The Ekklesia Project
October Newsletter
   October 31, 2008    
In this issue....

The Politics of Fear

Meet the EP

Christian Calendar

The EP Forums

Book Notes

                              Scott Bader-Saye

"Stirring up fear in the U.S. electorate is about as American as baseball in October." 

So begins The Other Journal's recent interview with EP-er Scott Bader-Saye, author of Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (Brazos, 2007), one of the most recent books in the EP's The Christian Practice of Everyday Life series.  Check out the interview for Scott's reading of the current presidential campaign, and browse the rest of this month's edition of The Other Journal for timely reflections on "The Politics of Change."

As always, we invite you to take a few minutes to visit the EP weblog, bLOGOS, where Jessie Larkins, Debra Dean Murphy, Brian Volck, and Joel Shuman continue to post insightful reflections on recent political and economic events.

Nancy Varden                   MEET THE EP

John Varden, a participant in the EP since 2002, and his wife Nancy Johnston Varden, a recent endorser of EP, are both United Methodist ministers serving in North Carolina.  John is currently serving a small rural church near Pittsboro, NC while Nancy serves on the clergy staff at a suburban church in Cary, NC.  With these ministries, as well as young children (Virginia age 5 and Hannah age 2, plus the shock of learning another one is on the way!) life for John and Nancy can be quite a ride.   John found EP to be a lifeline after September 11, 2001, when he needed the friendship of like-minded pilgrims in a world mad with war and patriotism.  Nancy officially became an endorser this summer, when the annual gathering spoke to her heart for racial justice and reconciliation.  

A valuable aspect of EP for both John and Nancy is the dialog across denominational lines.  They get their fill of Methodist gatherings, and have discovered that they need the expanded view of faith and faithfulness provided by Ekklesia.


University Hill Congregation in Vancouver is pleased to announce that  the 2008-2009 "Salt of the Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar" is now available.  The Christian Seasons Calendar tells the story of the Christian Year through scripture, liturgical color and artworks.  Beginning with Advent and turning with the seasons of Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter & Pentecost. This annual re-telling and re-living of the narrative of the gospel is a powerful teaching resource for discipleship.

This 8th edition of the Christian Seasons Calendar includes: 
* the work of four gifted contemporary artists -- 
Kirsten Malcolm Berry, Linda Witte Henke, Vanessa Wright Hollifield & Janet McKenzie;
* descriptions of each of the traditional Christian seasons;
* large format - 18" x 11" when open; and
* scripture readings for each Sunday in year B of the revised common lectionary.

Order online or by phone at 604-696-1295.

"Few things are more important for Christians today than reclaiming the calendar as our time.  This wonderful calendar helps us do that by reminding us that we are constituted by the narrative  that is quite different from Canadian or American national holidays. What a wonderful gift this calendar is and makes." -- Stanley Hauerwas    


Actually...they've been back for quite a while, as almost 80 EP endorsers have discovered.  But for those of you who have been waiting for the Forums to return to the EP website, please take this opportunity to check them out and launch a discussion.  We are working through Google Groups, which allows added flexibility and ease of use.  To access the Forums, go to the main EP webpage and click on the "log-in" link in the top lefthand corner.  This will take you to a Google Groups page that will ask you to sign in.  You will need to select a username (an email address that you are already using) and a password. There is no need to join via a gmail account, though you will see this as an option.  If you have any questions about accessing the forums, please contact Zach Kincaid.  If you have any questions about what's going on in the forums themselves, please contact Gary Wake.

And thanks to Denise, Heather, Jessie, and zok, who have begun to converse with the bLOGOS writers using the "Comments" feature of the new website.  Posting a comment is easy.  Just email Zach Kincaid and ask him to set you up.

EP Book Notes
from Jon Stock

Those of you who have heard Bill Cavanaugh speak at the annual gathering know that he is a poignant and effective communicator. Last spring Bill published Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire. This collection of Bill's essays does not disappoint.

Among other things Cavanaugh discusses how God, in the Eucharist, forms us to consume and be consumed rightly. Examining pathologies of desire in contemporary "free market" economies, Being Consumed puts forth a positive and inspiring vision of how the body of Christ can engage in economic alternatives. At every turn, Cavanaugh illustrates his theological analysis with concrete examples of Christian economic practices. (Eerdmans)

Bruce Benson and Peter Heltzel have edited a new volume with Brazos entitled Evangelicals and Empire: Christian Alternatives to the Political Status Quo. With contributions by Jim Wallis, James K.A. Smith, John Milbank and others, it is sure to be engaging and provocative.

The collection considers empire from a global perspective, exploring the role of evangelicals in political, social, and economic engagement at a time when empire is alternately denounced and embraced. (Brazos)

Longtime EP endorser and current board member Barry Harvey has provided us with a new volume entitled Can These Bones Live? A Catholic Baptist Engagement with Ecclesiology, Hermeneutics, and Social Theory.

"Harvey contends that free churches in North America, and throughout the world, do not merely exist in a state of division. Like the dry bones of Ezekiel's vision, they lie scattered and lifeless. This book constructively shows how to understand what it might mean for Christ's dismembered body to be re-membered." - Curtis Freeman (Brazos)

Followers of Christian Peacemaker Teams will be interested to know that Kathleen Kern's history of the CPT, In Harm's Way is just few days away from publication with Cascade Books. (Wipf and Stock)

Brent Laytham's God is Not... volume is gaining a companion in January. The new volume includes contributions from EP members Kelly Johnson, Jason Byassee, Joel Shuman and Dan Bell. (Brazos)


In the EP's early years, new endorsers were specifically asked to support the EP with our tithes.  Or at least I was; maybe I looked gullible.  In terms of total financial stewardship the annual gift my spouse and I make to the EP is a modest one, but those are dollars we give very gladly.  I therefore find it surprising that only a minority of endorsers and friends support the EP financially.   Perhaps it is because the EP's overall budget is not large and our most significant annual event -- The Gathering -- is designed to pay its own way.  Or perhaps it is because no one has asked you to include the EP in your financial stewardship.  If so, consider that oversight corrected.  We should give to the EP for the same reason we give to our local churches -- not because "we need to make the budget!" (throughout my years in parish ministry I tried, not always with perfect success, to keep that theologically bankrupt theme out of my stewardship sermons).  Rather we should give because we are grateful people who believe that the EP glorifies the Triune God and is working God's purpose in a fallen world.

John McFadden