presbyterians 30 minutes north of my neighborhood as their solo-pastor (their's got to be a better word to get this point across).  How I ended up there/here is a conversation for another time.  But the responsibilities of pastoring a redevelopement-transformation congregation on top of buying our first family home (in our old neighborhood), my wife starting a small buisness (scrap booking), and organizing the mainline emergent/s event at Columbia have been about all I've had time for.

The secondary, underlying, reason for my being a late bloomer for Presbymergence, is the suspicion I hold for denominationally centered renewal movements.  I, like many of you, have connected to the PC(USA) late in life for  reasons that I can understand and ones I don't know (how/why God and God's new creation have conspired to bring me here, is still being discovered).  Here are a few I have begun to articulate

1. because of the utility of the reformed articulation of faith practices (tangling Word, Sacrament, & Shape)

2. the polyvalence of a book of confessions (tangling many people/contexts)

3. the dialectical tension between tradition's handing over of belief and the openness of conscience (tangling past/future with the need to act generatively now)

But I must confess I'm brutally pragmatic about these things.  I'm not so sure that being tangled to some "good thing" that does not accomplish its end, is actually that "good". At the Mainline Emergent/s thing I learned a bit more about this.  We Presbyterians PC(USA)ers share many of the same blind spots and benfitted from Cooperative Baptist Fellows and Episcopalians, etc sitting next to us.  I also learned that all the fruit the Mainline Emergent/s event brought, was intended for then; for that day/week/season.  The future of missional communities in the way of Jesus will continue to necessitate the cross-pollination of the institutionally encrusted and naive, but cannot center on the cross-breading of the two.  Emergence implies a comming anticipated newness, not a calculated hybrid.  And so to preserve the generative and timely ethos of the Mainline Emergent/s event risks forming yet one more special interest group within the denomination and risks totalizing the naive or encrusted.  In short, our dreams and realtionships get tangled up in helping the church, instead of edifying the church in her task to join the transformation of God's world.

In the seven months I've been at Church of St. Andrew I have  begun to learn the need for my colleagues here to know what will happen to their our thing.  The existence of an established entity creates an inertia toward seeking the future of its establishment.  The church, PC(USA) included, must continually give itself away to God's creation, as Christ has for us all.

BUT, I've been reading the site and enjoy what I see.  I am usually the last kid to jump in the pool or the river, but eventually I get in all the way and laugh and play. So, all that being said, I'm in.  I hope that we can together seek the future of Presbyterianism God's creation, utilizing all of creation the reformed tradition that can be of help- and not the other way around.

I'm still making sense of the various worlds in which I find myslef.