It’s a good thing that Soularize, the missional ministry gathering going on this week in San Diego, is only three days long. I don’t think I could handle more than that. And I mean that in a good way.
More important than any of the talks, workshops and the like has been the opportunity to meet face to face with people equally passionate about active, relevant ministry in the context of our communities. I will go back home with a wealth of new ideas and resources, but beyond this, I’ll go back with new friendships that hopefully will last the rest of my life.
On to the meat of the event:
Rita Nakashima Brock explored the beauty of God in art. Rita brings a rich combination of theological and art history understanding that helps add dimensionality to a God often relegated only to the spoken and written word. Her most important point for me was the reminder that, for centuries, people had no Bibles. Although we seek the Divine in scripture today more often than not, most Christians throughout history have depended on art and music to reveal God to them. A worthwhile reminder.
Pete Rollins expanded on his notion of how we try to use God to fill what he calls “The Gap,” which stems from our awareness that we are distinct and somehow separate from the rest of the world. In the spirit of religious capitalism, Rollins says that we turn God into the latest thing to consume that will make us happy. His point (in true Irish fashion) is that there is nothing we can consume or cling to that will make us happy. Instead, letting go of the cultural myth that we have the right to happiness is, ultimately the only way to actually find peace or some sense of contentment.
Finally, we got the chance to watch a rough cut of the movie interpretation of Donald Miller’s bestselling book, “Blue Like Jazz.” Director and Executive Producer Steve Taylor was there, and after the screening a few of us got to chat with him on the Homebrewed Christianity podcast. I won’t give too much away, but there are new characters not found in the book, and the storyline doesn’t adhere entirely to Miller’s telling. So if you’re one of those who gets pissed off if a movie doesn’t basically retell the book on the screen, be prepared to be upset. But if you are open to experiencing another interpretation of an important story in emerging Christianity, there’s a lot to enjoy in the film.
Special thanks to Steve Taylor for taking part in Soularize, and for enduring our questions until nearly midnight on the podcast. To check out the recording of the talk, look for it on www.homebrewedchristianity.com.