Monday, June 25, 2007

Organic Church Conversation followup and more GA

I had a great time talking with folks, and especially my co-panelist Susan Smith, about this thing we do called organic. emergent, etc. at the General Assembly workshop in Portland this past Saturday. Hello to any from there who are coming to the blog after first hearing about it at the conversation. Always wish we had a full afternoon or day. Most of the folks there, some 90 percent, raised hands when asked if they were born before 1963 and hence had the churched culture image of church as their default mode, the rest were born between 1963 and 1975, and none were there who were born after 1975 (maybe they were out doing organic stuff besides sitting and talking in a workshop! I hope so). But people were receptive, if left dazed, about what all church could be and still be church.

So much I wish I had said. Thanks for the questions which always help me to better understand myself and my ideas anyway. I will try to get to them in the weeks ahead as I return after vacation.

But one question and conversation in some depth afterwards led me to wanting to emphasize something here, especially for any who were at the GA event and heard me talk about what we do now through "a third place" and the Living Room Church, and why: The other default mode that most people had at the meeting that we didn't expose at the time was the default mode of the demographics that go into people's idea of UU church. One questioner was wondering about the emphasis on service and mission and the assumption was that so many church members are already doing that, and what they need is a focus on religious matters to help sustain them what they are already doing. This was afterwards. It dawned on me that no, my folks in at least this first site in our poly-site vision, do not do this already. They aren't the typical church volunteer of the 50s through 70s. They aren't involved in service, in other volunteer groups, and they for the most part don't have the disposable money and disposable time that perhaps the demographically typical UU church does; they don't feel their own power in engaged community service; they aren't cultural creatives; they don't have college educations, or not yet. I think that this approach does work with the typical UU demographics, but it is a good question in that context, and I have written elsewhere on this post about the difficulties inherent in church planting among the better educated and the more well-off financially. Just wanted to add this in as a continuation of the conversation started at the meeting.

Speaking of GA, the Kathleen Norris lecture was tremendous. Great apologetics in a humorous vein, in a moving spiritual vein, and a great turn-out. She said it was one of her largest audiences ever. The communion service the day before is still being talked about, as is the mini-Revival hymn sing the night before.

Go to the GA section of the site and you ought to be able, or will be soon, to order the tapes of all the GA programs sponsored by the UUCF. Since I am on vacation if someone wants to find the link and post it here as a comment, go ahead.

Also, if anyone knows anyone on the UUA Board and knows what action was taken on Monday by them in regards to the applications for the Independent Affiliate statuses, please let me know too even by email at End