Tuesday, December 26, 2006


It occurs to me, so much recently, the need for the tribal in postmodern culture and interactions, and therefore a must in Christianity. This need seems to be true despite varied personalities, and dispositions. One doesn’t merely need a tribe because one is gregarious and outgoing.

Tribe is meant here as Dictionary.com describes it in the 8th, but more like the 9th definition.
8. a class or set of persons, esp. one with strong common traits or interests.
9. a large family.

Whether persons possess introverted or extroverted qualities, the need for tribal-style belonging is incredibly strong. Social interactions are increasingly dependent on this cultural binding, like a kind of glue in the fabric of new societal norms. It’s “the café factor” if you will. The pub, the water hole, the hub, of cultural life. But not merely to be a commons area, but in fact, a “home”. In my observations, family or tribal elements are qualities of emergent-like groups springing up around the country, and within subgroups in certain mainline churches.

It’s important to realize what “needing a tribe” means. It is not merely an association, or fraternal tendency. The need for tribal belonging is what a generation babysat by the television, shuffled from parent to parent, and picking up and moving every few years in modern society, craves. They crave family as it is intended to be, for humans existing as relational creatures. I contend it is crucial for spiritual maturity, and even belief. More than any other recent era, the need to belong before one believes is a prevailing experiential phenomenon.

If our bodies of Believers cannot or do not make tribal belonging available to outsiders, they will end up in a generation or two, as part of the history of Christendom. The history that involves an imploded city on a hill that became only an incestuous (if you will) fortress against any outside it’s wall. These will cease to be desirable to the spiritually thirsty. Those who offer tribe, then, offer life. The life is perhaps then, family life.

More on what trbial belonging is coming soon...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Emerging Christmas Traditions?

This year retails stores will see a boost in sales. Folks will purchase many gifts for the season. PlayStation 3 game systems will sell for over a grand, but how are we doing as Christians at Christmas? Are emergent Christians, and other authentic Christians, making a dent in any social causes, local, national, or international? Do Christian even give a crap? Or do we just care about what finds it way under our trees- The lovely blood diamond jewelry, or the kitchen appliance we don’t really need. Or, are we thinking about if the kids are getting what they asked Santa for?

It’s really sort of sickening that we are consumed by stuff, and our many resources are used to get more stuff, when people down, in Darfur, for instance, are dying in the worst genocide since the Rwanda ordeal.

Where are the Christians in these things? Are they all shopping? Does George Clooney have to do this “dirty work” for us? There’s nothing like gratuitous excess to get some bah humbug out of me at this time of year. I’m not saying gifts are bad. I’m just saying, when will enough be enough. When as Christians we can start caring about the hurting and dying people out there, more than the self-righteous movie stars seem to care about them? The “least of these” don’t even get a second thought, as we scarf down cookies, tear open gifts, and conduct our shopping marathons for Jesus’ birthday. Yuck.

If you’ve helped the poor or hurting this season, drop a comment and tell us about this kind of MEANINGFUL holiday tradition, I’d love to hear about it. If you haven’t, why on earth not?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pa satellite broadcasts

Hope Community E.C. Church, Fogelsville, invites you to share in the following CCN.tv satellite broadcasts:

Tuesday, December 5, 7:30-8:30 p.m., “Non Commercial Thoughts on Christian Spirituality” with Donald Miller, author of “Blue Like Jazz” – this broadcast examines the ways commercial culture affects Christian spirituality
Thursday, December 7, 11:30 am-1:00 pm, “Off-Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders” (Dr. Earl Creps, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary director of Doctor of Ministry program shows how God reshapes the interior world to form a missional heart (pastors and ministry leaders should attend)
a very special broadcast, part of a once a month series, Thursday, December 7, 7:30-8:30 pm, “Beyond the Cosmos: Origin of the Universe”, with Dr. Hugh Ross, as he shows how discoveries in extra-dimensional realities support some of the Bible’s paradoxes, i.e., how God can listen to all our prayers at the same time, how can God be both singular and plural, and how can God foreknow and yet grant free will.

church site: www.wearehopechurch.org
phone 610-285-6967

Pastors are invited, and for appropriate broadcasts, so are lay participants from area church to share in these broadcasts freely. If you know you are coming, please give us an idea, so we can “turn the lights on and have the coffee ready.” For further detail about the broadcasts, check the CNN.tv website for further information about the broadcast schedule.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Quick thought

The amazing thing about Jesus, and therefore God, it that he was always taking human contrivances, and turning them upside down to show us the Higher Way.

Humility is oddly that higher way.

The sooner we get this the better. Possibly, the less we are in the mold of what the world values... being gorgeous or macho, having money, being independent, having a awesome job, etc., the more likely we are to “get it”, that is, understand what Jesus main message was… “be like me”.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Why do we worship?

I'm writing an article right now about prayer and the tempests of life.

It strike me in our postmodern world, the excruciating selfishness of our paradigm. So often we pray for needs. How little we tell God who he is. He is more than worthy of our worship and praise. We worship him in prayer, song, and just living with him in the forefront of our minds, because, to put it simply, HE IS GOD.

Here is a wee excerpt of an upcoming article. (read in progress)

Prayers of worship, praise, and thanksgiving are not something we do just to make ourselves feel better. They are done because God is worthy of these prayers. The beautiful byproduct of these messages to God, are blessing he pours out on us. At the very least these blessings bestow a correct perspective. And what a gift that is. God is the center of the universe– we are not. Our problems may seem to be the prevailing reality. In fact, they are merely a facet of our existence. The transcendent reality of our eternal God overarches all our storms. All is under his dominion. Prayers of worship, praise, and thanksgiving, place God is his rightful place in our mind, setting all the seas of our lives in proper order, and perspective.

Friday, November 03, 2006

culture clash

I was just reading the futurewatch blog. There was an interesting case study of sorts. An evangelical event was received poorly by unchurched attendees. The sad thing was that this came as a surprise. Well meaning Christians with a modern mindset and mode, seem to have a disconnect understand post-modern people and what Christianity looks like from the outside. The key I believe to reaching post-moderns isn't a "tent event" or camp meeting. It's not a attractional thing...like a cinema does.... The way use use to running things in the evangelical movement. Those things can have some success, but the crucial point that is missed is the integral element of authentic RELATIONSHIP. I talk about this is my upcoming book "I Love You, (in Theory): The misadventure of Christian grace" ... which is being reviewed by Thomas Nelson at the moment. I hope a deal goes through soon. There is a great need to understand the unchurched, and relate to them in a way that makes sense and is meaningful to them. It DOESN'T change the Good News message, but like Paul on Mars Hill, the delivery must be re-created. Not like window dressing, but as living breathing dynamic and organic relationally focused friendships that lead others to God through Jesus.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Brian McLaren gives me a "thumbs up"

Lisa - good to hear from you. Sorry for the delay in responding. I'm
in the middle of a really hectic travel and writing schedule, but as
you contact publishers, you can let them know I have expressed
willingness to be an endorser for the book. The book looks really

When you have a publisher and have been through the editing process,
have the publisher send me a hard copy, with as much lead time as possible ...

You're obviously a gifted writer with a needed message. I look forward
to hearing more from you in the future, and to meeting someday. Keep
up the good work! - Brian

Brian McLaren

I'm just in AWE. This whole this has been quick and surreal journey. It's not over yet.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

endorsements coming in!

Good news.
For some background, I've completed a manuscript as my attempt to contribute to the emerging Christian conversation. The book's working title is I Love You, in Theory: The Misadventure of Christian grace see - iloveyouintheory.com - My message isn't expressly to women, but certainly it comes through my lens of experience (female).

Jim Palmer is graciously agreed to do my Forward. He is the author of "Divine Nobodies". Pastor Doug Pagitt said he'd give me an endorsement as well as Pastor Andrew tallskinnykiwi Jones. Tony Jones National Director of Emergent Village asked to read my manuscript, which is very exciting. Hopefully more good things will come. I pray that God's name be glorified and that his loving character will be made further know the message he put into my heart. May I be less so that God is more.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

oozing insghts- a letter from reader and response

Hi Lisa,

I really enjoyed your article, especially the way you join your words and heart with scripture to bring alive your message. A good reminder for me. I laughed when you referred to yourself as a married with children, writer/speaker/artist without an MDiv or PHd, because my gifts and situation are similar. although you are a bit farther on your journey. I am curious what experiences you have had been left out of the emerging conversation, or your observations about this dynamic in general. Do you think men are reticent to hear from women or that "normal gals" are intimidated by men who speak eschatologicalese and hold fancy degrees?

Also, I think practicing humility must be balanced with working toward inclusion and justice for our sisters and daughters. Jesus was willing to suffer, but he was not willing to accept the status quo. How do we practice humility, grace and justice in the name of Jesus?

Blessings, Jemila Monroe


Posted by Jemila Monroe | Posted at 10/24/2006 7:18 AM

Hi there, Jemila, You ask some good questions.

I don't suppose I've felt "left out" in a sense that there has been some overt message that says, “Stay away”. Prominent “Leaders” if you can really called them that specifically, of the emergent movement, are noticing the dearth of divergent voices in what is suppose to be a dynamic and diverse conservation about Christian spirituality. There is some effort to be more accommodating as well, which is nice to see. One disappointing and paradoxical aspect is a movement (emergent) that is by nature, nurture and period in history, more egalitarian, is also solidifying into an unilateral one.

I have come from a background of subjugation not grace from most of my church experiences, so the emergent movement seems sweet and filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s character in comparison. The reluctance of men from many mainline denominations and backgrounds, marginalizes female points of view, and teaching, and stiff-arms insights of spiritually mature women I believe has been heavy-handed enough to be in error. I've noticed even in contemporary circles men strongly favoring the spiritual insights of men over women as been the norm, except in “liberal” churches. This seems to be to a waste of gifts and resources for the body of Christ.

I think many men, and nearly all mature and spiritually grounded men in my daily interactions are willing to hear my insights. Whether they value them on par with men is hard to quantify. I don't think it's important to know, because it's not edifying. It probably depends on both the manner in which I present insights/ideas, as well as the individual's bent, or even the mood, of the male listener.

I personally don’t feel intimidated by fancy degrees, (et. al.) (I can just speak for myself. Other women may feel intimidated.) ---but I DO believe knowledge most often puffs up. The Bible is true after all and it makes mention of this potential and common trapping. It’s a trap I can succumb to also, even without a fancy title, trust me! (If we’re honest about it, we can ALL fall prey!) I’ve learned we must be in continual Spirit-led awareness and submission to God to avoid a posture of pride. It's our "default setting."

My message is-- the approach to “be heard” mustn’t be how we would-- typically-- try to attain it. It must emulate the paradox of Christ’s servant ministry when it’s done with his “model.” To answer your other question: (How do we practice humility, grace and justice…) I think we practice humility, grace and justice as Jesus did. It has nothing to do with the status quo, but everything to do with patience and grace. He did NOT think of himself first, but became of no reputation, took the form of a servant and loved and sacrificed. We can’t count on people to be fair and noble and gracious, but we CAN work on our response to them and being the embodiment of grace. I hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled for my book, hopefully out next year, where I tackle some of these things, and I invite you to sign up from my articles “ethoughts weekly” at my wit4life.com website, for further contemplations on these and other matters. You seem to be a kindred spirit, my sister, and I pray God will continue to use and bless you. Good Thoughts!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A fresh voice in the conversation

It seems the emergent conversation is dominated by Caucasian, male clergy, or liberal female clergy. I am endeavoring to lend a new and fresh voice to the conversation as a non-liberal, female, writer, lay-leader. My first published contribution will appear this week (Oct 24) at TheOoze. (theooze.com) in the Faith section. Please experience the article and feel free to submit comments. They are part of the message of my upcoming book "I Love You, in theory: The misadventure of Christian grace.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Culture shift means earning the right

I think the tendency within people of church is to see the Christian way as the standard others should follow. "come to us for truth" come to us to find God" Come to us for answers to life" These ascertains, though truth, if acted on as the motivating tool for building the Kingdom, fail to realize the massive culture shift that by in large does not value what the church does.

In modern times folk churched their children whether they believed in God or not. It was good for character and ethics and proper social behavior .. Being good and all that. Now we live in times where people find equal value from talking to wood elves, Buddha or Jesus. Or worse "Christianity" is see as a belief system that oppresses people with absolutes and suppresses versions of "truth" and valid ideas. The church culture and the social culture are now opposed again as they were in ancient times. Outsiders want to know you are authentic and love them before they want to hear what you have to say.

Christians in post-modern culture must endeavor to earn the right to be heard, not because we don't have the truth of the Bible, but because merely saying it's the truth is worthless to people of this culture. Logical arguments, well-thought apologetics, and facts often will not sway non believers. Friendship however -- the genuine kind -- will develop trust, the key ingredient in
"earning the right".

I am writing about this in my upcoming book. See wit4life.com

Tell me what you think about what I've said!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Is Christianity following Jesus?

This is the title of one of the sections in the book I'm writing, "I Love You, in theory: The misadventure of Christian Grace".... With the Christian sub-culture so insular, so churchy, can we really reached the unchurched? Do they really want to be a part of an odd sub-culture with it's own bumper stickers, t-shirts, catch-phrases and formulaic solutions for the "God shaped hole in all of us" ? While most of us realize we are on a spiritual journey, the "Super-sized" McDonald's style version of Christian compete with political pigeon holes, pious regulations, and strange sub-culture, is not something to which we entirely hope to belong. A journey with Jesus is a much richer story than the typical Christian sales pitch would lead us to believe. I have more thoughts on this at www.wit4life.com. Please visit and weigh in on anything you read here or there.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Emerging Conversation is here

I've set this up to turn up the volume for emergent conversation in general. In Schuylkill County, in Pennsylvania and beyond. A fresh voice, (female, non liberal) is now on the scene. Let the dialogue being! All genders welcome. Weigh in on posts and emergent theme. Visiting emergentvillage.com may be helpful. I plan to start an official "cohort" in Schuylkill County.

VALUES & PRACTICES - the emergent "conversation"

I welcome dialogue about this endeavor. Here is some helpful information.

Members of Emergent Village hold in common four values and several practices that flow from them. In the language of a religious order, we call these four values our “order and rule”:

1. Commitment to God in the Way of Jesus:

We are committed to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. In the words of Jesus, we seek to live by the Great Commandment: loving God and loving our neighbors – including those who might be considered “the least of these” or enemies. We understand the gospel to be centered in Jesus and his message of the Kingdom of God, a message offering reconciliation with God, humanity, creation, and self.

We are committed to a “generous orthodoxy” in faith and practice – affirming the historic Christian faith and the biblical injunction to love one another even when we disagree. We embrace many historic spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, contemplation, study, solitude, silence, service, and fellowship, believing that healthy theology cannot be separated from healthy spirituality.

As Christ-centered people, to understand the gospel in terms of Jesus’ radical, profound, and expansive message of the kingdom of God.
As people seeking to be formed spiritually in the way of Christ, to learn historic Christian spiritual practices (disciplines), and to use them for the development of character, integrity, and virtue which flow from true communion with God.
As participants in the historic Christian faith, to be humble learners, to stimulate learning in others, and to give priority to love over knowledge, while still valuing knowledge.
As lovers of God and God’s truth, to seek wisdom and understanding, which are the true goal of theology, and to engage in respectful, thoughtful, sacred conversation about God, world, and church.
2. Commitment to the Church in all its Forms:

We are committed to honor and serve the church in all its forms – Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Anabaptist. We practice “deep ecclesiology” – rather than favoring some forms of the church and critiquing or rejecting others, we see that every form of the church has both weaknesses and strengths, both liabilities and potential.

We believe the rampant injustice and sin in our world requires the sincere, collaborative, and whole-hearted response of all Christians in all denominations, from the most historic and hierarchical, through the mid-range of local and congregational churches, to the most spontaneous and informal expressions. We affirm both the value of strengthening, renewing, and transitioning existing churches and organizations, and the need for planting, resourcing, and coaching new ones of many kinds.

We seek to be irenic and inclusive of all our Christian sisters and brothers, rather than elitist and critical. We own the many failures of the church as our failures, which humbles us and calls us to repentance, and we also celebrate the many heroes and virtues of the church, which inspires us and gives us hope.

To be actively and positively involved in a local congregation, while maintaining open definitions of “church” and “congregation.” We work in and with churches, seeking to live out authentic Christian faith in authentic Christian community.
To seek peace among followers of Christ, and to offer critique only prayerfully and when necessary, with grace, and without judgment, avoiding rash statements, and repenting when harsh statements are made. To speak positively of fellow Christians whenever possible, especially those with whom we may disagree.
To build sincere friendship with Christians from other traditions.
3. Commitment to God’s World:

We practice our faith missionally – that is, we do not isolate ourselves from this world, but rather, we follow Christ into the world.

We seek to fulfill the mission of God in our generations, and then to pass the baton faithfully to the next generations as well.

We believe the church exists for the benefit and blessing of the world at large; we seek therefore not to be blessed to the exclusion of everyone else, but rather for the benefit of everyone else.

We see the earth and all it contains as God’s beloved creation, and so we join God in seeking its good, its healing, and its blessing.

To build relationships with neighbors and to seek the good of our neighborhoods and cities.
To seek reconciliation with enemies and make peace.
To encourage and cherish younger people and to honor and learn from older people.
To honor creation and to cherish and heal it.
To build friendships across gender, racial, ethnic, economic and other boundaries.
To be involved at all times in at least one issue or cause of peace and justice.
4. Commitment to One Another

In order to strengthen our shared faith and resolve, and in order to encourage and learn from one another in our diversity through respectful, sacred conversation, we value time and interaction with other friends who share this rule and its practices.

We identify ourselves as members of this growing, global, generative, and non-exclusive friendship.

We welcome others into this friendship as well.

We bring whatever resources we can to enrich this shared faith and resolve.

To make an annual pilgrimage to an Emergent Village gathering; to give one another the gift of our presence at annual gatherings whenever possible.
To publicly self-identify with Emergent Village where appropriate and to represent Emergent Village well whenever we can; to exemplify the best of what Emergent Village strives to be and do.
To invite others to participate and welcome new participants.
To seek to be positive and constructive in caring for the Emergent Village friendship. To find some specific ways we can help the circle of friends in Emergent Village.
To stay reconciled to one another. To give one another the gift of commitment not to give up on, betray, or reject one another, but instead, to encourage, honor, and care for one another.
To stay informed about emergent locally and globally via the website and email updates.
We live out the four values of our rule through four lines of action:

We explore and develop ideas, theology, practices, and connections … through conversations, conferences, think-tanks, gatherings, retreats, publications, learning cohorts, online resources, and other means.
We resource individuals, leaders, and organizations – funding their imagination, stimulating their thinking, providing examples, events, literature and other resources to assist them in their lives and mission.
We communicate our calling, vision, learning, and activities to the growing Emergent Village community, and to other interested people around the world.
We provide ways for people to belong, identify with, and participate in this community, conversation, and mission at varying levels. We encourage the development of generative friendships, collaborations, and partnerships.