jamie gates

Where Strangers Quickly Become Friends

The Ekklesia Project Gathering is a place where strangers quickly become friends.  This is my third Gathering, having come last year and once way back in 2002.  I’m learning that this is a time and place for the growth and discipleship of sub-versive friendships for the sake of more clearly seeing and naming the Reign of God, for the reconciliation of the Body of Christ and for more faithful participation in the Reign of God.  It is learning to see and speak with prophetic eyes and a prophetic voice.  Read more

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What it is, and is not, to be an EP Endorser

Early on, we said that The Ekklesia Project was a “school for subversive friendship,” an opportunity to discover friends you didn’t know you had who were busy letting Jesus turn the world right-side up (dethroning the powers in the process). That was in 2000. Now, thanks to Web2.0 social media, it appears that discovering ‘friends’ is as easy as clicking “accept” whenever Facebook invites me to. I’ve accumulated 180 ‘friends’ that way, some of whom I actually know. Read more

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The Koinonia Story in a Nutshell

Thanks to Church of the Servant King in Eugene, Oregon Koinonia Farm Director Bren Dubay and Ekklesia Project Director Brent Laytham met during Pentecost 2008. Bren was visiting the folks in Eugene to learn how another community shares life together. Brent was there as a guest speaker celebrating the birth of the church with Church of the Servant King. Inspired by Brent’s teaching, Bren promised she’d attend the 2008 Gathering. This led to her coming back in 2009 and co-presenting a workshop, “Doing Business for the Kingdom or the Empire,” with Chi-Ming Chien of Dayspring Technologies.

Many of those involved in the Ekklesia Project know of Koinonia Farm and Clarence Jordan. Clarence, his wife Florence and their friends Mabel and Martin England founded Koinonia (Greek for loving community) in 1942. Inspired by the Book of Acts, they wanted to live in an intentional Christian community and live out their deeply held beliefs drawn from Jesus’ teachings: peacemaking, radical sharing, and brother/ sisterhood among all people. Read more

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A Great Gathering

Thanks to everyone for a great gathering. One sign of how important our topics were is we began conversations much larger than we could carry on during the time allotted. We’re hoping we can continue our work together through an ongoing sharing on bLogos and FB.

Wealth, especially money, divides the church. It can and does also become part of our sharing, our communion (koinonia). We’d be mistaken to try to create the fool-proof perfect system that will overcome sin and remove our need for mercy, patience, and hope in God’s grace. But we can still share wisdom about how congregations can plant the kudzu of the kingdom. How, in this culture so saturated with the symbolic power of money, can we be people among whom wealth serves its proper ends? How do you talk about that in your congregation?

In short, in what ways has your community made wealth and poverty into occasions for reconciliation, supporting and building friendships, witnessing to the finitude of being creatures and the plenitude found in bearing the cross?

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Planning Our 2009 Gathering

Over the years, many EP endorsers have asked us to hold a Gathering dedicated to talking about economic issues, and at the end of last summer’s gathering, the board agreed that we would move that direction for next year. Little did we know at that moment just how big an issue the economy was about to become in the U.S.

But as the planning committee began working, first we had trouble sorting out exactly which kind of economic issues we would talk about. Then, although usually a gathering is organized around a scriptural passage or theme, we could not settle on just one. Ultimately what struck us was less the importance of any one passage and more the importance of the scriptural story as the story of God’s economy. Or to put it another way, what struck us was the idea that the true economy is the work of God. Read more