My Pilgrimage to Glorieta
After a decade of Emergent gatherings in Glorieta, New Mexico, I finally was able to make the pilgrimage this year. We spent three days (Oct. 5-7) in “open space” sessions, led by participants who stepped up to volunteer and lead discussions about topics of interest.
I led a conversation on the first day about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for those of us who were there from that tribe, to meet and get to know each other better — and to tell others who were “Disciples-curious” more about who we are and what is happening within the Disciples movement.
My favorite sessions were probably:
- Michael Toy sharing his personal story of being Netscape Employee #6, helping create the first Web browser, how Web browsers really haven’t changed significantly since Netscape, navigating life through huge organizational and cultural change, etc.
- Doug Pagitt sharing the history of Emergent Village over a special lunch-hour session. I learned a few things about EV that I hadn’t known before, which was fascinating.
- Mike Croghan facilitating the discussion about the future of Emergent Village, who we are, where we’re going as a network/community, our hopes and dreams for the future.
The Gathering was an interesting mix of veteran Emergent leaders, as well as a whole bunch of new voices in the conversation, including some from unique faith traditions such as the Swedenborgian church and those who read and study The Urantia Book. The liminality of the Emergent conversation has certainly opened up space for theological conversation across many lines of theological and philosophical difference.
At the closing ceremony of the Gathering, I was overcome with emotion, as I talked about how long I’d been waiting to get to Glorieta to be part of this event. It was the culmination of a long journey for me.
There’s already discussion of having another gathering again in 2012, despite the Southern Baptists closing the conference center where it’s been held all these years. I feel like I’ve made the pilgrimage now, and I’m not sure I’ll be going back (for various reasons, time and finances being the two major ones). I’m just glad to know the conversation is continuing, new voices are emerging, and I’m glad to still be a part of it, however I can.
BONUS POINTS: I was invited to speak about my experience at the Gathering on The Cosmic Citizen Internet radio show, hosted by readers of The Urantia Book. I was driving in my car so unfortunately I got cut off and wasn’t able to complete the interview, but I was joined by fellow Gathering attendees Pamela Chaddock, Gil Flores, and Russ Ware. Gil, Russ, and I share similar personal stories of being “left behind” by conservative evangelicalism.
SIDE NOTE: Both the Emergent Village Gathering and the Soularize learning party had not been held since 2007. Both events returned this year. I was at both events. Soularize is done for good — as Spencer Burke is now devoting his time and energy to new endeavors. The EV Gathering may return in 2012, but most likely at a different location. The emerging missional church conversation continues to grow and expand into different directions. I’m excited about the future, grateful for the community of friends I have on this journey, and for what the next 10 years will bring.