That's where I was all last week - at the Lifeway Glorieta Conference Center situated in the mountains outside of Santa Fe. As strange as it is to attend an Emergent event at a Southern Baptist camp, it does make for a stunning setting. Emma enjoying pointing out the "real mountains" (a opposed to the sand mountains we climbed in Michigan). In all she had a wonderful time there which is a good thing since we were really unsure how doing this event as a family would work. This Gathering was the first Emergent event that I have done in "mommy mode" which of course created a new dynamic for me, but I discovered that it is actually doable. Having Emma there meant we both took a very relaxed approach to the event. There was no possibility of us making every workshop or late night option, so we just stepped back and enjoyed the community where we could. So instead of stressing out about being places and becoming overwhelmed with information, we ended up having fantastic conversations wherever we were at. Playing with kids at the playground or letting Emma collect rocks on the hill were all opportunities to connect with people. And I loved that most conversations jumped straight to deeper issues and richer topics. I think everyone there was desperate for a community, a tribe as some are calling it, where those conversations are possible and so we took advantage of them at every moment.
A few random highlights from the week for me -
- - Like I mentioned before, attending a discussion of holistic emerging parenting. I am drawn to alternative parenting ideas and generally don't hold to the typical American style of parenting, but I've had a very hard time finding people to discuss those ideas with, much less learn from their experiences. The few I've found have not been involved in Christianity. So I've longed for other Christians to talk to who share my emerging journey and are exploring more holistic parenting ideas. Ideas that wrestle with spiritual formation of children outside of the assumed model of Sunday School or AWANA. Parents that see their children as people to be respected instead of pawns to be controlled. Parents who don't hit or scream at their children on principle (and definitely don't justify such things with the Bible). It was very refreshing to be in a group that cared about such things (men and women equally btw). We only had a short time at the Gathering to discuss such ideas, but I am in the process of creating an Emerging Parents blog to help continue that discussion.
- - Hosting an Emerging women lunch where we got to hear each other's stories. Women are coming to this emerging discussion from such a wide variety of backgrounds and it is helpful to hear about those journeys. We heard the stories of pain, of questioning, of anger, and of hope. As always those discussions developed into longer conversations about the whole "women in Emergent" issue. I'll post more about those over at the Emerging Women blog later this week.
- - Being involved in discussions about the future of Emergent Village and the role it will play. Will it be a place for newcomers to come with their pain and questions to work through new ideas or will it be pushing forward in developing practice and theology in our postmodern world? Mike has blogged about this issue here.
- - Finally figuring out who/what The Cobalt Season is and realizing that their music is amazing (go buy their CD's right now). And it was also amusing to discover the um, interesting, relationship Ryan Sharp has to my brother...
- - Taking Emma into Santa Fe and trying to teach her how to walk the labyrinth at the Cathedral. She made it through one circuit and the said "I just run," and ran to the middle. There's got to be some spiritual analogy in there somewhere...
- - Hanging out with friends new and old. Finally meeting some online faces. And knowing that yes, there are people in this whole emerging community that I really can connect with and wishing we weren't scattered across the country.
- - New Mexican food. Enough said.
And if you want to see some really good pictures from the Gathering click here
Labels: Emerging Church, Events, Personal