Sunday, June 7, 2009

500-Year Rummage Sale


Ok, lets try to rewind this conversation again and refocus using Phyllis Tickle’s book, The Great Emergence. I heard about this book from Robert Grant, and then saw a series of reviews on Scot Mcknight’s blog, I tried to be satisfied with following Mcknight’s reviews but finally had to break down and buy it. I thought it was an excellent book, although I was a little dissatisfied with the last chapter. She tried to indicate Calvary Chaple and Vineyard as “emerging” or postmodern churches, which I really don’t buy into.

Which of you have the book already? Has anyone already finished it?

Her basic thesis is that about once every 500 years, the church holds a rummage sale and reorients itself to whatever current cultural condition it finds itself in. She believes were are approaching one of those 500-year junctures and that the rummage sale has begun. This is similar to what others such as Bob Mumford have said.

What do you think? Shall we read the book together?

42 comments:

Robert said...

The rummage sale idea is important because it suggests that only some things are off loaded. Some of my struggle with emergence is a tendency to act as if the Church is being discovered for the first time.

I do think Tickle's broad observations about our being in the middle of a time of upheaval and evaluation is worth a serious look. It is risky to make major decisons of lasting consequence when you are in the middle of a major transition. I will keep this opening volly short.

just joe said...

I read the book and enjoyed it, but John M picked up on her perspective about the tendency toward pride and arrogance on the part of the "new" that is emerging. THAT is certainly something to be avoided.

John M. said...

Of course none of us know anything about having "discovered" a new revelation and feeling really frisky, cocky and proud about it!

Brian Emmet said...

It's also very challenging for me to think in terms of a 500-year rummage sale--who am I to think I can discern what is of lasting value and what needs to go on the "ten for a dollar" table! Plus, there's just an awful, awful lot of things in the rummage!

I haven't read the book--just ordered about a dozen new titles from amazon, so not sure I'm going to get to it this summer.

On a personal note, I've been working my way through a sermon series on the atonement, using McKnight's "A Community Called Atonement" and Hebrews as my jumping-off points. I'm struck by the variety of ways that our culture is telling itself "atonement stories" of one kind and another--everything from the promise of global connectedness through IT, our physics' search for the Grand Unified Theory ("GUT") that will bring together all the fundamental forces under one equation or explanation, to mystery novels... the longing for at-one-ment is strong and deep, and the church has real treasures to share... the Real Treasure to share.

steve H said...

This book was recently given to me. I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

steve H said...

I will give 5 talks the next few days at the SLT (www.strategiclifetraining.com/) being held this year in Middlefield, OH east of Cleveland. I plan to take along the Tickle book and Andy Crouch's "Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling" -- a little light reading for the in-between times.

John M. said...

Can't wait to hear your evaluation and comments Steve. May the teaching go well. You must be well-prepared to be able to do "light" reading in between sessions! I'm usually scarmbling to edit my notes.

OK, somebody's got to say something. Nothing worse than "dead air", translate, "cyber-silence"!

Brian, I can identify with your feeling daunted by the "task" of deciding what to put into the rummage sale and what to keep. That' why pack rats like me never have yard sales, and try to avoid others' yard sales because we know we'll find something that looks interesting or that "might come in handy some day" for a price that can't be passed up.

Maybe the “daunting” is why it's gotten so quiet. Reading Tickle's book gives me two responses: One, that daunting sense of, wow this is big... who am I to say...?

My second response is, “Wow this is big... we are living in perhaps a monumental era of Church History that someday may be named "The Great... 'something' . This is exciting!”

Tickle's historical overview and the nuancing she manages in just a few pages is impressive. The whole book is short, 165 pages, and an incredibly easy read, without being trite -- and she offers discernment and insights that are helpful, sometimes surprising, and other times profound.

My second response has prevailed, which means that I don't have a lot more to say about the rummage sale. That's because imho, God presides over these 500 year "rummage sales", spaced, according to Tickle, by mini upheavals every 250 years or so.

This hopeful response comes in light of the historical overview that both unsettles and settles one's heart and mind. The part that "settles" me into an attitude of faith and anticipation is that over time (sometimes centuries), God sorts things out, and ultimately accommodates our decisions, both good ones and bad ones to His purposes. I know I'm revealing my theological bias with that statement. Others would say that God dictates each decision. The end result in real-time is not really any different, just our belief about how it happens. If you really want to have the "free-will, sovereignty of God" discussion email me jdows@insightbb.com and I will enjoy it. But for now, let's stay on the subject of this thread, and be satisfied with the divine tension and mystery where those discussions finally end up anyway.

My knee used to jerk into apocalyptic mode over every new deal that came down the pike: secular humanism, post modernism, communism, terrorism, TV (I was pretty young, but that debate went on for a long time in my circles, even my own home.), the internet -- OK, you get the idea. Oh yes, did I mention gay marriage? And the Democrats are now in control in Washington. The world may end in the next four years, not to mention the U.S. economy!

I would be more inclined to postulate that the U.S. will decline in it's power and international influence and struggle more and more with it's own deteriorating economy, (Do I hear the word "bankrupt"?), it's declining infrastructure, eroding authority base and bankrupt morals and ethics, than that the world will end. As a nation, our past momentum is not entirely spent, so even the above will not see it’s bottom in the next four or even eight years. I do believe, though, that it is inevitable. Could God stop it? Sure, but I doubt He will. Read on.

Go to the next post for my conclusion. Someone limited the number of characters this blog will accept in one post!

John M. said...

I have sworn off hand wringing. If we are in God's big story it doesn't really matter. Suppose the world does end. We win! If the U.S. turns out not to be what we've been told all our lives, by both the Church and the State -- that our individualistic lifestyle, our worship of the god of money, fame and democracy; is the best and highest life on the planet who cares? Yes, it will make our lives less comfortable, maybe even down-right hard -- the brunt of that legacy will be passed to our Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren, but we are already feeling the early precursors in our lifetime. We have come out of recessions before, even the Great Depression. Could we come out of this one to a new bull market? Sure. And we might, which would be nice. More Camero’s and Hemi’s! Long live the muscle car and the V8 engine! But I still stand by my prediction.

There is nothing I know of that says that God’s purpose requires the United States to be the greatest nation on earth, it's policeman, and the exporter-imposer-enforcer of all that is superior to everyone’s life on the planet.. More likely our pride and arrogance needs to be smashed in order for God’s purpose for the planet to proceed. Manifest Destiny is dead.

The historical perspective can cause a sense of anticipation and hope or it can precipitate a hand-wringing session over all the social and political ills and upheaval we see in the daily news. But Tickle points out that there are always upheavals and authority questions during these hinge points. Has anyone recently heard the authority of scripture, the Church, Government institutions, the military, pastors, teachers, lawyers, sacred doctrines etc. being questioned; or, for those of us who remember, since the ‘60’s -- or if you dig deeply enough, since the avant-garde and “beatnik”/bohemian circles of the ‘50’s. The philosophical roots (precursors to post-modernism) of all this questioning and mistrust come much earlier in the 20th Century. Tickle points out, too, that since Islam's founding in the 6th century, most of these 500-year eras have included confrontation with Islam. Hmmm... God is behind that too?

Historical perspective can never be overvalued, but we live now, and the future overtakes us at the speed a digital bite takes to travel the globe and bounce onto our computer screen.

Perhaps instead of asking the rummage sale question we should ask, what is the faith response God would have us to demonstrate in the present and toward the perceived future?

And the corollary question (as Jesus’ brother, James reminds us) is: What should we be doing to respond in the present moment and prepare for, and even perhaps, help shape the rapidly emerging (that word again) future?

If you've been contemplating your rummage sale list, don't let this post deter you -- throw it up there. But if you've felt a bit stymied with that question, take a stab at one of the two I've proposed in the two previous paragraphs.

Since no one was saying anything, I kind of let it hang out a bit. I know this is long. Go ahead and castigate. I admire Phyllis Tickle's succinctness, but I don't personally possess that gift. I can hear the “amen’s” ringing loudly through cyber-space! I could have posted this on Google Docs, but I'm not convinced that most of you would actually go there and read the post. So here it is out here in front of God and everybody, who reads the blog that is. Deal with it! :)

just joe said...

hi john, just got to Rio.. did not read your whole post but I will get back to it. I have had trouble getting online.

I just want to say that I don't agree with you about there being nothing worse than "dead space." In the quiet of the dead space is where we can soak in stillness and God's presence.

Robert said...

Jose
I agree...it is Ok to have a Selah now and then. It means we pause to think about what is being said without the need for an immediate response...maybe silence reflects humility...

John M. said...

I'm not very humble or spiritual, then am I? :)lol. Actually, I was being facicious, with the satrie being directed at our "need" for words and infomation, using the analogy of radio, "dead air". Didn't realize I would be taken literally! But with all my words (wordiness?) I can understand why I was.

I totally agree that silence and solitude is necessary and vital to our spiritual/emotional health. I seek it at least weekly (only weekly because I usually don't get it daily). Never really thought about it being true in cyber-space, but I'm sure it applies there also.

Glad you're safely in Rio, Joseph. Glad to know you're keeping contact with the blog, Robert.

I'll try to keep quiet for awhile and let the conversation take it's course, now that I've dumped my load -- although there are a lot of "discussable" points and postulations that Tickle puts forward in the book. Thanks for recommending it Robert.

just joe said...

it is only in community that we can be discipled for service and love.

and it is only in silence and solitude that we can strip away our "socially constructed" selves, and our "socially constructed" image of God to encounter the God who really is: Yahweh -"I am that I am" who alone can reveal to us who we truely are in him.

just joe said...

I~m guessing insignificant ... although not insignificant to God. /the victories and defeats, and lessons learned in this life will be significant in the next ...we will carry what we have learned with us as an eternal weight of glory. as someone said, we leave the results to him.

just joe said...

sorry for any confusion... i accidently responded here to a comment by Laurel on the previous thread. I can only get wi fi here in this apartment in Rio by leaning out the 3rd floor window and holding my laptop with one hand and typing with the other ...

John M. said...

Don't drop your computer Joseph! Now I understand why your comments have been short!

Brian Emmet said...

Sometimes it's hard to know "what lessons we've learned" until we get fully into a new situation: don't know what I need until I get there. This doesn't mean we can't/shouldn't "travel light," but that, like experienced hikers, we really understand what gear is most essential to have in our "light" backpacks. So I'm all for innovative humility, i.e., innovating as much as possible, while maintining great humility about our innovations. The working assumption should be that 95% of our way-cool, cutting-edge innovations will not turn out to be "classics." Doesn't mean we shouldn't give it all a go, but that all our innovation should be tempered by deep conversations with The Past.

Laurel Long said...

I reintroduced myself on the last thread and explained my absence without knowing you all had moved on. You may wonder why I am entering such a house-wifish post, but it is a true story and one that I think your wives can relate to and one that you may find useful and entertaining.
Part One: As a young mother of six children, thrift and economy were heroically demonstrated at those great suburban enterprises known as yard sales. Rising before dawn assured me I would arrive before my equally dedicated competition- a cup of coffee fortified me for the contest and helped me forget the fact I was not sleeping in. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for on Saturday morning I would rummage through the local Good Will or Salvation Army stores later in the week which regularly accumulated quite a nice inventory of goods that reflected the affluent neighborhood in which we lived. Yard sales, garage sales, flea markets, church bazaars, rummage sales etc., have long been features of the suburban economic exchange. Good Will and Salvation Army are usually the last part of this urban recycling of middle class goods.
Frequently- no always- cash was scarce, so finding useful goods far below retail and sale prices gave the economic engineer (me) of our family great pride and satisfaction. I donated regularly to these institutions the cast offs of our “emerging” and ever changing family members when holding a yard sale of my own was impossible; when I couldn’t buy or sell I would donate to charitable organizations. When I couldn’t shop at the suburban open market I shopped at the GW and SA. One afternoon, while sliding hangers across the racks of the 4 and 5 year old clothing section I had a very distinct feeling of something familiar which attracted me. I pulled out those familiar and attractive garments, admired them, evaluated them for quality, and nearly put them in my cart, but the need for something different compelled me to return them to their racks. I passed them by to seek economic treasures that were more exciting. When I returned home with the new items and proudly displayed them for their new owners to admire I realized with not a little shock that I had almost bought back items I had donated to this humanitarian institution. The shock only exaggerated the need for a hilarious outburst of laughter. I almost bought back what I had discarded and given away. Can you imagine the irony of the situation and how replete it is with metaphorical content in relation to our discussion? What made me want to get rid of the stuff in the first place? Were the garments out of style, had they outgrown their usefulness, or had they been so stained that only the very poor and destitute would buy and wear them?
On the next post I would like to comment on the subjects of the Pope and Clergy, Sacraments, Celibacy and Marriage, Heresy, the Church and State, Icons, and money, very briefly and humbly of course. I dare to say it is truly the same ol same ol!, which I will endeavor to prove.

Robert said...

Brian

Everything new involves reshaping/redesigning something old...maybe without credit. Looking forward to your thesis...

Robert said...

I am a bit of pack rat...hanging on to stuff from another time...thinking they will come back. I just took some things to a garage sale today to raise money for building something new. The past makes the future possible...

Robert said...

BTW...I selectively decided NOT to take some things to the garage sale (this is a real garage sale this weekend) because I think that my adult children consider them valuable and would really be ticked if they were sold off to people who could care less about what they represent. What we retain may mean more to those that inherit than it does to us...

just joe said...

Robert: good point. It is only God that can create something out of nothing .. Ecc has something to say about those things that are new under the sun -- mainly that there arnt any.

Laurel: what a great metaphor .. I am going to chew on that.

Brian: also a good metaphor... packing light for the journey. I find that I am not very inclined to innovate... I am more inclinded to strip things away ... my desire is to get down to what is core -- what is really real. And despite my resputation is an out of the box innovator, I DO find myself desiring to connect with history ... not only with Jesus through the gospel, although is my starting place, but the early church father as well... the medieval mystics and the reformers .. prolly in that order of priority. /there is some good 20th century theology, but I am not too impressed with a lot of our recent ´´modern´ heritage (19th and 20th centurys)... I would probably be willing to put most of it in yard sale.

John: you are quite the iconoclast ... I didnt know that a person could be an iconoclast and idealist at the same time ... I had thought that they were mutually incompatible. but for all that, you had some good things to say.

Steve, Michael, David, Don, Johnthemusician, Sean and Patrick: why so quiet?

Laurel Long said...

Part Two
The Great Exchange: Nothing has changed-the sins of spiritual power have only been re-purposed.
The Pope:
We have exchanged one "infallible" leader for countless "fallible" ones: the clergy. Egalitarianism was supposed to create a collective purity in the Church. We have neither infallibility nor purity. We are the laughing stock of our culture.
The Ecclesiastes:we are repulsed by preachers of poverty and offended by the prophets of prosperity. Luther preached against both. Therefore, ministers must teach and live the wisdom of moderation in all things-middle class values (political baggage). The clergy are suspect if they prosper or if they are impoverished. Money, whether it is in great supply or greatly lacking, is a stumbling block to evangelicalism.
Celibacy and Marriage:
Vows of celibacy were, at the onset of the Reformation, a travesty. Most priests had families, large ones, which were supported by the church. Though not acknowledged by the public, they were tolerated by the parishes. The Great Exchange allowed marriage, but that was not enough. Today, divorce and adultery are rampant among the clergy. This moral lapse has given our refractors an abundant supply of material to discredit us and our message. The same moral outrage towards spiritual leaders who professed moral purity and practiced the opposite ignited the Reformation.
This is enough for now. I will continue with the subjects of sacraments, iconoclasts, and the tension between church and state.

Brian Emmet said...

I'm in the process, with my two sisters, of breaking up my parents' home, following their deaths (Dad in March, mom in May). "Who wants what?" and "What to keep, what to sell?" and "What to do with the stuff that nobody seems to want?" and, from several different voices, "We just can't not keep that!" Is it possible that some of what we view as "just stuff" might turn out to be of much greater value than we thought?The rummage sale metaphor has some particular bite to it for me just now...

It's worth noting the recent phenomenon of long-time evangelicals "migrating" to Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism; there is, of course, a corresponding migration of folks from those traditions over to evangelicalism (all of these terms to be broadly defined and understood). Stuff--like "liturgy"--that we used to think was a big waste of time "suddenly" seems to take on a value that we never appreciated before. Ray Kurzweil, artificial intelligence pioneer and promoter, says "we need a new religion," because the old/traditional religions are inadequte... but who finds them inadequate, and for what reasons? If someone says that he/she is receiving messages from alien intelligences, he/she is treated with somewhat more respect than a person who says he/she is receiving revelation from God... hmmm...

May I remind us all that shorter comments make things flow better?

Laurel Long said...

Brian,
Thanks for reminding me that brevity is a virtue and an evidence of intelligence. The length of my posts demonstrate neither.I always want to berate myself after posting.
Since you all have allowed me into your circle of thought there has not been one post that has not edified or impressed me in some way, regardless of its length.
So thank you for tolerating my verbosity. I will endeavor to mend my ways. Sincerely, I am not kidding, really. YOu are right.

John M. said...

Brian, I empathize with the decisions you're making about your parents' posessions.

After Dad died we sold the family farm where I had grown up, at absolute acution, no reserves.

Before the auctioneer published the list of items for sale, our task as a family was to decide what went in the auction and what we would keep. Once the items were tagged, numbered and the list was published we were legally bound to sell them, and we were not allowed to bid on anything.

After the advertising went out, Vicki and I started having second thoughts about an antique clock that had belonged to my grandparents. We decided we had made a mistake, but there was nothing we could do, until one of Dad's good friends offered to bid on it for us. I gave him a top price, he bid and we got it back. Happy Ending. But it still felt weird paying for something that a few weeks before had been ours.

At that time my personal guitar had been in the closet unused for over a decade. A few years later I got it out and began messing with it. That got me thinking about my Dad's guitar that had sold that day for $25. I thought at the time it was a pretty good price.

As a kid it was just "Dad's old guitar". By the time I had to decide whether to keep it, I was suffering from overload and trying to be ruthless with myself about keeping too much. I pulled it out of the case, looked at the dust, smelled the musty smell, sturmmed the very dead strings, put it back, and committed it to the sale.

It was a Gibson, hollow-bodied acoustic guitar, that was electrified from the factory. I can still remember the volume and tone knobs on the front and the dark finish that faded lighter toward the center.

When I started to think about it those years later, I could not believe that I had sold my Dad's guitar. It never occurred to me that it might have actual intrinsic value, but the sudden desire to place my fingers on the same frets my Dad had fingered for so many years was overhwelming. I cried.

A while back, I saw an article on vintage Gibsons. There in the picture was the very guitar that I had briefly owned. I looked closely for details I remembered; they were all there. The value? Several thousand dollars. What for me, was just Dad's old guitar, to a collector was a valuable vintage instrument.

Do I regret my decision? What do you think? It still hurts. And not because of the money -- except for one thing: I had entertained the idea that someday I might come across a guitar like it and buy it. Even though it would not actually be Dad's, it would at least be like it. In that moment, the hope evaporated because financially it's out of reach and reason.

Laurel's story and Brian's current circumstances reminded me.

Implications for our discussion...?

just joe said...

powerful story John... it makes me think of what it would be lik (sorry bad keyboar) to put my fingers on the same old frets as Justin Marytr... Origen... St. Bonaventure... St.Teresa, Fenelon, St. Ignatious de Loyola, Mateo Ricci (Jesuit to china), Luther (A Mighty Fortess), George Fox, Count Zinzondorf, John Wesley, (here is where I start to cry--weslayn roots), Franis Asbury, Watchman Nee, George MacDonld, Dorothy Day, worker-priet Joseph Cardjin, Jacque Maritain, C.S. Lewis. bishop Oscar Romero...

what a rich heritag ... vintage indeed! we gonna have a wonderful prarty in heavan... arminians calvinits, catholics, reformed...



point well taken,

Robert said...

John

Great story...very provoking actually. Everybody in the midst of a "rummage sale" should read it. It all belongs to us...our inheritance in the saints (Eph 1). I am enjoying the archives...and new things as well. Jesus did say that he Kingdom is like a home owner who brought out of the storehouse things old and things new. We are a culture obsessed with the "new" and with "youth." It can lead to not valuing old things or old people!

steve H said...

I'm still in Middlefield, OH at SLT. Taught four times yesterday. Today I only have one teaching to give. Tomorrow I do one teaching and lead one Q and A session. So I can do a little "light reading" (that was tongue-in-cheek here and in the earlier entry).

Somethings need to be rediscovered rather than discarded at rummage sale time. For somethings we need to rediscover the original value and use -- get rid of the "encrustations" as Tickle called them.

Good book so far!

John M. said...

Great analogy Joseph. Your analogy coupled with the guitar story, gives me an unforgettable metaphor. Thank God that the Church hasn't jettsoned those writings, and that the seed the Fathers have sowed into the Church is still bearing fruit -- even producing life-giving hybirds at times.

Robert I see the "new" vs "old" in myself. I tend to be more inclined to read "new" books than old ones. I know in my head that when it comes to devotion, spirituality, orthodox doctrine and exegesis, that many of the old books are better, but I still find myself checking copyright dates and evaluating the validity of the book based on how recently it was published.

I wonder if the tendency to ignore the old comes from the modern idea of unending, linear, upward progress; coupled with the way information, knowledge and access is exploding exponentially all around us? Not an excuss, but a possible explaination. The explosion of information, much of the time trivial, so easily seduces us from that which has true, eternal value.

Brian Emmet said...

The conversation is taking some interesting directions!

The metaphors we use/work with are important,and important that we be conscious of them. Is our situation most like a homeowner preparing for a move (i.e., the rummage sale), or more like hikers who need to travel light AND travel wisely, or more like a ship in a bad storm looking to discard unneeded weight so it won't go under, or a group of engineers trying to 'fix' a 'problem'... or... It's not that any one metaphor is THE right one; we probably need several, but need to be aware of them all.

Thanks for the poignant stories of treasured guitars, beloved books, beloved people...

just joe said...

I have noticed that we all tend to read a lot more of what we like, and what interests us ... which may produce depth but not much breadth.

One of the things that the graduate studies did for me was to force me to read stuff that I never would have read on my own. I am actually very grateful for that. It makes one think.

I also noted the same tendency regarding historical heritage: Lutherans read Luther and his interpretors, Calvinists read Calvin and family, Holines speople read both the Wesley's, Asbury, D.L. Moody, etc. Ditto with Catholics and Orthodox....

In one graduate course I was exposed to the medieval Catholic mystics, and came to love them, especially Fenelon and St. Teresa... in my dissertation research, I have been exposed to Catholic philosophers like Jacques Maritain, progressive Catholics concerned for the poor and working class like Dorothy Day, Joseph Cardjin... and others. I have not yet had the chance to read Othodox spirituality but I have benefited through John and Steve

I find that the more broadly and the more diversely I drink from the wells of spiritual heritage, the more enriched my faith seems to become and the more I appreciate the entire church and the entire heritage. Maybe that is the meaning of Catholicity.

John M. said...

Joseph, you're touching on my understanding of Catholicity. It's mystical and mysterious, but it's real.

It is also, I think, connected with the "communion of the saints". There is a sense of identity, oneness, and solidarity. There's also a present tense reality. We're not just in communion with historical figures, long dead; no, they are very much alive and our communion in this present moment is very real -- just like our communion with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with whom those who have gone on are in perfect communion.

Here's a verse from the Message for our thread:

"Valuables are safe in a wise person's home; fools put it all out for yard sales." Proverbs 21:20

That speaks to my "inner pack-rat"!

Laurel Long said...

I really would like to be a participant of this discussion in an informed and intelligent way. If and when a book is discussed would it be possible for notice to be given ahead of time so that I can buy the book, read the book, digest the book. However, I would still require the option of excusing myself from any subject that I am not interested in. YOu have already made that option available. Not being aware of the reading list has put me at a distinct disadvantage-not your fault. Could discussions of valuable materials be planned and more circumscribed to a time frame so that if we miss one segment we can join in on a new one at an appointed time? Say discuss Tickle's book over an interim of 3 or four months or weeks, whatever you decide. But, also give some suggestions for the next 3 quarters so that we can read ahead/be prepared. This will allow participation and absence to flow more with the rhythms our lives.
I have already planned my reading projects for the remainder of the year but if I had some notice I could integrate other materials into that process. What do you all think?

John M. said...

Heavens! You're realy organized Laurel! I'm much more of an opportuist when it comes to reading. I always have a stack of to-be-read books, and then I end up buying and reading a bunch of others before I ever (if I ever do) get to the ones in my stack! I admire your discipline (and Brian's)

The Rummage Sale idea is easy to understand and discuss, though, without reading the book.

Although I did make a couple observations about Tickle's book, I have refrained from trying to discuss it because I know that not all of us have read it.

I'm up for whatever we decide. Doing what you suggest would cause us to be a lot more systematic than we have been before. Not a bad thing, although the sponteniety of threads that pop up as we talk has been good too.

Laurel Long said...

Yes, that was an apology that I neglected to make; spontaneity keeps the discussion from taking on an exclusively scholarly or academic tone. Spontaneity gives the discussion a more organic and natural flow which relieves the pressure of always having to sound "intellectual," or from having thoroughly processed the ideas on the screen. I really don't think that "planning" for discussion necessarily eliminates spontaneity, that the two are mutually exclusive. Some of my best "intellectual" conclusions have been the result of spontaneously combustible conversations;; spontaneity is really just thinking out loud to someone who is interested and will give you honest feedback.
Believe me guys, it will not hurt my feelings if you prefer to continue along your merry and random way, it is definitely a lot of fun. I will try to continue to tag along at my haltingly slow pace.
Just thinking out loud.

just joe said...

thats actually a good suggestion Laurel ... why don't we all share two or three books that we are reading and the central thrust of each book, and compile them into a reading list for future discussion? we really could then plan a discussion of a particular book with a month or two of advance notice.

I also have some condensed chapter-by-chapter summaries of Tickle's book I could send when I get home.

today is the last day in Rio. It has been an extremely busy trip but very fruitful.

Laurel Long said...

If all agree I will make my list and submit it for consideration.

Laurel Long said...

Also,
so very glad your trip has been profitable.

steve H said...

I am willing to give you my list. I don't know that I'll be able to keep up with all the reading.

Brian Emmet said...

Rats--I just got in my first order of summer reading...shoulda checked in here first. I'm not agin' it, but one of the problems with a book-based discussion is lag- and lead-time required: it would take a bit of time to agree on a title, then allow time to read said title (a week? A month?), and then engage with one another around the reading... worth a try, but I'd suggest we aim for the actual book discussion to begin around September 1.

I agree w/ Joseph about "having" to read books that aren't in my wheelhouse... that's why I hang around here (i.e., this is where I get clued into all those titles "I don't agree with"! [just kidding]

just joe said...

ok ... we are back up to 40 comments again ... amazing how fast that happens.

I think we have at least temporarily exhausted the rummage sale-tickle conversation. I~m going to start a new discussion thread about our summer reading plans.

Laurel would you go first? Just tell us what you are planning to read this summer, and why. On the new discussion thread of course.

on my way to meet my friends here in Rio. This has been an amazingly fruitful time for social networking. I have deepened 4 or 5 friendships and I have made at least 10 new friendships... a bit unusual.

John M. said...

I'm game for whatever. I'm with Steve that I don't have confidence that I'll keep up. When we all agreed to discuss "The Blue Parakeet" we didn't seem to get to far with it...

For me, this blog and Scot McKnight's blog have had a large influcence on my reading list.