Archive for the ‘Ikon’ Category

Peter Rollins in Waco – Nov 14
November 1, 2008

For more information and for directions, go to Emergent Waco.

If you’re on Facebook, check out the Facebook event where you can RSVP.

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Minnekon – Reflections
August 20, 2008

How do I even begin to reflect on last week’s Minnekon experience? There was just so much. It was wonderful. I loved every minute – hearing Pete talk at least five different times in four days, learning so much from Sarah, Kellie and Jonny, participating in the workshops, eating meals and having great conversations with new friends, and having the opportunity to think about, reflect on, and even put into practice ideas I find very provocative and hopeful. This is certainly an experience I will be processing for many weeks. Here are a few provisional thoughts to give you an idea of the places my mind has been wandering because of the overall experience:

  • Pete Rollins is for real. Even after reading both of his books, there was still a part of me that wondered if perhaps Pete was just playing around with words and ideas. I didn’t think he was a crypto-evangelist, but you can never quite be sure… But now I’m completely confident that he’s for real. And more than that, he cares about helping others do the kind of thing he is doing. He thinks it is important. So do I.
  • Ikon is not a church. And it’s not necessarily Christian. It’s certainly influenced by, and perhaps even rooted in, the Christian tradition and the tradition of the Church, but ultimately it’s post-Christian, and this makes it different than much of the emerging church. Not in a better or worse way – it’s just different. I think Ikon, and the theology behind Ikon, is about creating open spaces – empty spaces – for God to give God (the transcendent, the wholly other, etc.). These spaces might be in church settings, they might not be. Whether or not it’s church is just irrelevant. I really appreciate this. I want to be a part of creating these kinds of spaces.
  • On a related note, I see the theology behind Ikon impacting various settings within the church. However, to really take the theology seriously, I don’t think it can fully work in the church. But that’s ok. I don’t think it’s an either/or. I think letting this theology loose in church is good. And letting it loose outside the church is good too. But there is still a difference. At Ikon all questions are open. In the church, it is always foundational that what is happening is Christian and church. At Ikon even these questions are open. Again, I see a place for both. It’s not an either/or.
  • Continuing this same idea, I think all of this is further evidence of the increasing diversity of Christian/religious/spiritual experiences that are available for people. Church, Christianity, spirituality, and religion are no longer relegated to a church building, or even to particular faith traditions. Religious and spiritual questions and experiences are everywhere. People are going to pick and choose from a variety of options and create their own church/religious life. There is a lot more that can be said about this. I know many people see this as a problem. I see it as a really good and hopeful shift in our culture. Again, I think the question is how we can create spaces (both inside and outside the church) for God to give God (and I say that in the broadest sense possible).
  • I am still considering how the ideas in Pete’s books translate into everyday life. Or as Tony Jones asked in his dialogue with Pete, “How does this work for a devotional life?” This is a valid question. Personally, I don’t know if Pete has a good answer to this question right now. But I think that is understandable. I think it is somewhat uncharted territory. I think some people are living this kind of life but we may not yet identify it as such (I think of Gordon Atkinson/Real Live Preacher). I am very interested in considering these ideas and perhaps doing some writing along these lines. A provisional title for the topic – “Living Life With/out God.” This is very interesting to me.

Well, thanks for following along with me through the Minnekon experience. I hope these posts have been beneficial. I have definitely had a lot more traffic on my blog over the past week, so this seems to be something people are interested in.

Do any of you have thoughts about all this?

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Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God

Minnekon – A.way Introduction
August 18, 2008

[If you haven’t read my “A.way” post about the Minnekon event that took place on Saturday, go read that post before this one.]

Here’s the introduction I wrote for the “A.way” event at Minnekon. Yes, this is my best Peter Rollins imitation.

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Finding a way.

Away from here.

Many of us are searching for a way. Do you know the way?

Is the way to be found in the church?

In Christianity?

In a particular doctrine or creed?

What about those who have pursued all these things only to find something like a dead end?

Is this the end of the road?

Or is it the beginning?

There are those who speak of a long forgotten saying of Jesus. Perhaps it might help us. The story reads as follows:

One day when Jesus was setting out on another journey, one of his disciples, one who had been following him for some time, came up behind him and asked, “Teacher, I have been following you for many months, but I must ask you, how do I find the way?” Jesus turned to him and said, “Have you not heard me say, ‘Follow me, for I am the way, the truth and the life?'” Having heard this a number of times, the disciple replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe you are the way. I have followed you on many journeys. I have listened to your every word, but I still seek to find the way. Tell me what to do and I will do it – anything you ask. I would even sell all my possessions. Just tell me the way.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said, “You lack one thing, go away from here, and follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, the disciple was sorrowful, for he did not want to leave Jesus’ presence.

Tonight we have left the home of our identities at the door. No matter where we find ourselves, no matter what baggage we have collected, we acknowledge the way we look for must be away from here. If we do not know where to go, if we do not know what to do, we must do it. We must leave – pursuing the destination that can only be found in the journey. And perhaps in the very act of leaving we will find a.way from here.

_________________

Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God

Minnekon – A.way
August 18, 2008

On Saturday night I was part of the culmination of the Minnekon experience – an Ikon-like event. If you’ve never read How (Not) to Speak of God, then you might not have a feeling for what an Ikon event is like. First off, I recommend reading the book (the second half of the book describes ten different Ikon events, and is worth the price of the book all by itself), but basically Ikon events are experiential, experimental, creative, provocative, and theatrical attempts to knock people off their normal course – if even for just a moment. Peter Rollins describes these events as theodrama and transformance art. Ultimately, these events are an attempt to create a space where God can give God. As I mentioned in a previous post, Ikon events have seven elements: liturgy (theological words), ritual (interactive communal response), visuals, music, personal reflections, stories (parables, poetry, etc.), and a gift for everyone to take away from the experience. On Friday night (and into Saturday) we worked hard to prepare for the Minnekon event. I was part of the liturgy group and my primary task was to create an introduction for the event. I’ll share that later (here).

The theme of the event was “(finding) a.way (from here).” The entire experience was an attempt to play with the at times contradictory yet interactive ideas of finding a way and going away from here. The theme was actually very relevant for where I am in my life right now – but I’ll save that topic for my Minnekon reflections post…

The event started out with everyone receiving a name tag before entering. Each person was then told to write on the name tag some important elements of their own identity. The name tag was then taken away and replaced with a blank name tag that everyone put on as they went into the event. As people entered, someone was playing the song “Amazing Grace,” except the words were changed to “I once was found, but now I’m lost. Could see but now I’m blind.” After everyone had found their way into the room I went up to the mic and read my introduction. There was a story about being lost and looking for directions, there was an original song based on the theme, a few personal reflections/stories/poetry readings, a liturgy with a communal response, and Pete shared his parable about going away from here (the origin of the theme “a.way”). The ritual involved everyone coming to the center and using their blank name tag to write a burden they were carrying. Everyone put the tags into a basket and later everyone took someone else’s tag and put it on. Throughout this entire time there was background music/ambient beats and also video projected onto two screens in the room. There were also people shining flashlights around the room at different points during the event. A couple cool visuals involved doing live searches on Google Maps and Google Earth that were displayed on the screens. These searches involved words like “lost,” “hope,” “away,” etc. This was really very cool…but the whole thing is hard to describe. The intent is for the event to be very experiential so words certainly do not do it justice. But hopefully this gives you a little feel for it all. As everyone left they were given a few “gifts” – a small part of a map, a bus ticket stamped with “changes required,” and their original name tag which had been stained in tea.

So what does all this mean?

Some people did leave wondering this very question. But that is part of the whole idea behind theodrama/transformance art. The “meaning” is not what’s so important, or at least having one specific Meaning is not important. Hopefully the event as a whole encouraged an experience that shook people slightly off course and perhaps, just perhaps, God was able to give God in some way. Considering the short amount of time we spent planning the event, I thought it went really well and had some great content. Everyone seemed happy with it. One of the Ikon folks I talked to afterwards said it was remarkably similar in tone to a regular Ikon event (not that copying Ikon is the point). Overall it was a great experience. I am very intrigued by the creation of these kinds of spaces and I hope I can do something like this again in the future.

[My overall reflections on the week are still to come. I’ll also post the introduction I wrote some time later today (here).]

_________________

Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God

Minnekon is over
August 17, 2008

Minnekon is all over. The service tonight, “a.way,” was great. I’ll definitely blog more about that in the next couple days. However, right now it’s late and I’m going to bed. Tomorrow we travel back to Waco (or is it today?).

At least a couple more Minnekon posts will be coming…

_________________

Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God

Minnekon – Session 3
August 16, 2008

Today Pete spoke on the church. Here are a few highlights:

  • Doubt is not what makes faith weak but what makes it strong.
  • Doubt and uncertainty make our decisions more courageous.
  • Embrace the world and all its joy and suffering – that is where God is (from Bonhoeffer).
  • Revelation as rupture
  • No distinction between hearing and heeding.
  • Being the miraculous is more important than believing in the miraculous.
  • How does this work in the context of the church?
  • 1 – Church should speak to our social self. Aligning our actions with our beliefs.
  • Doubt must be open rather than just allowing the people to let the pastor or institution believe on their behalf.
  • Church often speaks to how we should believe. Instead should talk to our social self that doesn’t believe these things. Pastors must show doubt and live fully in the world. They must break the spell.
  • 2 – Church needs to bring people to maturity. Leaders must be ones who refuse leadership.
  • The last teaching of a great leader is that you must betray me.
  • Love is always in excess. Loving disciple always goes beyond the teacher. Church must encourage this kind of betrayal.
  • 3 – Churche should be place of suspended space (epoche). Becoming nobody, nothing in that place. That’s the place God speaks. Enact the eschaton. God is always with those without identity. God is there when we divest ourselves. God speaks in the place of no place.
  • 4 – Belonging before belief.
  • Jesus didn’t talk much about theology.
  • 5 – Longing for the event of God.

After Pete’s final talk we did our serious work towards developing an Ikon-like service/theodrama/transformance art for Saturday night. The theme for the night is “a.way” or “(finding) a.way (from here).” The following are the elements of an Ikon event that we worked on developing for Saturday night:

  • Liturgy – theological words
  • Ritual – interactive communal response
  • Visuals
  • Music
  • Reflections – often personal
  • Stories – more theological content but through parables, poetry, etc.
  • Gift – something for each person to take away from the evening.

Well, that’s probably enough for now. I have to work on the introduction to the event (part of the liturgy). We’ll see how that goes…

[By the way, I plan on following up on all this with some general reflection on the events of the week]

_________________

Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God

Minnekon – Session 2
August 14, 2008

We just got back to the hotel from session 2 of Minnekon. More good stuff. Good conversations. Good talks. Good workshops. Another great day. Here are some highlights:

  • Pete talked about revelation
  • An icon is not something we just look at but is also where God looks at us. Where we gaze upon the invisible and where the invisible gazes upon us.
  • Our theology is a response to God’s incoming. Our theology indirectly relates to God.
  • Revelation is not about God whispering in our ear, but is about incomprehension, bedazzlement, and transformation.
  • Revelation more like enlightenment – changes how we see the world.
  • If revelation is a whisper in our ear, then knowledge and action can be separated. We can know the truth and not do the truth. Rollins says revelation doesn’t allow this. You are what you do. You are your social self.
  • Jesus was radical because he seemed to forgive people without condition. Perhaps unconditional forgiveness helps bring forth repentance. You see this in the prodigal story.
  • Tony Jones and Peter Rollins had some dialogue after Pete’s talk. Tony asked about how all of this works in real life. What does it mean for a devotional life with God? Would these things have been harder to come to in American life? Lots of discussion followed around these questions.
  • After the talks, Sarah, Jonny, Kellie and Pete presented more “lessons in evandalism.” This part of the night was primarily centered on Jonny leading us through some artistic exercises (Im not exactly sure what to call it…but it was good stuff). Lots of interesting stuff. Good group discussion and work. I have really enjoyed the contributions from the non-Pete Ikon folks. These are very bright, creative, and thoughtful people. They have much to offer and I have much to learn. Good thing we have a couple more days…

More tomorrow…now comes sleep.

_________________

Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God

Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
August 14, 2008

We just finished up a conversation with Peter Rollins and the Ikon folks with the Emergent cohort here in Minneapolis – the Twin Cities Emergent Cohort. Lots of good conversation. Here are a few highlights:

  • Rollins (when starting Ikon and after leaving his church): “I have no vision at all. I only know what I don’t want it to be.”
  • I’m a big advocate of not knowing what to do and doing it.
  • A big thing for me is not allowing ourselves to connect our ideas with God.
  • Instead of fulfilling your dreams, finding new ones.
  • Atheism for Lent – something Ikon puts together each year for Lent. They read the great atheist critiques of Christianity – not to critique them but to allow them to critique us.
  • Priestly role is to refuse the priesthood – helps usher in priesthood of all believers.
  • Pete’s role is to make sure no one colonizes these spaces.
  • Ikon is like a donut with a hole in the middle. Regular church is jam filled donut. No center, everyone on periphery.
  • At Ikon – only person who cares about you is the person next to you.
  • Create a void and allow God to give God.
  • Creating Ikon causes an orbit to occur. Interesting people are attracted to it. Pre-Ikon and Post-Ikon times are most important.
  • Leader is very important – to refuse leadership. Create and let it die.
  • Dreaming new dreams can’t have a plan – it’s uncharted, new wineskin. Can’t have a plan for starting a new community. The only thing you know is you must go somewhere that is not here. “Where are you going?” “I am going away from here.”
  • Create an atmosphere where people are ruptured – this is transformance art.
  • Repetition of difference – repeat things but differently.
  • Liberal and conservative – two different ways of trying to say the right answer. Alternative is to say views aren’t God’s views

_________________

Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God

Minnekon – Session 1
August 13, 2008

Today was the first official day for the Minnekon conference/workshop in Minneapolis, featuring Peter Rollins and his friends from Ikon. The schedule is perfect. We start each day with a talk from Pete at 4:00 (which means we get to sleep in and spend some time around town during the morning and early afternoon. Today Brooke and I went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which was wonderful). Pete has three talks planned. Today was about God, tomorrow is about Revelation and Friday is about Church. After the session we all ate dinner together which gives a good amount of time to hang out and chat with Pete, the Ikon folks, and other people attending the conference/workshop. After dinner are the more practical workshops led by all the Ikon crew. An excellent schedule. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Perfect.

So anyways, here are some highlights from today:

  • Rollins: “I agree with much of what I say, but not everything.”
  • Most churches follow the time line of “believe, behave, belong.” This should be turned around. Belonging to the community should be the first step, which may lead to a change of behavior, and perhaps a change in beliefs.
  • We are an object before God. We don’t name God, God names us. God is the absolute subject.
  • Not everything that exists can be made into an object (example: life).
  • Is Rollins’ view a fancy kind of agnosticism? Not exactly. Rather, whereas agnosticism is a middle ground between atheism and theism, approaching God in the way Rollins proposes is more like holding both extremes at the same time – and maybe being ripped apart as we are stretched by holding both ends of the spectrum.
  • Rollins: “I’m not going to let the word ‘God’ get in the way.” But the word God does have value. But even this important word should not get in the way of transformation.
  • Rollins: “Sharing rituals we have created is very important to me.” Belonging is very important.
  • At Ikon they have started an “Omega Course” (as opposed to the Alpha Course), which is designed to help people “exit Christianity in 12 weeks.”
  • Rollins: “My job at Ikon is to refuse leadership.”
  • The members of Ikon are those who would be greatly missed if they left. The word member comes from the idea of a body part. In this way, a member is someone who would be greatly missed, in the same way that a finger would be greatly missed as part of the hand.
  • The workshop part of today’s session was led by the Ikon crew – Pete, Sarah, Jonny, and Kellie. This part of the week’s activities is going by the name “Lessons in Evandalism” and will be an attempt to convey some of the things Ikon has learned along the way. These workshops will culminate in an Ikon sort of event on Saturday night.
  • In planning Ikon events, the creators consider the following: playfulness + provocation = rupture
  • Ikon tries to find the common ground between “cool” and “disturbing.”

Today was great. Of course there is so much more than what I have written here. These are just the ideas/thoughts that jumped out at me.

More to come…

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Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God

Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends
August 12, 2008

Brooke and I are in Minneapolis for Minnekon, a conference/workshop of sorts with Peter Rollins and a few of his friends (Kellie, Sarah, and Jonny) from Ikon, a religious collective in Belfast, Ireland. The workshop, put together by Chris Enstad, will run Wednesday-Saturday. I hope to post a little each day – we’ll see how that goes…

Tonight the Ikon crew were guests at Theology on Tap – a monthly theology discussion group here in Minneapolis. Brooke and I joined about 25 people at Glueck Restaurant and Bar for some good discussion to get the week started. Pete mostly gave an introduction to Ikon and some of the main ideas he has written about in his books. Here are a few of the highlights for me:

  • Pete gave a good intro about how Ikon got started. It basically started with just a name and an idea to do something of a religious sort in a local bar. He asked the owner if they could use the place and he said yes. Then he had to figure out what in the world he was going to do. If I remember correctly, that was about 5-6 years ago.
  • Pete said there are no members of Ikon – no one wants to claim to be a member. Instead there are only non-members. He said they are developing an official course on how to become a non-member, leading to receiving a non-membership card (ha!).
  • I appreciated Kellie’s words about how sometimes the faith we grew up with must die and how there is a grieving process that goes along with that. That may not be exactly what she said, but it was something along those lines. I was struck by the idea of there being many people going through this grieving process and needing hospitable spaces to grieve and move on in their faith, or loss of faith.
  • I’m really excited that Pete came with three other people from Ikon (and a fourth is here who used to be part of Ikon). I can already see that this will add a lot to the experience. They are all very different and approach the ideas in Pete’s books from different angles.

So those are just a few things I recall off the top of my head. I’m going to try and keep notes the rest of the week and post some about the talks, workshops, etc.

I’m off to bed…the day started way too early…

_________________

Minnekon Posts:

Minnekon – Reflections
Minnekon – A.way Introduction
Minnekon – A.way
Minnekon – Session 3
Minnekon – Session 2
Minnekon – Emergent Cohort
Minnekon – Session 1
Minnekon – Peter Rollins & Friends

_________________

I’ve blogged through both of Rollins’ books:

The Fidelity of Betrayal and How (Not) to Speak of God