Saturday, February 27, 2010

on emergent

on this week's studio 360 kurt anderson explored tino sehgal's provocative new exhibition at the guggenheim in new york.

as visitors enter the exhibition at the bottom of the frank lloyd wright rotunda a young child asks them a simple question, "what is progress?" the viewers either enter the conversation or they don't and they continue up the ramp. further up the ramp the viewers have the opportunity to dialog about the topic with a teenager, an adult and a senior citizen.

as anderson described the exhibition, i couldn't help but think that sehgal's work reminds me of the emergent conversation at its best. although we often meet in spaces far less inspiring than the guggenheim - uno's in porter square anyone? - we too walk together, explore the significant questions of existence with people who were once strangers and, yes, sometimes find ourselves walking in circles.

over the last couple of days i've told anyone who's interested that i think - to rip-off a current book title - emergent is an orientation. after listening to studio 360 i'm starting to think that emergent can be an exhibition as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


this is one of my favorite ablevision pieces ever! don't miss this opportunity to expand your understanding of gimp beyond the boundaries of pulp fiction and be truly inspired.

little p loves this piece as well. he keeps saying "more dancing, daddy."

wise lent suggestions for the "evangelicals discovering liturgy crowd."

ht: mother beth
an invitation to communion

maybe it's just lent, but lately i have felt the urge to pray with people and privately much more often.

the last fourteen years of my life - i can't believe it has been that long since i dedicated my life to following Christ - have been characterized by acquisition, application and proclamation of propositions. although i spent some time in the prayer closet at soybean and occasionally led lunchtime prayer at s.h.i.t., most of the time i was buried in the library discovering propositions or sitting down with others to smash our propositions against each other and see what was left standing.

i don't regret (most of) the time i invested in that process, since these propositions have helped give shape and a semblance of direction to my faith. however, it seems to me that a life primarily dedicated to the promulgation of propositions is unlikely to increase communion between individuals, within communities and between adherents of different faiths.

for this reason, i am trying to invest more of my life in prayer and the spiritual practices. on a practical level, i have found that prayer is one of the primary ways i can serve my extended family. years of experience have taught me that sharing unrequited propositions with loved ones is often a road to conflict and separation. however, there is something about the practice of prayer that binds people - even proponents of adversarial propositions and life practices - together.

so many of my mentors - st. francis, henri nouwen, jean vanier and neal windham* - were brilliant men who are known more for their embodiment than their proclamation of the faith. i long to follow in their footsteps.

* jeez, i need to add a woman to add to that list!

Monday, February 22, 2010

check it out...

a church in the stone-
campbell tradition for sheep like me. i'm encouraged by the work of pub church and will definitely visit at some point in the near future.

i'd also like to note that the dugout is the new gathering place for the boston emergent cohort. for more info about the cohort, join the facebook group or email

if pastors' conferences were solely committed to repentance and prayer i might occasionally attend.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


i dedicated the majority of the weekend to dave eggers' zeitoun, a third-person journalistic narrative that that is eggers' most heartbreaking work of staggering genius yet.

abdulrahman zeitoun - a syrian immigrant, successful contractor, dedicated husband & father of four - remained in new orleans during katrina in order to care for his business and protect the family home. in the days that follows he uses a second hand canoe and his dwindling resources to rescue the stranded, care for the abandoned and intentionally embody the mercy of God.

when the government that is unable to serve citizens in distress proves perfectly capable of indiscriminate condemnation, zeitoun endures a storm he never saw coming. .

this is a remarkable story of the experiences that bind us together and the fear that tears us apart. highly, highly recommended.