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April 26th Cohort: The State of Marriage/Divorce

We meet this Tuesday from 7 pm to 9 pm at our ATL Emergent “headquarters”, SISTER LOUISA’S CHURCH OF THE LIVING ROOM & PING PONG EMPORIUM at 466 Edgewood Avenue,  Atlanta, Georgia 30312

BREAKING NEWS! Mike Morrell, one of the organizers of the upcoming Wild Goose Festival (among other talents!) will be there to answer any and all your questions on this first ever USA gathering of Justice, Spirituality, Music and Art!
Josey will facilitate our continued conversation on sexuality, focusing on the state of marriage and divorce, particularly in the context of faith/religion. I would love to hear from those who have been EXCLUDED from this possibility by most states, including Georgia. This conversation will ultimately be shaped the way the participants need it to be – there is no desired “solution” or “outcome” other than to find safe, suspended space where we can be honest and vulnerable for a while.

Here is Josey’s overview:

In an environment of expert driven advice, pop-psychology, and self-help gurus, we are taught to find the right “answer” to life’s problems instead of developing poignant questions that point us to the answers that we are seeking. This coming meeting, I want to emphasize that we won’t have any new ideas nor good ideas if we don’t make this space a safe space for ideas to do battle without making it personal.

           Looking forward to this next Tuesday’s Cohort meeting, I must admit my immediate limitations in facilitating a discussion on the state of marriage and divorce among religious folks. I have never been married. My longest relationship lasted three years. Even so, I do think there are a couple of qualifiers that give me an insight into such a discussion. I am a child of divorce. I am an adopted American, so I have firsthand knowledge in developing a very significant relationship in my life from the ground up, and my new family journey is fraught with great joys and great heartaches, and I’m fortunate enough to see my now parents remain together, though they came close to divorce a couple of times.

           As I look forward to facilitating this coming cohort’s discussion, I feel the best contribution I can offer will be in the form of genuine questions that I want to ask and offer to the group, as someone who wishes to marry one day and adopt some tykes of my own. Growing up I was surrounded in family trauma and divorces galore (my birth family was deeply religious). Even with my adoptive family, quite a number of my extended family have gone through some nasty divorces.

 Becoming students of relationships

           In most of the dating manuals I’ve read, one piece of advice that kept coming up is that in order to find “Mr./Miss Right”, get out there and date a lot, and by the time you’re ready to marry, you might be better equipped to be in a healthy relationship. (That’s so individualistic!) Why? Because theoretically through the course of failed relationships, one will make plenty of mistakes, find out what one “wants,” and become more comfortable in one’s skin (or so I am postulating…)

           I would argue that we need to become students of relationships, that once we’re in a relationships that we continue to work to build on the foundations of those relationships. As a seminary student, I am spending three years studying the ins and outs of theological study and ministry. After graduating, I will have a level of understanding that a Christian lay person wouldn’t necessarily have (and a degree proving it). Shouldn’t the same be said of our relationships. In a nation that has a 50/50 success rate on marriage, wouldn’t it be groundbreaking to have persons who can pass on knowledge and wisdom so that future couples wishing to embark on committed, monogamous, life-long relationships.

 Where is the accountability?

Where are the wise persons to turn to for advice?

Where are the safe spaces to wrestle and question the long-held institution of marriage?

           I would argue that not only do we need healthy systems (ex. churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) that emphasize pre-marital counseling, but also post-marital (divorce)counseling, which would aim at breaking unhealthy habits and empowering the individual, so that possible re-marriage will be healthier- more importantly- that the person regains a healthy self-worth. There also needs to be intra-marital counseling/ accountability through the course of the couple’s marriage. Most of the time, couples don’t come to marriage counselors until there are significant problems in the relationship that threaten the continuation of the relationship. What if there was a structure set up that aimed at helping couples through the inevitable transitions and life-stages that take place within their marital relationship?

Getting Marriage Right collected chapter summaries and questions

March 22nd Cohort: PUT THIS ON THE {MAP}

Posted on

WE PUT ATLANTA “ON THE MAP”! TWO MEMBERS OF THIS TEAM ARE COMING HERE MARCH 22ND FOR A ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION SO THAT WE CAN LEARN WAYS TO LEARN WAYS FOR IT TO “GET BETTER” NOW! JOIN US ON TUESDAY, MARCH 22ND AT SISTER LOUISA’S FROM 7 PM UNTIL 9 PM AND INVITE ANY AND ALL THAT WOULD BENEFIT FROM THIS CONVERSATION. WE ASK FOR A $10 DONATION TO HELP DEFRAY TRAVEL COSTS. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

SISTER LOUISA’S CHURCH OF THE LIVING ROOM & PING PONG EMPORIUM (see great article HERE!)

466 Edgewood Avenue,  Atlanta, Georgia 30312
on The Edgewood Corridor, in the old Danneman’s space, diagonal to Sound Table.

February 22nd Cohort – Sacred Sexuality

The sexual act is so shameful that it is intrinsically evil.” ~Pope Innocent (1160-1216)

The Church (and other religions) have done much to turn a God-given Gift into something “dirty” and “perverted”. And interestingly (and tragically), this stance has been embedded into our Western Culture. What if the Church got it wrong? What if sexuality is something beautiful and is actually a sacred path to the Divine? And pushing this further, is “traditional/institutional” marriage the ONLY place where this sacred path should take place (as the Church seems to imply)? What does this mean for single people who are marrying later in life (or never) or LGBT who often aren’t granted that civil right? That will be this month’s fascinating discussion,  facilitated by Josey (the Outlaw) Stone.

Josey poses the question: “What would it look like to move beyond talking about sexuality and all the complex definitions, associations, and issues brought up by the topic of sexuality, and to move toward talking with persons about sexuality on a face to face level, holding their concerns and evolving human identity as sacred- as something to be nurtured, honored, and upheld as a gift from and glimpse of the Divine?”

These links will definitely stir your mind for the conversation:

Come participate in this interfaith conversation on  Tuesday, February 22nd at 7:00 pm at (upstairs space):

SISTER LOUISA’S CHURCH OF THE LIVING ROOM & PING PONG EMPORIUM (This place is PERFECT – see great article HERE!)

466 Edgewood Avenue,  Atlanta, Georgia 30312
on The Edgewood Corridor, in the old Danneman’s space, diagonal to Sound Table.

January Cohort – PUNK TORAH!

For our first Metro Atlanta Emergent Cohort gathering of 2011, ATL’s Punk Torah guys, Patrick Aleph and Michael Sabani, are going to hang out with us! I got to meet them a few weeks back at the American Islamic Fellowship meet-up and was blown away by what they are about and what they want to do! Who/what is Punk Torah? From their web page:

PunkTorah is leading a revolution in grassroots, user-driven Jewish spirituality with its family of online, multimedia, community-lead projects, starting with the faith and pop culture blog, PunkTorah.org as well as its incredibly popular social media networks such as the PunkTorah YouTube Channel and Facebook. Recently, PunkTorah remixed the concept of independent minyanim with the launch of OneShul.org, the world’s first completely virtual, independent minyan and Jewish community as well as publishing two independent siddurim in the past six months.

This is a  brief statement of revolutionary Judaism. In it we try to address some of the possible failings and potential answers to issues plaguing Judaism today. It is not an official statement of belief, but it is close. It is more like a letter written by two people who love Judaism, love their fellow Jews, and want to make the future a better place for all of us.

Does their approach sound slightly similar to what we are talking about in Emergent conversation? Do they sound “emergent-esque” to you? Come meet these guys on Tuesday, January 25th at 7:00 pm at (upstairs space):

SISTER LOUISA’S CHURCH OF THE LIVING ROOM & PING PONG EMPORIUM (This place is PERFECT – see great article HERE!)

466 Edgewood Avenue,  Atlanta, Georgia 30312
on The Edgewood Corridor, in the old Danneman’s space, diagonal to Sound Table.

Morning Celtic Retreat – November 13th

A Morning Celtic Retreat

Saturday November 13 2010

At Druid Hills Baptist Church:
A Morning Celtic Retreat with Mary Meighan from Ireland…
An introduction to Celtic Spirituality.
An invitation to gently experience our ancient, yet living, Spiritual tradition.
Hear the main tenets of Celtic Spirituality and experience its rich wisdom.

During our time together hear poetry, myths, music, song, prayers and blessings express the openness and wonder of the Celtic Spirit. Begin to have a living sense of our tradition and bring a small part from the heart of Ireland into your everyday life.
Program
10.00 am Registration & Coffee
10:15 am Gather together for a morning of introduction to the Celtic Spiritual tradition. In this spirit you will hear stories, music, song, poetry, prayers and blessings from our tradition.
1:00 pm Lunch at Manuel’s Tavern, a Southern take on an Irish pub, followed by a Presentation and Information Meeting for a “A Spiritual Journey to Ireland” in 2011.
Cost is $25 per person for the Retreat (lunch is on your own)
May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
May you be enfolded in a mantle of love. (Celtic Blessing)
Mary Meighan is the Founder and Director of Celtic Journeys. (www.celticjourneys.com)
Mary was born and raised in Belfast and has her home in County Wicklow, Ireland. Mary has a lifetime of experience making sacred journeys all over the world and a deep passion and understanding of her own native celtic culture.
Mary regularly visits other countries giving introductory talks on the Celtic Tradition, facilitating Celtic Workshops,
and guiding retreats on Celtic Spirituality. Along with a degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Social Work she has a Masters degree in Spirituality from Naropa University.
Seating is limited: Tickets are $25 each. For tickets, go online HERE or bring a check or money order payable to Rev. Gregg Carlson with you on Saturday. For more information call: (404-805-0934) at pastorgregg@hotmail.com .

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Decatur Book Festival

Come hang out at the Decatur Book Festival with us this Suday (September 5th) ! Check out the author/speaker schedule and the go to our Facebook Event page. Post on the wall which you would be interested in so that others can connect with you. Also post your cell phone # so that we can loop you in. We can grab a bit to eat and a cold beverage, too!