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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

spirited exchanges uk web launch...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The new Spirited Exchanges UK web site goes live today, funded and supported by Trust Greenbelt.

Those who have followed the SE UK journey so far, will know that the inspiration for a UK network of church leaver groups came from the work that Jenny McIntosh has been involved in in New Zealand as a response to Alan Jamieson's 'A Churchless Faith'. (The story of the first five years of Spirited Exchanges in New Zealand is told in the follow-up book, 'Church Leavers, Faith Journeys Five Years On'.) The aim is to connect church leavers with each other so that they can meet in a safe agenda-free environment to talk openly about their faith journeys post-church.

At Greenbelt 2005 Jenny inspired a number of us, who attended her seminars, to work towards realising a network of similar but contextually appropriate groups in the UK. It's not been a speedy process and hasn't revolutionised the world, but there are now a handful of pilot groups meeting across the UK, feeding back how this is (or isn't) working in their locality, as well as a growing email database of people who want to keep in touch with SE UK. The development of the website is the next stage in this evolution!

There is no agenda to begin a new brand of groups or roll out a marketable program. Part of what we're discovering is that some SE-type groups have started organically and been going for some time. They may not be called Spirited Exchanges but may want to be part of a wider network so others can know of their existence. If you belong to such a group and would like to feed in to the SE UK network or are interested in being connected as an individual, visit the website and let us know!

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 9:49 AM

5 Comments:

Hi Malcolm,

We are going to be launching something like this in Carlisle in the next few months and I was wondering do you think they would allow someone who would consider themselves an Orthodox Christian with all the big questions answered through Jesus Christ to become involved with Spirit Exchanges or would they prefer someone who has no definite faith or unsure of the answers to the big questions.

Would certainty exclude involvement with Spirit excahnges as longs as the person would be gracious and respectful and is good at facilitating dialogue?

Thanks

Tim

commented by Blogger Tim, 2:18 PM  

Tim

thanks for your question - it's great that the group is being launched in Carlisle.

I guess the answer to your question is 'it depends'! The experience of Spirited Exchanges groups has been that when there are such 'certain' people present, it often has stifled the kind of processing space that many others are needing, especially in terms of deconstructing faith. I guess this is because the 'certain' person often feels the need to provide a defence of orthodoxy or to 'convert' the other.

Of course, this doesn't have to be the case but the 'certain' person would need a maturity and security to be able to leave the awkward comments and difficult questions unchallenged and unanswered. The kind of person who may have gone through a process of faith deconstruction and reconstruction, who is now secure in their beliefs but has a faith approaching that of Fowler's Conjunctive Faith would probably be such a person.

So I wouldn't say that an orthodox and certain Christian couldn't facilitate or be involved in a Spirited Exchanges group, but I would want to sound a fairly strong note of caution if the group is to be what it sets out to be.

I don't know if that helps - what do you (or others) think?

commented by Blogger Malcolm Chamberlain, 2:55 PM  

Hi Malcolm,

I am quite confortable expressing, pain, anger, dissapointment, etc... I don't think I need to defend Jesus. I think that we have a team of people from all over the world, with Carlisle being the International Office of OM. I certainly wouldn't want to stiffle the discussion, I would see our teams as curators highlighting and spotlighting what people think and allow the people in the crowd or gathering to be more or less certain according to their own experience with Church/Jesus/God/????.

I have Folwers book here and I need to look up the Conjuctive Faith aspect.

Thanks

Tim

commented by Blogger Tim, 5:34 PM  

I mean comfortable other people expressing anger, disspointment, etc...

Tim

commented by Blogger Tim, 5:35 PM  

Hi Malcolm,

Do you know any spirit exchanges in Liverpool or the North West or North East? Any contact details would be helpful.

Thanks

Tim

commented by Blogger Tim, 7:27 PM  

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