Homeschooling, home church, and the internet.

I learned a lot about New Monasticism this week, though as is often the case with discussions regarding theology and ecclesiology, I’m left with even more questions than answers. It was good to sit and eat with Jon and Sparky and talk about NCAA basketball, long drives and what it means to be church.

The coffeehouse theology group that meets once a month also discussed this topic, and we had originally hoped to sit with Jon together, but schedules just didn’t work out. The coffeehouse group helps to sustain and enrich me because the people who gather there are all committed to Christ and to truly working for the body. I hope it enriches the others as well.

In discussing New Monasticism, our discussion also involved home churches. We also touched on the topic of homeschooling, which shares some things in common with home church. One of the things that we can all acknowledge is that the internet has played a large role in growing these movements.

People who had so often felt alone, whether in removing their kids from public and private schools, or in preferring to worship in small group settings, are now able to talk about this with people in other towns, states and countries.

Certainly, the groups existed before the internet was such a cultural force in the world, but they were restricted by the costs of publishing and travel as well as the difficulty of even finding others who were thinking in similar ways.

Now, regardless of your particular interest, you can just google it. You may have to go to the second or even third page, but you will find others with similar interests. This is both blessing and curse, of course, but it’s certainly a phenomenon that we didn’t have 25 years ago.

We have used a very new technology to fortify ideas that are very old. New Monasticism leans heavily on the monastic orders that have been with us for ages. Public schools have only been around for minutes in the days of history. It will be interesting to see the directions that these movements take as they continue to build on the resources the internet provides.


I’m excited. After starting the Theologeeks forum last week, I now have 2 new posting members. I know, that sounds a little pathetic in the internet world, but it’s good news to me. I also have 2 other members who haven’t yet posted.

I teach an adult Sunday school class that averages about 12 people each Sunday. At the UMC church I’m part of, that’s a big class. And some days, we have almost 20 people, and then we’re the largest. If you figure in the number of children we bring when we’re present, we’re about 1/3 of the Sunday school attendance.

But this class took a LONG time to form. I’ve been back at this church for about 10 years. I would say the first three years were formative in terms of the class. I was not teaching right away, merely attending a class that would sometimes consist of me and the teacher. I consented to sharing teaching duties and after time, took over sole responsibility.

I have had Sundays during which I am the only person there. I would prepare a lesson, imagine questions that might arise, and find that I had an extra week to prepare some more.

But people came, people welcomed one another, and people worked together. This is the class that I came to with information about a food program. Not enough information, but enough that they said “Sure, let’s try it.” Now we serve over 50 people a month.

I don’t know what God’s time looks like, with the whole “a thousand years are like a day” but I know that we are impatient. I know that if all it takes is 40 days to make a purpose driven life, then that purpose may not be all that great. We are slow forming things, and it takes time and God’s patience to shape us.

So I’m encouraged by the Theologeeks forum. It got a mention at the Methoblog which resulted in Theologeeks finally being Googleable. The only previous result was a dead page, but now all other results eventually lead to the forums.

I hope other bloggers and internet readers will come and discuss things, and if they don’t come to Theologeeks, I hope they tell me where they are discussing these things. The blog world seems to often be about lots of people talking to one another, with very little potential for dialog. I’d like more opportunities for us to share with each other.


I’m not sure whether I came up with the term theologeeks, or my wife called me one first, but we’re not the only ones to use the phrase, as I found out when I tried to register the domain

I’m using it for a group of people who will be meeting (at least) once a month to discuss the church and the Triune God. I did find that it shows up in only one place on Google, and that’s at the dead site mentioned above. I wonder if they’d sell it?

There are actually lots of theologeeks out there, people who can’t wait for the newest N.T. Wright book, or have a signed copy of Hauerwas and Willimon’s Resident Aliens sitting prominently on their bookshelf.

The Ekklesia Project that I’m part of is full of theologeeks. Every year at the gathering, there are tables full of books from several publishers. I’d say it’s one of everyone’s top ten favorite things about the gathering.

The favorite thing, hands down, is conversation. Just sitting around between sessions, after worship, in the halls, in the dorms, on the way to the grocery store and talking about what we do at our churches, signs of the Kingdom, signs of the spirit is really why most of us come back each year; to see old friends and to make new ones.

So, the Jackson Theologeeks group is to build on that; to give those of us who spend a lot of time thinking about church more time to talk to one another. It’s good church work. We shouldn’t be left alone to our thoughts all the time, and most of us don’t have anyone in our local congregation with whom we can discuss such things. We read and post things on the internet, but human contact is much more important. Let’s try it and see.