The Ekklesia Project

   October 2009   

Local and regional Conversations About God;s Economy

Meet the EP: Heather Carlson

Book Review; "The Myth of Religious Violence" by William Cavanaugh

Christian Seasons Calendar 09-10

First Announcement: Gathering 2010

New on bLOGOS:

Thanks, but No Thanks
by Kyle Childress
Job 23: 1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22: 1-15; Hebrews 4: 12-16; Mark 10: 17-31

best practices
Some Pastoral Reflections on Planning (and Its Opposite)
by Mike Bowling

The Unknowable Shape of Things to Come
by Brian Volck
Is 53:4-12; Heb 4:14-16 (Catholic), 5:1-10 (Revised Common); Mark 10:35-45

Local and Regional Conversations about God's Economy
Gathering 2009 fostered enough conversation about living God's economic vision that we pledged to try to continue with local conversations in the fall.  Conversations are being held as follows. Click on the hot links to contact the local host about your interest in attending. All are free, except for the exciting conference being held at Englewood Christian Church. 
Nov. 13-14  Through the Consuming Fire: Economic Faithfulness in an age of Consumerism  Englewood Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN
Nov. 14 10am-3pm, Christ Church, Des Moines, IA, contact host Michael Gulker 
November 22, 6:30pm, Dale Ziemer will host at his home in Palatine (for the greater Chicago area)

Any Thursday evening, Joey Aszterbaum welcomes you for conversation at the farm in San Jacinto, CA.

Jenny Williams invites people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia (and surrounding areas, depending on how far you want to travel!) to contact her if you are interested in gathering for conversation.  Jenny will work with those interested to arrange a mutually acceptable time for all to meet.  When you contact her, please suggest some questions or topics you would like to pursue in conversation.  Please contact her by November 15, 2009.

 If you attended Gathering 2009 and would like to host a conversation in your area, please contact Brent Laytham.
HeatherMeet the EP: Heather Carlson

Heather and Jason Carlson, along with their two children, traveled from their Canadian home to attend Gathering '09.  They have recently relocated a good deal further north.  Heather, who is joining the editorial team of the EP Newsletter, introduces herself in these words:

In 2007 I was pastoring a United Church of Canada congregation in northern Alberta with a scarcity of colleagues in either proximity or theology.  Janice Love & Ed Searcy (mentors from seminary days), who had been collaborating with Mike Budde on a project, decided to check out the EP "Congregational Formation" Gathering (our shared passion) and invited me along.  It took little time to realize I'd found a gathering of pilgrim companions.

This spring my husband Jason (computer programmer) and I both felt God calling us to leave our respective work.  So we resigned... and prayerfully awaited the next step. This fall sees us settling into the controversial oil based resource community of Fort McMurray, AB. We're at the other end of the pipeline that probably does, or will,
supply your fuel.  Jason is the information technology manager at a new recreation facility and I am learning to be a full time homemaker (our children Timothy (5) and Lydia (1) were with us at the 2009 gathering).

We are currently worshiping with a Christian Reformed congregation and continue to stay up into the wee hours of the night talking ecclesiology and discipleship.  In many ways it is a surprise to be planted here, so amid the transition we are seeking to be attentive to the prompting of God to serve.

myth of violence The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict William T. Cavanaugh.  Oxford University Press, 2009. 
Reviewed by Jake Wilson
That religion is violent seems to be a given.  In the past month, each time I told a parishioner that I was reading a book called 'The Myth of Religious Violence' I was met with the same blank stare. 'The Myth?' they would ask?  Who would doubt that religion is prone to violence? The evidence seems to be on every nightly news program.
In his latest book William Cavanaugh challenges the claim that religion is prone to violence.  Rather than attempting to demonstrate that religion is non-violent, Cavanaugh goes to the source of the myth, the modern distinction between religious and secular phenomena.  The book begins by reviewing nine prominent proponents of the idea that religion is given to violence and finds that each argument fails to adequately name the distinction between religious and secular violence.  Cavanaugh goes on to critique the commonly accepted concept of religion as transcultural and transhistorical by providing a history of the concept from its medieval origins to the modern west. 
Since September 11th 2001 a host of bestselling authors have benefited from a nearly universal agreement that religion is prone to violence.  This book is not meant to capitalize on that fervor or defend religion against its despisers.  The Myth of Religious Violence portrays some forms of violence as essentially irrational while distracting attention from and at the same time legitimizing secular violence which is deemed necessary, rational, and in many cases laudable.  For those interested in exploring the history and the consequences of our current discourse on religion and violence, this book is a must read. 

Salt of the Earth - A Christian Seasons Calendar 2009-2010

Once again our friends at University Hills Congregation in Vancouver are offering their beautiful calendar of the Christian seasons.  This unique calendar opens with the season of Advent and turns not with the twelve months but with the rhythm of the Christian seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and the Season after Pentecost, providing an opportunity to "live into" the Christian liturgical calendar.  To learn more or order copies, visit the calendar web site.
Gathering 2010
This just in: Gathering 2010 will be titled "And God Said: Language, Wordcare and Radical Discipleship." Confirmed plenary speakers include Therese Lysaught, Steve Long and Barry Harvey. Look for more information next month, including (we hope) the exact dates.  We do expect it to be held in Chicago in early July.