August 2014
Ekklesia Project News


In This Issue


Gathering 2014


Pics and Podcasts from the Gathering




Signs of the Times


Meet the EP


Visit the

Ekklesia Project Website  


the EP
Gathering 2014

But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you  . . .  
Job 12: 7-8

Tilling and Keeping: A Report on Gathering 2014

Ragan Sutterfield


In July we gathered to explore our call to "till and keep" the very good creation of God. Over 140 participants gathered in Chicago, traveling from California to New York.  There were a record number of first timers at the gathering this year-new friends that we hope will continue to join us. 


Our three plenary speakers guided our conversations at the gathering.  First was Norman Wirzba, who renewed our understanding of the very good creation and called us away from the language of "nature" that obscures our view of a world to which God has already given value.  Second, was Ched Myers who called us to learn our watersheds and place our discipleship within our local ecosystems. Third, we heard from Philip Bess who led us through an exploration of how we might imagine a city such as Chicago or the space of a church campus as a more human scaled and ecological space.  In addition to our plenary speakers we had a number of excellent workshops exploring climate conversations in the church, green burials, poetry, local activism, and craft. 


To read the rest click here. 


Pictures and Podcasts: Gathering 2014 


Pictures from the gathering are on Facebook. If you have more pictures to add, please feel free to put them up on the Facebook page. Podcasts of the plenaries, sermons and some of the workshops are on the schedule page from the Gathering, found here.

bLOGOS this Week

The Self Under Attack
Mark Ryan

We live in times of anxiety about identity. Philosopher Charles Taylor suggests that modern people are especially pressed to play some active role in determining who we are. We construct our identities not only in conversation with others, though this is an important part of the process. We are also involved in a "self-conversation," as the story of our lives will often be an uneasy weaving of various threads. These threads are born out of the transitions of our attachments and allegiances over time. Moreover, some new threads will be defined by overcoming earlier ones-i.e., the new, fit, and productive me supersedes the lazy couch potato.


How these threads remain together may itself be an important moral task, a task of proper story construction, or integrity. We face a great temptation to protect our identities against attack. It's a strange war we wage when fighting for our identities, for we project outward a war raging within. It is difficult to locate one's enemies in such confusion. For instance, I was raised in a Catholic church, a tradition from which I was in a sense orphaned (or, at least, put up for foster care). Later on, I was taken in by a Protestant community. How do I narrate that story? Dark to light? We are tempted, even here, to do violence to ourselves.


To read the rest click here.

Signs of the Times
Posts by EP friends and endorsers, reflecting on discipleship and Christian witness in the times in which we live.

Airbnb, Hospitality, and the Gift Economy
Chi-Ming Chien

It's ironic that, as we participate in the sharing economy, more and more of our lives get ceded over to the domain of the transactional. Where previously we might have a couch or spare room for a guest to crash in, now we rent it out. Where previously we might have offered an unused desk space in our office for a friend needing a place to work, now we list it and charge by the hour or by the day. Where previously (in antiquity, it seems...) we might have given someone a lift if we were headed their direction, now we charge for a Lyft. Interestingly enough in Lyft's case, what started off as a suggested donation has moved toward fixed charges as the service has matured.

The core issue, as I see it, is that despite our best efforts, we continually get bent toward relationships characterized by transaction or exchange- what Jacques Ellul, the French sociologist and theologian, calls the Law of Money.

To read the whole post click here.
Meet the EP

Meet Heather Bunce - one of our new EP Board Members!  Heather and Ryan are happily married with two children. Their daughter, Shelby, is 11 and son, Riley, is 9. They live in Lansing, Michigan where they are members of their house-church, Delta Community Christian Church. Heather teaches part-time at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, MI after having completed a Masters degree in biblical studies in 2012 that was partly inspired by conversations that began at EP. She especially enjoys teaching Biblical Hebrew. Heather first started attending EP in 2007, a couple of years after others in her church discovered the conference. She has developed relationships through EP both with people who identify with her Church of Christ/Christian Church background and those who bring the richness of other traditions. She first met members of Englewood Christian Church at EP and was excited to discover others from her tradition who were also developing practices of radical discipleship in their community. That relationship has flourished, as have many others as she continues to meet new people at EP to share her story and listen to the stories of others.