.:making sense of what i got:.

Location: Tallahassee - Miami, Florida, United States

Just a guy who loves coffee and shares coffee.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Worship, Arts, Liturgy, and Preaching

Day 1 and 2 at the WALP Convention.

As we arrived yesterday in Wilmore, Kentucky, Asbury Theological Seminary, I had no idea what to expect. In all honesty I still don't know. But shyness has been waning and "joining in the conversation" has been getting easier.

I walked into the gymasium yesterday to hear about including movies and film as aspects of worship. The plenary was taught by a nun, Sister Rose Pacatte. As I walked in, however, I saw Brain D McLaren and I almost shat myself. Why? I don't know. I've thought of him as an arrogant troublemaker with some cool things to say, but none the less, there I was, nervous.

Around the gym were paintings of the Stations of the Cross - phenomenal paintings by a guy named Kevin who I stayed up till 2 am talking to. He is part of a community near LA called Tribe. The pastor is a sweet lady with a soft voice and a hypnotizing beauty. I also stayed up talking to her. She was in charge of this whole event. She has an incredible story of God's leading her to LA, starting Tribe, becoming the director of a film school in LA..and the list goes on! Staying up and talking with them gave me a sense of belonging and when I woke up this morning, I was here to participate!

Tribe led us in worship...a drum circle is their worship, and not just heer, but back in LA also...every member of the community grabs or brings some percussion and they praise God. Brian spoke after Tribe and I wa sblown away by his SOFTNESS! Brian D McLaren is not the hard ass he plays in his books. As he and I talked later in the evning we joked about literature and being an English major, which he is too, and he asked me about ::Watermark, and seemed interested in what we were doing. He smiled. Doug Pagitt on the other hand is a loud mouthed, hysterical, in your face kind of a guy, who I will go to Hooters with by weeks end! He walked by while I was talking to Brian and punched me.

In Doug's session earlier in the day he talked about "preaching without speaching". Getting away from the attitude that the pastor has ultimate power and allowing the congregation to teach him as much as they can learn from him. It was hard to get a room full of different aged people to go along with this, and its even more hard to model a "session" if thats what youre trying to teach. Needless to say, he didn't talk at us the whole time, but he smiled and got excited when we contradicted him.

I lead a group in discussion on a similar topic in another session on preaching. As the day went on, stopping and talking to people has been becoming more and more easy. Faces are recognizable, and not just to me, but my face to others as well. I have a presence here. What I bring to the discussion isnt swept away by people who think Im too young. Suddenly, we are all trying to figure out how to worship God together. Catholics, Methodists, even Baptists! Were all here and were all respecting each other!

At dinner, I sat next to Doug and another lady, Kelly, who has also been a very exciting person to get to know. After exchanging a few quick remarks back and forth to each other, and joking about who would take the check, we left the restaurant and returned to the conference.

There is so much that is happening here. Some very real concerns about how can Catholics and Protestants worship together when they cannot share in the most holy sacrament together? Its an encouraging conversation to have. Between sessions, clusters of people clutter up stair wells talking about cell regeneration and what that means about Jesus. It is an eerie feeling, because I am walking around in a place where people want to know more about Jesus, and Jesus is exciting here.

The best part? The sound system sucks. The graphics are grainy. The fonts are cheesy. and what is important to most of these people is Jesus and how each of our liturgies worship Jesus...maybe we can learn from each others liturgies . ? .