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.