Emmaus Walks

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Emmaus Walks

Postby KeithE » Tue Mar 08, 2005 9:37 am

Just returned from being a Team member on a Walk to Emmaus. I cannot recommend this program highly enough. http://www.upperroom.org/emmaus/

Met two unforgetable characters on this Walk-

Bob Watson a retired Marine (20+ years) and now a solo missionary to the nations (mostly Soutern Hemisphere which is much more open to the "real gospel" as he says). He is sick and tired of all the negative protrayals of God as being angry at us and his main message is that God is loves us and is always "pulling for us" - not like the angry Marine sergeants he lived under. He works odd jobs near Shoals area on N AL including golf course manintenence until he has enough money to go on another missionary trip.

Dale White- older gentlemen who was once an actor/singer I believe doing Looney's Tavern (about the proud county of Winston AL) and as well as some Hollywood TV - never said what shows. I suspect Dale had had a stoke and mentioned his arthitis. He moved and talk slow but when you could understand him, he spoke with great conviction and wisdom. At the closing he got up and "testified" and it drew a great applause with lines like "I may not have great degrees hanging on my wall, but I know the Lord and will proclaim Him as loud as my voice can be heard and these weary bones wont stop me- I'll do it from bed if I have to". Dale was at my Table where I was the discussion leader and after the closing he wanted me to meet his Methodist pastor "a greeeaat man of God" of Arley, AL. That pastor immediate asked me where I went to church and I told him Weatherly Heights Baptist Church. He said he never heard of it but "as long as it preaches the Word, Baptist churches could be all right; it does preach the Word doesn't it". I assured him it does, but thought to myself - the Word means Jesus to me but probably something else to him. At least I know Dale is on solid ground.
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Agreed

Postby Michael » Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:37 am

KeithE:
Walk to Emmaus. I cannot recommend this program highly enough.


I agree, KeithE. I recall when I made my Walk some years ago, it made no difference to my table (small group in Emmaus-speak) that I was a minister. We were all brothers in Christ sharing a weekend of spiritual growth and insight. Emmaus is a genuine discipleship experience. I've been blessed to work a couple of Walks. My wife and I have'nt bee n able to be involved since we've been in Iowa but still promote Emmaus when we have the chance.

How 'bout a BL.com Walk to Emmaus? :)
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Re: Agreed

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:07 pm

Michael wrote:KeithE:
Walk to Emmaus. I cannot recommend this program highly enough.


I agree, KeithE. I recall when I made my Walk some years ago, it made no difference to my table (small group in Emmaus-speak) that I was a minister. We were all brothers in Christ sharing a weekend of spiritual growth and insight. Emmaus is a genuine discipleship experience. I've been blessed to work a couple of Walks. My wife and I have'nt bee n able to be involved since we've been in Iowa but still promote Emmaus when we have the chance.

How 'bout a BL.com Walk to Emmaus? :)


ED: Thanks for the suggestion Michael but personaly my retreat schedule for the next year is filled with Baptist stuff. Not that I have any thing aginst the Methodist warm over (adataption) of a Catholic program. Unless perhaps the smack of commecialism growing with it.
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Postby Michael » Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:05 pm

Timothy, thanks for sharing the info on the ecumenical nature of Emmaus. The Walks I've been involved have had, of course, quita a few UMCers, but a mix of Baptists of various stripes, Presbyterians, Independents, and others. Singing songs of faith in the Emmaus setting is a powerful worship experience.

(SW Indiana Walk to Emmaus 12A - Table of St. Stephen)


And, since you mentioned it:

Wabash Valley Walk to Emmaus #21, Table of St. Matthew
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Re: Agreed

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Mar 08, 2005 9:03 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Ed Pettibone wrote:
Michael wrote:KeithE:
Walk to Emmaus. I cannot recommend this program highly enough.


I agree, KeithE. I recall when I made my Walk some years ago, it made no difference to my table (small group in Emmaus-speak) that I was a minister. We were all brothers in Christ sharing a weekend of spiritual growth and insight. Emmaus is a genuine discipleship experience. I've been blessed to work a couple of Walks. My wife and I have'nt bee n able to be involved since we've been in Iowa but still promote Emmaus when we have the chance.

How 'bout a BL.com Walk to Emmaus? :)


ED: Thanks for the suggestion Michael but personaly my retreat schedule for the next year is filled with Baptist stuff. Not that I have any thing aginst the Methodist warm over (adataption) of a Catholic program. Unless perhaps the smack of commecialism growing with it.


Ed, you know not of what you speak.

Emmaus isn't a "Methodist warm over" or the least bit commercial.

The Upper Room moved from the RCC Cursillo movement in an amicable agreement with the RCC church because of the desire for Emmaus to be an ecumenical (not strictly Methodist) program.

One of the problems with Baptists is that we tend to hang out in a Baptist ghetto and miss some really great opportunities that other Christians have to offer.

A lot of ABCers are very involved in Emmaus including some ABC churches that are actual Emmaus retreat sites.

As to the experience of Emmaus, I can tell you that I had the most powerful spiritual experience of my life since my conversion on my first Emmaus Walk. Since then I've served as an Assistant Spiritual Director numerous times and as the Spiritual Director for a Walk year before last.

Please don't down a program which contributes to the spirtual growtn of millions of Christians around the world simply because it isn't Baptist or isn't your cup of tea.

(SW Indiana Walk to Emmaus 12A - Table of St. Stephen)



Ed: Tim, here is a cut and paste from the upper room website I have higlighted one word:


The Walk to Emmaus is an adaptation of the Roman Catholic Cursillo (pronounced cur-SEE-o) Movement, which originated in Spain in 1949. Cursillo de Cristianidad means "little course in Christianity." The original Cursillo leaders designed the program to empower persons to transform their living and working environments into Christian environments. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Episcopalians and Lutherans, along with several nondenominational groups, such as Tres Dias, began to offer Cursillo. In 1978, The Upper Room of the General Board of Discipleship adapted the program for a primarily Protestant audience and began to offer it under the name The Upper Room Cursillo. In 1981, The Upper Room made further adaptations and changed the name of the program to The Upper Room Walk to Emmaus. In 1984, The Upper Room developed a youth expression of Emmaus called Chrysalis


And Tim, I would suggest you look at Emmaus walk on E-Bay if you doubt the commercialism associated with the Walk.

Note also that what I said in reply to Michael's suggestion of a BL.com walk to Emmaus was not downing the Emmaus Walk. It was my honest reaction to the suggestion. For the next year I do not have the time another retreat. Although I have nothing aginst the program Walk to Emmaus program other than some minor negitive vibes.

Your statement that "One of the problems with Baptists is that we tend to hang out in a Baptist ghetto and miss some really great opportunities that other Christians have to offer." Is a broad brush incitement of Baptist that is not, as you well know, applicable to all of us.

Your reaction to my comments causes another of the negative vibes I have previously experienced. It is related to what I see as some "Walk" graduates deification of the experience. It is not that I can not rejoice in anothers mountain top experience in relating to GOD. What I do not rejoice in is when the other intimates that those who have not been on the same mountain may not have had parallel experiences with the same GOD.
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Postby mlovell » Tue Mar 08, 2005 9:33 pm

Michael -- How 'bout a BL.com Walk to Emmaus?


Sounds great! When? Where? :)

Personally, I've learned a great deal and truly enjoyed the ecumenical spiritual formation opportunities I've taken advantage of. Our church women's group had a one-day "Journey to Spiritual Renewal" a couple of weeks ago -- at a Catholic church in Dallas, whose lovely new facility was excellent. They allowed us to celebrate communion (ourselves) at their altar -- which they said was "the table of the Lord." Looked like a table[/url -- square, flat surface. The Catholics (I presume) who came in to pray didn't seem to be bothered by us one whit -- not even by our singing. (I did maintain a very low volume -- because I know what I sound like, and it's nothing you'd want amplified.):)

Our leader for the day was Sylvia Maddox, an Episcopalian who teaches at a Catholic college in San Antonio. Sylvia grew up Baptist in ETexas, so she's trilingual (at least) when it comes to denominations. She's led groups at our church several times before, so clearly our people like her.

One exercise which carried out the "Spiritual Journey" theme was walking the labyrinth at the church -- which gave us all a new way to think about prayer as journey. The physical motion helps walkers focus, I think -- and you'd be amazed at the other thoughts people shared about walking the labyrinth during the bus trip back home.

Ed -- Note also that what I said in reply to Michael's suggestion of a BL.com walk to Emmaus was not downing the Emmaus Walk.

Really? Most people would read "Methodist warmover of a Catholic program which smacks of commercialism" as downing.

Ed -- What I do not rejoice in is when the other intimates that those who have not been on the same mountain may not have had parallel experiences with the same GOD.

"Intimates"? I think you'll have to show me where anyone "intimated" that those who haven't done an Emmaus walk haven't "had parallel experiences with the same God elsewhere." KeithE said he'd met two memorable people. Michael said it was, for him, a "genuine discipleship experience." Timothy said he'd had "the most powerful spiritual experience of his life since conversion" on his first walk -- but he neither said nor "intimated" anything about anyone else. He was simply speaking (and quite politely, too) to your unmistakably negative characterization of it. To say that I find something meaningful surely doesn't "intimate" that your spiritual experience is inferior to mine.

So we're not all alike, and we don't all find value in the same things. I, for one, haven't wasted time or money on a permanent in more than 30 years, but I don't find it necessary to choose demeaning adjectives (as "warmed over, smack of commercialism, deification of the experience" are demeaning) to describe either permanents or those who choose them.)
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Re: Agreed

Postby jerryl » Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:08 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:And Tim, I would suggest you look at Emmaus walk on E-Bay if you doubt the commercialism associated with the Walk.


Tim,
I'm with Ed here. I first heard of Walk to Emmaus via trinkets I saw at a Cokesbury bookstore. And I don't think I'm a typical resident of the Baptist ghetto.

I don't doubt that it's a wonderful program with many very good points. But I guess some experiences in my youth/young adulthood with a course/program that I think placed too much emphasis on who's gone thru it and who's not, has probably darkly colored my perception of programmatic/published/highly promoted small group Christian study.

While I'm sure you and Michael didn't have any bad motives or were trying to label yourselves as insiders with the mention of your 'Tables', at a very internal emotional level I found the references 'off-putting'. Kinda like I'd respond to two people greeting each other with a secret club handshake in public.

BTW, I've also got some problems with the UMC's 'Disciples Bible Study' program. I get a lot of insider/outsider vibe from that program, too.

Of course, this probably says more about my own woundedness and fear than it does about these programs.

Ed wrote:What I do not rejoice in is when the other intimates that those who have not been on the same mountain may not have had parallel experiences with the same GOD.


And not that in any way do I think that anyone here is or would attempt to do that. BUT, I've seen it happen with other programs/other people, and I guess I RUN when I even think it might happen.

Give me something a little less slick, a little less programmatic, and with a lot less trinkettry.

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Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:46 pm

Ed: Thanks Jerrel, I am glad to know that some one else resonates with what I was saying.
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Re: Agreed

Postby David Flick » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:09 pm

To Michael, Ed wrote:Thanks for the suggestion Michael but personaly my retreat schedule for the next year is filled with Baptist stuff. Not that I have any thing aginst the Methodist warm over (adataption) of a Catholic program. Unless perhaps the smack of commecialism growing with it.

Ed you spoke without much knowledge when you talked of a "Methodist warm-over of a Catholic program." While the Emmaus Walk is patterned after the RCC Cursillo, it's not uniquely Methodist. It's very ecumenical. In the part of Oklahoma where I went on my walk, there were numerous denominations involved, with the predominant denomination being SBC.

I went on my walk as a pilgrim in 2000. I subsequently "worked" seven Emmaus Walks as assistant clergy on the teams. I have given all but one of the five clergy talks. About two years after I joined the Emmaus Community, I became the Spiritual Director for the Heartland Chrysalis Community (Chrysalis = the youth version of Emmaus Walk/ Heartland Chrysalis = the Oklahoma Chrysalis Community which is supported by four of the five Oklahoma Emmaus Communities). I have worked five Chrysalis weekends. On two of those, I served as the Spiritual Director.

I confess that I was very skeptical about going on my initial walk. I had heard all the negative stories thrice over. In the end, however, I found that the negative stories were all false. Those who criticize the program simply don't know what they are talking about.

I went primarily out of self-defense. Several of the pastors in my association had gone on walks and worked as team members and I wanted to see for myself what this program was about. The first 24 hours of my initial walk was spent in resisting the Spirit of God. But there came a point that realized what I was doing and I yielded to the moving of God's Spirit. Those who have never been on an Emmaus Walk can criticize all they want, but such criticism merely reveals the ignorance critic.

David Flick, Great Plains Walk to Emmaus #20, Table of Luke.
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Postby Sandy » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:20 pm

I've never been involved with Emmaus Walk, though I have observed what a blessing it has been to several close friends who have "been through it." I did once do "The Great Banquet", in fact, went all the way to Indiana to be involved, and I think that is a similar program but via the Presbyterians instead of Methodists. At the moment, I am involved in an Alpha Class which has been an incredibly productive period of time.

I haven't sensed that those who have experienced an Emmaus Walk have a tendency to consider themselves better than others for having had the spiritual experience of it. I suppose that kind of attitude could happen with just about any program designed to enhance the personal experience of the believer. People often assume that since they were richly blessed by something, everyone else around them will be richly blessed in the same way and that's simply not the case. Politely suggesting that someone check something out is adequate. Push it, and it begins to sound like you are trying to help someone fix the spiritual problems in their life that you have observed.

Is there anything in the church in America today that hasn't been packaged and marketed for a profit? Any popular or successful program has a book, CD or DVD made by the leader (to keep you from interjecting your own interpretations into the material if you use it in group form) and all kinds of promotional products to go along with it. Its a multi-million dollar business, but that side of it shouldn't be used to judge the effectiveness of the program. You don't have to spend a dime if you don't want to.

I'd like to hear more about the elements of Emmaus Walk, and what it was about it that made the spiritual experience for those who have participated.
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Postby KeithE » Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:01 am

An observation: All those replying that have been on the Walk, are enthusaistic about it (Michael, Timothy B, David and myself)! Ed and Jerryl who haven't been on it, are negative. Ml and Sandy, having done other ecumenical events or seen what it has dome to participants, are open to it being a good experience.

I know of only a few (4 to be exact out of hundreds) that have been on it and have been anything short of very positive about it. You just come to a fresh realization of God's love for you and the world. This includes Protestants from Arminians to Calvinists(PCA style)and from liberal UU to conservative SBCers and from high church Epsicopals to charismatics, Catholics, Church of Christ.... I can point to people I know in each category mentioned.

To Ed and Jerryl, I will say that it is ludricrous to suspect commercialism as being the motive of the Emmaus Program or that commercialist are taking advantage of the enthusaism of theparticipants. That trinkets, song books, devotional material, pins, agape are made, speak to the power of the program. The material are priced quite economically. Also there is not a hint of spiritual pride or cliqueness in Walkees. They do meet together in Reunion Groups and Cluster Meetings but those groups do not claim special spiritualness (being more an accountability group than a self-promotional endeavor). The overall goal is one of strengthening local churches and all attendees are admonished against dropping out of their local church activities in favor of Emmaus activities.

Ed, there are many other mountaintop experiences other than Emmaus. Promise Keepers, revivals, retreats, mission teams, and even ABC/CBF/SBC conventions are examples. Shame of any Emmaus attender that thinks otherwise.

Sorry you feel that way - try it, you'll like it!
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Postby KeithE » Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:20 am

Sandy wrote:I'd like to hear more about the elements of Emmaus Walk, and what it was about it that made the spiritual experience for those who have participated.


At our "walks", we have about 45 "pilgrims" and a team of about 90 people doing all sorts of tasks to make the Pilgrims feel comfortable and special for teh 3 day program. You listen to 15 talks(about 10 by lay people and 5 by clergy). The speakers prcatice these talks before the team prior to the meeting sometimes often. There is communion each day, prayer chains 24 hours a day, prayer for each talk before/during/after the talk. There tables where 2 team members are present and about 6-7 pilgrims. They discuss each talk and summarize what they have learned. These "tables" usually form close bonds. There are times for confession and dumping "baggage" from prior hurts. And they are two special moments that usually leave the pilgrims in tears of joy that I will not go into so as to ruin the surprise. Food is quite profuse. Oh and the music is simply wonderful.

Being on a Team is just as special, especially if you get to be in the conference room listening/discussing the talks.

Again I cannot advocate it enough. I would think it might make a Calvinist a bit squeamish with all the emphasis on Prevenient Grace to all. But the Presbyterians I know who have been on it, have all loved it. That includes PCA members who even live in a "Community" where everyone must sign the WCOF and PCUSA members of the love the earth variety.
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Re: Agreed

Postby Jonathan » Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:27 am

jerryl wrote:I don't doubt that it's a wonderful program with many very good points. But I guess some experiences in my youth/young adulthood with a course/program that I think placed too much emphasis on who's gone thru it and who's not, has probably darkly colored my perception of programmatic/published/highly promoted small group Christian study.


Any chance that you are referring to SBC's "Masterlife" or Navigators "2:7"?

jerryl wrote:BTW, I've also got some problems with the UMC's 'Disciples Bible Study' program. I get a lot of insider/outsider vibe from that program, too.

Of course, this probably says more about my own woundedness and fear than it does about these programs.


Ed wrote:What I do not rejoice in is when the other intimates that those who have not been on the same mountain may not have had parallel experiences with the same GOD.


jerryl wrote:And not that in any way do I think that anyone here is or would attempt to do that. BUT, I've seen it happen with other programs/other people, and I guess I RUN when I even think it might happen.

Give me something a little less slick, a little less programmatic, and with a lot less trinkettry.


I've not had much personal experience with folks who are actively involved in Emmaus but my sister has a great deal. A group of folks in her former church got very involved in Emmaus and formed what sounded like a church within a church. Not only was there a whole lot of fraternity/sorority type insider/outsider vibe ("ssshhh, we can't talk about this....there are some non walkers present") but there was definitely a marked arrogance on the part of many in the Emmaus group. I was with her when one of her formerly very close friends (who was rarely active in church before or after the Emmaus experience) said something on the order of "You've not experienced the real Christian faith until you've gone on an Emmaus walk."

I actually believe that these folks were just being very enthusiastic about an experience that was, at least in the moment, life-changing in a way that their involvement in the day to day, week to week, church involvement had not been. I also believe that the secretive nature of their clique was more likely an attempt to hold on to the special fellowship that they had experienced during that particular weekend. To a much lesser degree, I've probably experienced the same thing with groups that I've gone to camps and mission trips with.

But such a thing can be quite damaging to the fellowship within a local church. It definitely was in my sister's church.

In any event, I am very much in favor of things, programs, events, experiences, etc...that work to bring one into a closer walk with God.
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Postby Michael » Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:44 am

Sandy
'd like to hear more about the elements of Emmaus Walk, and what it was about it that made the spiritual experience for those who have participated.

Here is a link on the Upper Room/Emmaus site that gives an overview of the program. Additional pages to this overview are at the top of this inital page: http://www.upperroom.org/emmaus/whatis/about.asp. As far as testimonies, you've heard some snippets in this topic from some of us who have participated and led. When I find more time, I'll seek to give a more detailed testimony.

Jerryl
While I'm sure you and Michael didn't have any bad motives or were trying to label yourselves as insiders with the mention of your 'Tables', at a very internal emotional level I found the references 'off-putting'. Kinda like I'd respond to two people greeting each other with a secret club handshake in public.
the Oklahomans on BL.com talk about places and people I know nothing about; Southern Seminary grads discuss SBTS and as an old SEBTS grad, I'm out of the loop; those of us on this board who served with HMB/NAMB have a common experience that binds us in some way. Emmaus alumni have that too. Some may react as if we are a secret society; some may be curious to know more, some may think we are half a load short. Some probably think the latter anyway! :lol:
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Postby David Flick » Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:57 am

KeithE wrote:I would think it might make a Calvinist a bit squeamish with all the emphasis on Prevenient Grace to all. But the Presbyterians I know who have been on it, have all loved it. That includes PCA members who even live in a "Community" where everyone must sign the WCOF and PCUSA members of the love the earth variety.

My experience has been that most Calvinists who attend walks are laypersons (I have worked three women's walks). I have never encountered a Calvinist clergyperson at a walk.

There's another angle at work here. The Calvinists who attend Emmaus walks are not very familiar with the Calvinist understanding of grace. They don't know the difference between prevenient grace and determinist grace.

My favorite clergy talk is the Previenient Grace talk...
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Postby KeithE » Wed Mar 09, 2005 9:10 am

David Flick wrote:
KeithE wrote:I would think it might make a Calvinist a bit squeamish with all the emphasis on Prevenient Grace to all. But the Presbyterians I know who have been on it, have all loved it. That includes PCA members who even live in a "Community" where everyone must sign the WCOF and PCUSA members of the love the earth variety.

My experience has been that most Calvinists who attend walks are laypersons (I have worked three women's walks). I have never encountered a Calvinist clergyperson at a walk.

There's another angle at work here. The Calvinists who attend Emmaus walks are not very familiar with the Calvinist understanding of grace. They don't know the difference between prevenient grace and determinist grace.

My favorite clergy talk is the Previenient Grace talk...


At first I couldn't thnk of any Calvinistic clergy who attended so in general you are right. But I know of 11 highly committed Calvinists that have gone and are enthusiastic about it to this day- I'll mention 3 ofthem
(1) One is a very good friend, who is buidling a house right next to me because of that friendship that precedes our Emmaus experience. I asked how he reconciled Prevenient Grace to all (as generally taught at Emmaus) with his Calvinism and his reply was something along teh lines - yes God graces everyone and woos everyone whoever lived but He chooses who that wooing would be actually effectual on, that is Justifying Grace. He saw no contradiction between Emmaus's theology and Calvinism. BTW, this guy may just be the smartest man I know (Mensa, top-notch NASA scientist, etc.)
(2) The wife of our ex-pastor (PCA Calvinist clear through) has gone - my wife sponsored her. She has sponsored several people since, but her husband (yet).
(3) One Calvinistic Baptist ex-clergy went and loves Emmaus muchly. This guy was fired by his SBC church several years ago before his Emmaus Walk when he became convinced of as he puts Reformed Doctrine. He is not in the least unfamiliar about the doctrines of grace. He now works as a programmer/manager at the company I work at and I was in a small (3 person) Reunion Group with him. Through that Reunion Group, he became significantly healed from that wound of being fired especially after the 3rd guy arranged a meeting with the Deacon who led the charges against him.

So somehow (inexplainable to me), these very involved and knowledgable Calvinists have reconciled their Calvinism with the underlying Emmaus theology. I say "underlying" because it is not pushed as a theological system in the slightest. Emmaus is about the heart not the mnd!

David, I know you didn't mean it, but I get the drift that you feel, from your comments above, that you think non-clergy are ill-informed and unfamiliar with matters theological. I assure yu that is not so wrt to at least 7 of the 11 Calvinists I mentioned above (and probably all of them).

I, like you, are continually puzzled by Calvinistic mindsets whose life and basic underlying assumptions seem to be at odds with their theology. But somehow in their minds it is straight. Go figure.

BTW, not all Emmaus programs work wonders. That 3 person Reunion Group broke up kinda of badly. There was Me, the Ex-clergy and the VP. Me and Ex were brothered by the VP non-attendence. The Ex was bothered by my theology (CBF attendence, Openness) and talked badly about "religious enthusiasm" which although he claims it was not a slam against the VP but the VP took it that way. We all got tired of meeting at 7:00am at work. The Ex and the VP got tired of my griping about my work situation (which after we quit meeting turned into my being fired by a government lady and not even the VP who was in a position to help find some other job assignment did so). I was not supported well by that Group but other church/Emmaus friends really did support a great deal as did workmates in finding me short term assigments until I could be placed back on the Missile Defense Program (working in a parallel organization to the lady who fired me - she now seeems to be my biggest supporter - never an apology but I count it as a harsh learning experience and a giant misunderstanding that could have easily left me on the unemployed list ). In fact the whole process of being fired has given me a notiriety in that community, and a better position to really affect the program.

Guess I better get ready for work.
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Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Mar 09, 2005 12:51 pm

Ed: Tim Bonney writes
If I weren't a former Southern Baptist, I'd not understand half the discussions on this board. What goes on inside the SBC, contrary to our own experience and what some in the SBC hope, isn't really a newsworthy topic in most of Christendom or even for other Baptist groups. It is just one denomination among many.

So even letters like SEBTS and SBTS might as well be Greek to most American Baptists, General Baptists, National Baptists, Conservative Baptists etc and may account for the fact that most folks on this board are in the SBC or formerly were Southern Baptists


Ed: Tim I think you have made an important observation worthy of a seperate thread. Please look for "Is BL.C too loaded with SBC stuff"
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Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:30 pm

ED: About Emmaus Walk, David flick wrote [Quote] I went primarily out of self-defense. Several of the pastors in my association had gone on walks and worked as team members and I wanted to see for myself what this program was about.

Which leads me to ask; David are you now recomending those pastors as spritual mentors? This sounds strange in light of your prior dicussions of pastors in that association.


David also said [quote]Ed you spoke without much knowledge when you talked of a "Methodist warm-over of a Catholic program." While the Emmaus Walk is patterned after the RCC Cursillo, it's not uniquely Methodist. It's very ecumenical. In the part of Oklahoma where I went on my walk, there were numerous denominations involved, with the predominant denomination being SBC.]

Ed: And David did you note that I softened that warmover to (adaptaion) which is the used used in the Upper Room Discription of the program?

As far as the Emmaus walk not being "uniquely Methodist" I would ask in whose name are the copy writes for the material?

And for you to use "there were numerous denominations involved, with the predominant denomination being SBC" as support for the program sounds stange to my ears.

I am not Knocking nor have I knocked Emmaus Walk. I stated my reasons for not being enthused about Michales inital suggestion, and raised additional questions, stemomg from the protest of my inital statement.
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Postby jerryl » Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:41 pm

Guys,

While I'm with Ed in being uncomfortable with Emmaus, I do think the 'Methodist warm over' comment was a little cold.

Please remember that I said my feelings have a lot to do with prior experiences with programs that were not from the same Cursillo root at all. But I hate to say it, you all are doing a lot to defend Emmaus, and not a whole lot to calm my concerns.

Jonathan, of all people, I think almost exactly understands where I'm coming from. Even though these kind of things try not to form 'churches within churches', it happens, in my book it's a common occurrence of these sort of programs. In my opinion even though the program stresses not doing things that cause this kind of insider/outsider fraction, it's the nature of the format.

Jonathan wrote:I actually believe that these folks were just being very enthusiastic about an experience that was, at least in the moment, life-changing in a way that their involvement in the day to day, week to week, church involvement had not been.


And that's where my main beef comes. This sort of experience should be part of the local church. In my opinion, that's what the church is for. Now I know that a lot of you on here are professional clergy, (no offence intended), and it's probably hard for you to have this sort of experience within your church; but the average lay person ought to be finding this sort of sense of love, calling, community in their church. They shouldn't need Emmaus 'Reunions' for this sort of thing.

And no, Jonathan, the issue wasn't directly related to Masterlife or '2:7'. It was a couple of programs older than Masterlife and I've not heard of their usage in a while.

KeithE wrote:To Ed and Jerryl, I will say that it is ludricrous to suspect commercialism as being the motive of the Emmaus Program or that commercialist are taking advantage of the enthusaism of theparticipants. That trinkets, song books, devotional material, pins, agape are made, speak to the power of the program.


I don't think there's a big commercialism attached to Emmaus. Although I will say that Cokesbury has a snotload of Emmaus stuff. The price and who profits isn't the issue (I drive out of my way to spend money with Cokesbury instead of other Christian booksellers.) Its about a program that creates people who feel the need to purchase and use these things. Why does someone want a Emmaus lapel pen, apron, or golf shirt? I buy stuff like this with logos from the university I attended and when I do, I do it with some pride and with the knowledge that these items somehow identifies me with this institutions. They say 'I've been there' (you can't pick up my school's stuff at any athletic goods store) and 'I want to be identified with this school'. Isn't the Emmaus stuff purchased for the same reasons and doesn't it do exactly the same thing? The fact that this stuff exists is some kind of indicator of pride among the Walkees.

And what I'm hearing from most of the people who are involved is absolutely how wonderful Emmaus is. I often get turned off when I hear this sort of talk about anything. (Part of my personality, I guess.) I don't really want to 'poo poo' the experience, but I still am not seeing it as something that at this point in my life I want to get involved in. (Hey, but I’ve probably got enough issues no one would sponsor me anyway right now. :D )

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Postby jerryl » Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:12 pm

Now I think you're getting me...

Timothy Bonney wrote:I understand your concern that such events should be within the local church. But, like missions involvement, ecumenical ministry, social action etc. it really is something that is hard for a single local church to pull off.


Well, Emmaus isn't the only path, (I'm sure you'd agree), and since I'm rather involved in trying to make my rather young and rather small congregation a go, I'll think I'll concentrate on things that will directly support and further my faith community. I still think it's unfortunate that Emmaus isn't/can't be structured in a way that directly supports the local faith community. I can understand this in a Catholic context, since the concept of church and faith community are a bit different... But there are probably enought good points about the program to make up for this minor qubble of mine.

Timothy Bonney wrote:As to feeling put off because those of us who are participating think the program is great, you lose me on that one Jerry.

Would you be more interesting in going if we said it was mediocre or poor??


Hey, I never said my feelings about this were rational. :D No, but everything has it's limitations, and I rarely warm to something when I don't know the the pro's and con's. Of course, something worthwhile has many more pro's than con's. And if I don't have some inkling of the limitiations/less desireable parts of something, I don't think I've digged far enough to really be knowlegable about something. So, of course boosterism, and 'It's great, it's great, you can't go wrong' kind of talk, makes all sorts of red flags go off in my head. Just one of my quirks I guess, I know the whole world doesn't think like I do.

I'm not usually a program person either. I've not even read Rick Warren's latest book. I've never read the book of Jabez. :D But, this isn't like that. It isn't a fad methodology. It has been around and useful for over 20 years.


But, at least to me, I've been hearing your talk about Emmaus in a similar light. I heard it as a 'fad methodology', and I've seen some fad meethodolgies that use the weekend retreat format.

I cannot help being honest with you and affirming that it was one of the best spiritual experiences of my life.


That I'll accept.

As to being sponsored, I bet I could find you a sponsor next week if actually wanted to go. :P


I really don't think this is the time in my life to get involved in something like this. (I'm not kidding about the issues.)

Even the admission that Emmaus is formatted in a way that it would be very hard for a single church to do, helps me feel a bit better about it. Like I said, everything has limitations, and I like to know at least some of them.

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Postby Jonathan » Wed Mar 09, 2005 10:49 pm

Jonathan wrote:I actually believe that these folks were just being very enthusiastic about an experience that was, at least in the moment, life-changing in a way that their involvement in the day to day, week to week, church involvement had not been.


jerryl wrote:And that's where my main beef comes. This sort of experience should be part of the local church. In my opinion, that's what the church is for. Now I know that a lot of you on here are professional clergy, (no offence intended), and it's probably hard for you to have this sort of experience within your church; but the average lay person ought to be finding this sort of sense of love, calling, community in their church. They shouldn't need Emmaus 'Reunions' for this sort of thing.


That was another problem that a number of folks in my sister's church had. The Emmaus community within that church was very tightly nit and frequently schedule these reunions at times that conflicted with functions at their church. "Sorry, I can't come, I'm meeting with our Emmaus group" was an all too common refrain. Again, I'm of the mind that this is probably more condemning of these participants than of the program as a whole.

I want to suggest that these situations would not occur if local churches were doing their jobs properly....but that only lets the folks who are, in reality, abandoning their biblical community of faith (the local church) off the hook. This is the same argument that unfaithful spouses use to justify their infidelity. Of course, the experience with the other man/woman appears exciting and fulfilling...because the difficulties of day to day relationship are not involved (the struggle to avoid silly arguments, the mars/venus thing, the annoying habits, the bad breath, toilet seat left up, the thermostat is too high/low, etc...).

Please understand that I am not calling Emmaus folk (or folk who are enthusiastic about any other powerful para-church or non-church related experience) unfaithful, but I am suggesting that if you are seeking an experience within a community of faith and are seeking it away from the local church...just be careful.

jerryl wrote:And no, Jonathan, the issue wasn't directly related to Masterlife or '2:7'. It was a couple of programs older than Masterlife and I've not heard of their usage in a while.


The reason I asked is that I've had excellent experiences with one of these studies but have seen a great deal of fallout caused by folks who wanted to create elite groups of alumni from these studies. The leader of my first Masterlife group made it very clear that there would be no passing out of "Masterlife pins" and that the giving of the church study course credit certificates (anyone remember those?) would be done in private (if at all). His thinking was that the best advertisement for Masterlife was the evidence of changed lives in the participants caused by those particular disciplines. Sounded pretty good to me.
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Postby KeithE » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:26 am

Jonathan wrote:
That was another problem that a number of folks in my sister's church had. The Emmaus community within that church was very tightly nit and frequently schedule these reunions at times that conflicted with functions at their church. "Sorry, I can't come, I'm meeting with our Emmaus group" was an all too common refrain. Again, I'm of the mind that this is probably more condemning of these participants than of the program as a whole.

Glad you realise that the "program" shouldn't be condemned for monopolizing church member's time just those nasty church-breakers in your sister's church. But you still refer to it as a "problem" in your first sentence. Are you of a double mind?

I'll tell you straight, Emmaus diversion away from local churches is not much a problem at all. At the end of this Walk I just worked, the community lay director got up and clearly stated that Emmaus is for strengthening churches through envigorating clergy and laity spiritually and if an Emmaus activity interfers with an Emmaus activity, go to your church activity. (Now strictly speaking, one could not work a weekend Walk if taken as always a mandate; so she should have made that a caveat). Cluster meetings are usually on Thursday evenings (hardly a regular church night) and Reunion groups are usually early in the morning or at lunch time (again hardly regular church meeting times). The majority of Walkees do not even participate in these activities, just those that choose to get involved. But even those that haven't gotten involved (like Michael and Timothy) still are enthusaistic supporters.

Emmaus has certainly strengthened our church. I cannot think of anyone who has "abandoned" our church for being on a Walk-well maybe one has transferred membership but that was for another reason. One group in our local church (about 25-30 of them) has formed just to meet and sing Emmaus-like songs and fellowship together and most have not been on an Emmaus. About 40 from our church have gone and they are no more in a clique than anyone else. People just come off the mountain and usually are more focussed on ministry for their experience on the Walk.

Jonathan wrote: I want to suggest that these situations would not occur if local churches were doing their jobs properly....but that only lets the folks who are, in reality, abandoning their biblical community of faith (the local church) off the hook. This is the same argument that unfaithful spouses use to justify their infidelity. Of course, the experience with the other man/woman appears exciting and fulfilling...because the difficulties of day to day relationship are not involved (the struggle to avoid silly arguments, the mars/venus thing, the annoying habits, the bad breath, toilet seat left up, the thermostat is too high/low, etc...).


Comparing Emmaus attendence with being unfaithful is a real stretch.

Jonathan wrote: Please understand that I am not calling Emmaus folk (or folk who are enthusiastic about any other powerful para-church or non-church related experience) unfaithful, but I am suggesting that if you are seeking an experience within a community of faith and are seeking it away from the local church...just be careful.


And then immediately appear to retract that comparison (after no doubt seeing it's fallacy). That just shows how conflicted you are in coming to terms with the experiences of others that you haven't had.

I'll be careful, Jonathon, about abandoning my local church activities (SS teacher, Covenant group leader, deacon, committee chair, wed night class participant). Haven't so far.

Why not try it! Maybe one of your sister's friends could sponsor you.

You be careful about too much BLiting, OK. :P
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:18 am

KeithE wrote:
Jonathan wrote:
That was another problem that a number of folks in my sister's church had. The Emmaus community within that church was very tightly nit and frequently schedule these reunions at times that conflicted with functions at their church. "Sorry, I can't come, I'm meeting with our Emmaus group" was an all too common refrain. Again, I'm of the mind that this is probably more condemning of these participants than of the program as a whole.


KeithE wrote:Glad you realise that the "program" shouldn't be condemned for monopolizing church member's time just those nasty church-breakers in your sister's church. But you still refer to it as a "problem" in your first sentence. Are you of a double mind?


The problem was that folks where pulling away from the fellowship of their local church to do "Emmaus" stuff. This is not a condemnation of the program itself.

'nasty church-breakers?' Somebody needs a hug! ;)

KeithE wrote:I'll tell you straight, Emmaus diversion away from local churches is not much a problem at all. At the end of this Walk I just worked, the community lay director got up and clearly stated that Emmaus is for strengthening churches through envigorating clergy and laity spiritually and if an Emmaus activity interfers with an Emmaus activity, go to your church activity. (Now strictly speaking, one could not work a weekend Walk if taken as always a mandate; so she should have made that a caveat). Cluster meetings are usually on Thursday evenings (hardly a regular church night) and Reunion groups are usually early in the morning or at lunch time (again hardly regular church meeting times). The majority of Walkees do not even participate in these activities, just those that choose to get involved. But even those that haven't gotten involved (like Michael and Timothy) still are enthusaistic supporters.


So perhaps what happened in my sister's church was an isolated event? Certainly could be.

KeithE wrote:Emmaus has certainly strengthened our church. I cannot think of anyone who has "abandoned" our church for being on a Walk-well maybe one has transferred membership but that was for another reason. One group in our local church (about 25-30 of them) has formed just to meet and sing Emmaus-like songs and fellowship together and most have not been on an Emmaus. About 40 from our church have gone and they are no more in a clique than anyone else. People just come off the mountain and usually are more focussed on ministry for their experience on the Walk.


Jonathan wrote: I want to suggest that these situations would not occur if local churches were doing their jobs properly....but that only lets the folks who are, in reality, abandoning their biblical community of faith (the local church) off the hook. This is the same argument that unfaithful spouses use to justify their infidelity. Of course, the experience with the other man/woman appears exciting and fulfilling...because the difficulties of day to day relationship are not involved (the struggle to avoid silly arguments, the mars/venus thing, the annoying habits, the bad breath, toilet seat left up, the thermostat is too high/low, etc...).


KeithE wrote:Comparing Emmaus attendence with being unfaithful is a real stretch.


Jonathan wrote: Please understand that I am not calling Emmaus folk (or folk who are enthusiastic about any other powerful para-church or non-church related experience) unfaithful, but I am suggesting that if you are seeking an experience within a community of faith and are seeking it away from the local church...just be careful.


KeithE wrote:And then immediately appear to retract that comparison (after no doubt seeing it's fallacy). That just shows how conflicted you are in coming to terms with the experiences of others that you haven't had.


The comparison I made was to folks who abandon their local church for a parachurch group...and even then I made a caveat. The conflict on this point is not with me.

KeithE wrote:I'll be careful, Jonathon, about abandoning my local church activities (SS teacher, Covenant group leader, deacon, committee chair, wed night class participant). Haven't so far.


Good to see that you are able to use your experiences to strengthen your church.

KeithE wrote:Why not try it! Maybe one of your sister's friends could sponsor you.


I'll put it on my growing list of things of interest....and let you know when it comes up.

KeithE wrote:You be careful about too much BLiting, OK. :P


BLiting?
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Postby David Flick » Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:41 am

KeithE wrote:I'll tell you straight, Emmaus diversion away from local churches is not much a problem at all. At the end of this Walk I just worked, the community lay director got up and clearly stated that Emmaus is for strengthening churches through envigorating clergy and laity spiritually and if an Emmaus activity interfers with an Emmaus activity, go to your church activity. (Now strictly speaking, one could not work a weekend Walk if taken as always a mandate; so she should have made that a caveat). Cluster meetings are usually on Thursday evenings (hardly a regular church night) and Reunion groups are usually early in the morning or at lunch time (again hardly regular church meeting times). The majority of Walkees do not even participate in these activities, just those that choose to get involved. But even those that haven't gotten involved (like Michael and Timothy) still are enthusaistic supporters.

KeithE, I believe that the naysayers (critics) of the Emmaus Walk don't have enough knowledge about the movement to draw accurate conclusions. Most all criticisms evolve from isolated anecdotes, which don't generally reflect the truth about Emmaus. Jonathan cites his sister's church and problems. JerryL cites "prior (undescribed) experiences." Ed criticizes that EW is "Methodist warm over (adataption) of a Catholic program." :lol: Neither Ed, Jonathan, nor JerryL have a fair understanding of what reunion groups are. I'm sure there are situations where some Emmaus "walkees" do exhibit cliquishness, but I've never personally known anyone to do that. As your lay director challenged, Emmaus seeks to strengthen local churches.

Regarding Emmaus activities interfering with local church activities, I think that is also mostly anectotal and from non-Emmaus people. Most all reunion groups meet at times other than regular church activity times. My reunion group at Chickasha met on Tuesday mornings at 6:00am. My group was rather large, we had eight members and almost always six or more were present. Our community gatherings were always on Saturday nights. The community I belonged to (Great Plains Emmaus) was pretty large. We stretched from Chickasha to Marlow to Duncan to Lawton, (which covers about five counties). We sponsored four or five walks each year, depending on the number of people who signed up.
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Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:01 am

Ed: David Flick writes
Ed criticizes that EW is "Methodist warm over (adataption) of a Catholic program." Neither Ed, Jonathan, nor JerryL have a fair understanding of what reunion groups are.


Ed: David I prefer to see my comments on EW as a light critique, a personal observation, rather than as criticism. Come now you have seen me when I am being negatively critical does this compare? :wink:

And by the way I said nothing about the reunion groups. It seems however that Jonathans sister and Jerrel have a bad taste from their observation of folk who participate in such groups. Is that Jonathan's sister and Jerrels fault or the fault of those they have observed?
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