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Emerging, House, Cafe, Organic, Post-Modern?

6 November, 2003 9:55 AM

'So what kind of church is LivingRoom?'

It is the question of the moment. It gets asked at BBQs, conferences, down the street, at family dinners - anywhere at all.

Its a good question - but its difficult to answer because to this point we havn't found a way to describe who we are in a nice neat way.

Most people assume we are a House Church - it is tempting to go with this because its a term that most Christians are familiar with - and after all we do meet 90% of the time in one-anthers homes. However the language does come with some baggage. Here in Australia the House Church movement has a bit of a reputation of being very insular in it's focus whereas we want to have a real missional edge to what we do. I also wonder if defining or identifying ourselves by the place where we meet (ie House Church...or for others Cafe Church etc) is helpful. At present the home is a relevant place for our meetings, but down the track this might not be the case. Already we meet from time to time in other contexts.

Another name we've considered is Missional Community. This one sits better with me. I've always been a little uncomfortable with the term Church because of the baggage that those in our wider community have towards it. Missional Community picks up on two of our three Core Vales (those of the Outer and Together journey) but it misses the third (the Inner Journey). Perhaps it should be Missional Faith Community - but then its getting a bit wierd. This sort of language is good for us who know what it means, but its not terminology that most people would grasp easily.

I guess there are difficulties with most labels. People will always have baggage with certain terms. When it comes down to it our words to describe our identity will only ever be secondary anyway. Of primary concern should be who we are in reality. The proof is in the pudding as they say - and people will know what this Living Room thing is by the way we live our lives.

Interested in your thoughts.



I can relate in a way to what you are saying. I work within the traditional church where no one from my congregation is even aware of what postmodern is, much less emergent. Trying to describe what I feel called to being (a missional community)is so hard to describe to someone who is completely satisfied with church as it is now. That is just the beginning of where my struggles start.

Jay » 6 November, 2003 12:15 PM

Describing what Livingroom is appears to be as difficult and involved as answering the question "What is a Blog." It's at least as complex a subject and that's what makes it difficult.

I have questions in my own mind that I haven't found the answers to yet. I'm curious as to what motivated you and the others in your group to establish Livingroom? What was lacking in the larger church that your group believes Livingroom can provide?

You say "The proof is in the pudding." The scriptures say "You will know them by the fruit they bear." Both say much the same thinking in my own mind.

Perhaps, addressing the motivational forces behind the perceived need for Livingroom will help to describe what Livingroom is.

Clarence » 6 November, 2003 7:12 PM


i'm in a traditional episcopal church in america... talk about baggage. i would love to call ourselves something else... like mission community or gathering or network (i.e. pete ward's liquid church). but i'm realizing the truth is i am in an episcopal church and unless i dig down deep and discover what the history and tradition of the episcopal church has to offer the culture we live in i will be endlessly frustrated by trying to make it something it's not.

lucas land » 7 November, 2003 12:35 AM

We haven't even started meeting yet. At this point, the vision is a small egg being nursed by my wife and me. No idea yet when it's going to hatch.

But we're already talking about what to name her.

Nothing concrete. No illusions that it's all up to us or that anything we decide today will actually stick. But it's been fun talking about how to go about coming up with a name.

One thing we have decided is that it won't have the word "church" in it. Gathering, Community, Congregation, Gaggle, Crew... Something that binds us together as a unit. There is something about recognizing the individuality of the group as a part of the church whole.

But I think the use of the word "church" to refer both to the universal body and the local congregation causes problems. It causes churches & their leadership to see themselves as bigger than they really are. It causes them to see other "churches" as competition. It keeps us from seeing that we are all the same church.

Beyond that? Does the name follow a style or ministry philosophy? Geographical region? We've actually been leaning toward "Living Room" for the past year or so. Since the vision leads toward a network of communal groups, the overall name will probably be Something Network, and the groups may just be called by the leader or host of the group.

kevin » 7 November, 2003 6:28 AM

Somos una Union de cooperativas por eso tenemos los mejores precios, y podemos competir en este mercado de lo ecologico y organico
Aqui les mando la cotizacion del caf�:

PRODUCTO :Caf� Organico, tipo Arabica Cosecha 2004

CALIDAD : Oxapampa, estrictamente de Altura ( Caf� Gourmet)

TIPO : M.C.M (machine clean, escogido a mano)"chosen by hand"

CANTIDAD : 20,250 Quintales de 46 Kls. y/o 13,500 sacos de 69Kls C/S
segun cronograma de Embarque 2004 Siguiente:

QQ/. 46 Junio Julio Agosto Setiemb Octub
Kls 1,500 3,750 5,250 6,750 3,000

Precio : 100.00 Euros por Quintal de 46.00 Kilos precio FOB puesto en
el Puerto del Callao Lima - Perou

Condiciones: Carta de Credito a nombre de Cooperativa de Oxapampa.
Consideraciones a tener en cuenta:
El caf� se vende sobre la modalidad Fob, o sea puesto en el puerto del Callao.
Los precios del caf� organico, est�n casi al doble del caf� corriente y el Peru es el pais que m�s caf� organico est� vendiendo, somos los primeros, en vender este tipo de caf�, por ello es
que este caf� no esta sujeto al precio de bolsa del mercado internacional.
La negociacion se hara bajo el sistema de Comercio equitable, donde seran los productores directos, beneficiarios de estos precios,
Coordinador de la Cooperativa de Oxapampa
PS: Para cualquier duda o aclaracion puede escribirnos o llamar a Francia
al TELF : 00 33 675 29 55 46

cafe organico » 12 March, 2004 3:24 AM

I am a pastor and doctoral student and am explroing the topic of being a culturally significant church and the implications of this on how we should "do" church. Does this mean we need to shift to a "house church" model? Are denominations no longer of any value? I am interested in your comments and discussion, please visit me and help me in my research http://www.spiritbaptism.com/chat/viewtopic.php?t=599 and maybe I can learn from your experience.
God bless,

Joe » 2 July, 2004 3:33 AM

I can relate to so much of this, and yet...I've given up trying to find a single word to describe my community or my beliefs, and have fallen back on 'church' and 'Christian'...and because these words usually only come up with people who know me at least a little bit, I find that they're curious. Apparently "people like me" aren't usually 'Christians', yet alone regularly attending 'church'.

...I've also found that when I've used words like "radical disciple" or "missional faith community", I've frequently got the "Oh You're Such a W*nker" look from my "non-Christian" friends, and the "Oh You're Definitely Backsliding" look from "christian" friends. ;P

I dunno what any of this means for anyone else's choice of terminology - these are just my own experiences. I can completely sympathise with Kevin's rejection of the word "church", but I've known several "gatherings" and "communities" that are far less warm and welcoming than the "churches" I know - ultimately it's the substance that counts, and we should be wary of overestimating the importance of a term in shaping that substance.

Bec » 19 January, 2005 10:04 AM

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