Tuesday, October 06, 2009

boston's emergent cohort is meeting tonight at 7 p.m.

the cohort is convening at uno's in porter square (820 somerville ave, cambridge. adjacent to the porter square stop) to discuss the nature of evangelism in a postmodern context.

if you read books like mclaren's more ready than you realize or a new kind of christian you'll quickly realize that re-contextualizing evangelism* was one of the original impetuses of the conversation's development. in the last few years evangelism has continued to be a vital issue as friends-cum-critics such as mark driscoll have accused emergent folk of failing to produce evangelistic fruit and others such as dan kimball and scot mcknight have started new conversations such as the origins project that are more focused on proclamation and evangelism.

so the form and function of evangelism in a pluralistic context has and continues to play and important role in the emergent conversation. i hope you can join us tonight to dig into these matters a bit.

as an added bonus, unos at porter square is so cool that occasionally jungle jim is there twisting balloons for family night. so, if you come out for the conversation, you might go home with a special surprise!

* along with, let's face it, a shared loathing of the mega-church

Monday, October 05, 2009

celebrate halloween by serving beside the gathering

this october over 500,000 people will visit salem, massachusetts to party with friends, trample in and out of tourist traps and revel in the festival. for the past 10 years the gathering has crashed the party by blessing the city in any number of ways.

although the gathering is a small church with a big mission, we are fortunate to have a hundred or so volunteers who help us greet our guests and share the beauty, truth and goodness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a number of simple, and sometimes unexpected, ways. we would love to have you serve beside us this october.

since you asked, here's how you can help!

1. if you love hot dogs, costumes, carnivals and kids* join us for children's day on saturday, october 10th.

for the past seven years we have partnered with dominos pizza to run children's day on salem common. since the day offers a variety of free entertainment, $1 hot dogs and a massive costume contest, 3-5,000 families will join us on the common between 9 and 5 p.m. since children's day is one of the most affordable city-wide events many low-income families join us every year. since the costume contest is kickin' and the event corresponds with columbus day weekend** and the chamber of commerce's huge bizarre bizaar*** extravaganza, this is an event you should not miss. we need volunteers to help from 8 am to 5 pm. (virtually) any amount of time you can give will help. indicate interest by emailing pastor phil at pastorphil@salemgathering.com.

2. got hot chocolate? we do and we're going to serve up 10,000 fair-trade certified cups of it during the last three weekends of halloween.

we've been welcoming guests to our city with free hot chocolate for years,**** but this is the first year that our hot chocolate will be completely slave-free. if you want to volunteer to run the kerosene burner and serve up our completely h1 n1 free hot chocolate during the following weekend days 17-18, 24-25 or 30-31, please email jeff gentry at gentry13@gmail.com. if you would like to help us off-set the cost of the fair trade cocoa and cut a year off your stay in purgatory you can donate on the paypal site at http://www.salemgathering.com/. just be sure to mention that your $ are for hot chocolate.

3. harboring a secret monk fetish? monk up and bless people throughout the city of Salem!

we've been ripping off don miller for years by offering reverse confessions and walking through the city streets 2 x 2 offering free blessings to strangers. you would not believe how ready people are to let you lay hands upon them***** or listen to the failures of the church. times are flexible, robes****** are provided, times are flexible and training will be provided. contact gentry13@gmail.com for more info.

4. love music and have some skillz? please help run our soundboard!

we run the largest stage in salem during the 17-18, 25-25 and 30-31 weekends and we need able hands to assist with the board. email pastorphil@salemgathering.com for more info.

5. hate slavery? help not for sale run their death by chocolate experience.

on friday the 30 and saturday the 31st not for sale are going to invite people into the gathering's historic lower vault for a free fair trade chocolate tasting. after being locked in the vault the not for sale folks will introduce guests to the reality of the modern slave trade and challenge them to take a stand by buying fair trade and speaking on behalf of those who have no voice. email gentry13@gmail.com for more info.

6. like to pray? 24/7 prayer is helping us host 24 hours of prayer on oct. 30 and 31st.

if you would like to lay claim to an hour-long slot on either of those days, please email gentry13@gmail.com.

7. want to interpret dreams, offer readings from the Jesus deck, give spiritual readings or participate in another form of subversive spiritual counseling? attend pastor phil's haunted happening training on saturday october 24th from 12 - 2 p.m.

for $10******* you'll get an introduction to alternative spiritualities, a detailed ministry in salem survival guide and the tools you'll need to be a blessing (instead of a curse) to people who are earnestly searching for some good in the world. after you're training you'll be ready to dive in to the busiest two weekends of the halloween season and hopefully serve beside us for many years to come.

i've been serving beside the gathering for five halloweens now. during that time, serving on the streets has gone from an idea i could hardly fathom******** to an yearly experience i cannot miss. i hope that a few of you choose to join us this year. if you have questions, comments or a couple of c-notes you would like to donate to the gathering, please let me know.

* though not necessarily in that order.
** every year i suggest that we should introduce a moment of silence to remember the introduction of syphilis to the new world. every year the church council votes my idea down.
*** no longer called that for copyright reasons i could care less about.
**** though this practice sometimes p.o.s the vendors, the guests love it.
***** not like that, single seminarians!
****** except for my robe, which was consecrated commando.
******* which i've heard is short money in the education world.
******** since, although i'm from the street, i've never been the street ministry kind of guy.

when i was growing up, i didn't want to be a preacher, i wanted to be a politician. for that reason, i took latin, paged in the state senate, read the contract with america, refrained from excessive use of psychotropic drugs, set my sites on law school and tried to seduce women.

even after a challenging day - like yesterday was on many levels - in ministry, i cannot comprehend the ambitions of my youth. last time i checked, i am one of the most impolitic people on the planet, abhor party lines and do not own a stars and stripes lapel pin.

for these reasons among many others i would have made a horrible politician. cheers to the Lord who determines the steps.