Friday, January 30, 2009

The problem of too much

The trouble with attending these kinds of conferences (see previous post) and trying to blog about them is that there is just so much to do that it fills all my time and I hardly have the time to do any of the processing I intend to! I can't post very well throughout the day because there's not enough time between things (unless I decide to be entirely anti-social... which is tough when there are friends to see!). And I can't really process it all at once at the end of the day because there's been so much I can't keep it straight, or you'll end up reading the epic longest (and boring-est... let's pretend that's a word) posts ever.


When I get the chance, I've decided I'll post "nuggets" or certain, brief epiphanies I have had throughout the conference and leave it at that. You won't have to read more than a few lines, and if more dialogue is needed it can happen in comments or in... imagine this... actual interaction! :)

That reminds of of something I just heard Marva Dawn say regarding technology as a "principality & power"... because certain technologies become idols for some of us, many of us have lost the abilities that help to create and build community... not a new idea, but a timely one.

One additional "nugget" for now... Jamie (James K. A.) Smith had a session about "Postmodernism, Worship & Evangelism" where at one point the concept of worship as evangelism (one also espoused by favorite worship writers of mine, like Marva Dawn and Harold Best) was discussed. The idea was raised in the same way I've heard it talked about before with regard to the Emerging Church and the way that conversation challenges the church be hospitable to the seeker and the stranger, but by welcoming them into the liturgical practices of the community, strange as they may be, and that way they are drawn into an authentic faith as lived by that community (as opposed to a watered-down version that is "seeker-sensitive").

I understand how that can function as evangelism very effectively in this culture... but I challenged the idea somewhat because it still only reaches the folks who actually choose to walk into our building at some point. My question was how does this paradigm of "worship as evangelism" permeate life outside of the walls of our churches and have a life where the rubber meets the road for outreach to those who would otherwise not step foot into the church.

As soon as I asked the question, I had already answered it... as it had been answered by Harold Best and others who talk about the continuous life of God-ward worship the Christian is called to live. Our worship--in how our lives glorify God in our daily routines, activities, choices and interactions--truly is our most effective evangelism. As we let people glimpse the new way of life Christ has called us too, we can then invite them to join us in that life... and more importantly invite them to the One who pours out on us the grace to which that life is a grateful response, and the Spirit that makes that life possible.

Grace to you!
luke <><

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Symposium 2009 - day one, Thursday

It's probably a factor of the very little sleep I was going on today, but this first day of the Calvin Symposium on Worship 2009 felt even longer than usual. But GOOD long! It was a very full day of seminars and worship services, plenary and breakout sessions, conversations and reconnections.

It started off with quite a bang. The Opening Worship service was wonderful as always, with some terrific worship leadership from a couple (literally) of dear friends - Ron and Debra Rienstra. Their new book Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry (Baker Academic, 2008) was one of the free featured books! I pretended I was getting it for free because Marla and I are mentioned in the acknowledgements. :) They put their hard work to action, crafting and using some rich, creative, thought-provoking words to guide us through several portions of the worship service.

It's a really fantastic resource, and I highly reccommend it!

The Rev. Dr. M Craig Barnes was our preacher for that service this morning, kicking off a three days of worship services each centered on a different parable of Jesus'. Craig's parable was the Parable of the Sower (or Soils or Seeds, depending on what your Sunday School teacher put on your flannelgraph). But what I really enjoyed was how he set-up the whole weekend of parables by describing parables as old family stories that get told again and again. Jesus' parables are the family stories of the Family of God. "They tell us who we are," he said. And each time you hear it you get something else out of it.

One of the facets Dr. Barnes highlighted for us this time around with this particular, familiar "family story" was the seemingly indescriminate sowing of the Sower, and the way in which that piece of the story reminds us of our one true hope : "this Savior who flings this grace so extravagantly."

This was one very full day of constant reminders of God's extravagant grace. I obviously have so much more to say about this day... wonderful encouragement and advice for song-writers from Greg Scheer, Rae Whitney and others; sharing and getting feedback on one of my own songs with the passionately Christ-centered Mark Altrogge; Keith Petersen's mohawk; new friends made and old friends embraced... but I'll have to save more thorough thoughts about these things for a later and less sleep-deprived date... er... state.

Tomorrow, Marva Dawn! :)

God's extravant grace and peace to you all!
luke <><

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

new life (for now)

So it's only been since November that I last posted... that's staying on top of things.

The weather is a bit colder, the economy is even crummier, and the guy more of us voted for than the other guy is now President. I will relinquish the right to reflect about that momentous occasion to those who were up to date enough to blog about it when it actually happened.

Instead, I merely wish to alert you all to the fact that we've finally come back around to the original reason I began updating this blog a year ago... the Calvin Symposium on Worship is here again!

So, like last year (only probably even less diligently... if that's possible) I will be processing my experiences throughout the weekend right here on this little leased-from-Google corner of cyberspace. Hope to see you there (or here)!

luke <><