Cornerstone Day Two

All I had today at Cstone was the second of a three-part series with Phyllis Tickle.  We had a great and engaged crowd, and it seems that people are intrigued by the emergence of Christianity. For those of you who are Facebook friendly, Billy Reeder has put up a picture of our session yesterday.

Yesterday, I used the story of the man who proclaims to Jesus, “I believe! Help me overcome my unbelief,” as the entree into a conversation about the practices and rhythms of emerging churches being in sync with those of us who are a mix between faithfulness and agnosticism.  Today, I read Mark’s account of the Transfiguration to point out the human tendency, embodied in Peter, to want to hang on to that transcendent moment by erecting three shelters.

Phyllis has talked about global emergence, technological emergence, and about the voice of God’s Wisdom as the speaker in various biblical narratives — that provided a nice conversation about the emergence of Pentecostalism in the 20th century and its resonance with emergent Christianity.

I really didn’t know what to expect at Cornerstone. I’ve heard about it for years, and of course associate it with the Jesus People Church — which I knew from younger years at the Orpheum Theater downtown when Block E in Minneapolis was basically a skid row.  Indeed, the festival does have the hard edge of the Jesus Movement, but, as you might guess, it’s also softened over the years.

Where Phyllis and I speak is pretty far removed from the music scene, and tends to be populated with the older people at the festival.  And those who coordinate the speakers have moved away from the old-line evangelical apologetics and pro-life strategy sessions that used to be their bread-and-butter. Recent years have seen Brian McLaren, Anthony Smith, Shane Claiborne, and Miroslav Volf, among others.

One odd mix is that there are two staffers from Exodus International, a “ministry” that tries to cure people of homosexuality.  Meanwhile, Andrew Marin and I are here, on the other side of the coin. Tomorrow, we’ll all be on a panel together, emceed by the “Internet Monk,” Michael Spencer.  Yes, I’ll blog about that on Saturday morning.

The music, they tell me, goes through phases at Cstone. Currently, the phase seems to be Christian thrash metal.  Of course, there’s variety, but that’s the critical mass.  Tomorrow night is the one night I’ll stay for music so that I can hear Anberlin and mewithoutyou.

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  • john davies

    the very existence of a panel on the correct Christian response to the homosexual person, with voices from varying sides of the issue … is pretty exciting. the evangelical case against sacramental equality for homosexuals is just getting weaker and weaker. an article in christianity today in 2007 or so looked at groups like exodus and their changing strategies, particularly in how they report, or define, “success.” christianity today praised their efforts of course, but the cracks are showing. go in there with jesus’ love, and just share the truth. i get a lot out of your blogs on beliefnet and, when i get a break from my MA work in literature, your books are very high on my “to read” list. God Bless.

  • If you get a chance, I suggest you try and converse with the lead singer of mewithoutyou. He is a very wise and brilliant soul.

  • tory

    I just happened to stumble across this blog post, as I am one that is very interested in church practices. I was on vacation and just finished Marin’s Love is An Orientation and was very deeply touched, posted it on my facebook and now quite a few friends (christian friends) want to read it as well, plus it opened up a very interesting and insightful discussion that would not have occurred had I not twittered that I finished this book.
    I think there are lots of people like me that grew up in “traditional” church that want more and find it lacking. I grew up in a church, never asking questions and now I’m re-evaluating everything and reading every book I can get my hands on. It’s so easy to feel one is doing the “right” thing by being tolerant, at least I’m not bashing others, but I feel the GLBT community deserve more than mere tolerance and I enjoyed Andrew Marin’s book and deeply respect what he’s done and is doing.
    Looking forward to more of your Cornerstone posts. Thanks.

  • mike

    I was their at cornerstone helping a friend sell merchandise
    and decided to catch a few discussions that I thought would be simply Christians rehashing and legitimizing their same stagnant views.I was gladly surprised when a heard Daniel Harrell talk and even more when I attended the panel on gay issues facing the church. I know you guys were recorded and supposed to be put online, just wondering if you know where i could find that? Being an ex-christian gay I always like to keep my eye on the church and its shenanigans, this time i was gladly pleased to find some voices of reason in the mix. I would consider being part of an organization or “church” that is actually making the world a better place, not just THEIR place.

  • marek

    Mike, I’m editing the seminars as we speak and will start posting them online in about a week. I spent the whole day today discussing Tony’s seminars with friends and my head is still spinning. Check the fest website for more info.