Saturday, August 13, 2005

Post-Kings Head Pub

During last night's King's Head theology pub, it occurred to me that I started this blog two years ago today. Which of course led to another "toast" around the table -- predominantly Guinness, with a few drinking other, lesser brews.

It was amazing to see how quickly people who had never met before -- including Norm, who just showed up hoping to spot the theology freaks (not hard, apparently) -- just began talking together, sharing their stories. We were one of the loudest tables in terms of laughter in the pub that night.

At one point, I was asked, "When things go bad, how do you keep from losing your faith?" The level of vulnerability and openness was incredible. I was also privileged to hear bits and pieces of other's journeys (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and again, the vulnerability and openness was quite profound.
Emerging Grace had asked us yesterday, "How do you envision a more missional or emerging church expression?"

When I posed this question to the entire group, Ken (The Reluctant Blogger) suggested, "It looks just like this." Meaning a group of Christians sitting around a pub table, with Guinness, being authentic and honest with each other, and enjoying friendship and talking about God.

Optional addition: Jamie Arpin-Ricci chimed in that a few Canadians (the people, not the beer) should ideally be a part of any grouping, while Dan-D suggested that the beer should be required to be Guinness, or at least a Canadian brew (apparently, the conventional wisdom is that "American beer" is an oxymoron).
There was some discussion about Emergent Canada starting up, which Jamie and the Tall Skinny Kiwi had already started blogging about. We bounced the topic around for awhile, and came up with this:
  1. We're all in favour of the expanding conversation in Canada, which Jordon Cooper has been trying to faciliate through Resonate.ca for over a year already.

    Jordon has wisely recognized the regional diversity of Canada makes a unified, national voice difficult, so he's been encouraging people to gather regionally as they see fit. Regionalism in Canada is much more pronounced that in the USA, and so while Emergent Canada is great as a resource and sounding board, the various regions of Canada will likely have a fairly strong regional voice amongst themselves.
  2. There was concern over "franchising" or "branding". We all had generally positive opinions of the work that Emergent Village US and Emergent UK are doing, but a sticking point was "paying for friendship" -- you have to make donations to Emergent Village to be a part of the conversation, which hasn't gone over that well with quite a number of people. The concensus seemed to be that if Emergent simply asked for donations (perhaps through a PayPal link on their site), people would be willing to help out as they could, but the idea that donations were required for "friendship" wasn't as appealing.
  3. The most important piece, for me at least, was that we need to reaffirm a commitment, as bloggers, to being in conversation with each other. The sudden appearance of Emergent Canada caught many off-guard, and the question that seemed to sum it up was, "Who are these guys, anyway? Have any of us heard of them, or have they been in the conversation already?"
When we finally left (around midnight), there was a general feeling of "this was a great first outing -- let's do it again!", which I'm sure Brother Maynard, having survived with his secret identity intact, would be willing to help facilitate (he's downstairs wanting coffee right now, so I'll "recruit" him before leaving town on Monday).

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