Shift April 11, 2008

Yesterday I was at Willow’s youth leadership conference called Shift. A full day but lots of fun. I’m not a youth minister, obviously — nor was I a very good one when I gave it a whirl, but if I were one today these kinds of conferences would be a highlight.
As always, conferences like this are an opportunity to meet new people as well as talk to Jesus Creeders face to face. Another highlight was having 4 of my students (Brittany and Nick, Andrea and Eric) from North Park attend my sessions.

We began with the 7:45am “Cup of Coffee” and the topic at our table was “Emerging church and questionable theology”. There were six or seven of us and we had a good chat about the problems of emerging and the importance of listening hard enough to know what “emerging” is all about. Those at the table with me were thoughtful and had insightful things to say.
Then at 9am I did a talk on teaching the Bible to the emerging (postmodern) generation. I focused on features of the postmodern reader, the development of ironic faith among emerging Christians (more on this later — I’ve got something in at Christianity Today and will wait for that before I say much here), and then I looked at learning to read the Bible as Story — shortcuts to reading the Bible as Story and the elements of the Bible’s Story.
After this (at 11am) I did another breakout on “Missional Jesus” and here I focused on the Lukan thread, asking the audience to think along with me as we envisioned how Mary, Zechariah, John Baptist, and Jesus understood “missional.”
Other than these sessions and the many good questions — both during the sessions and afterwards — a highlight of the day was lunch with Dan Kimball of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz. When a New Yorker came up to Dan to say hello, he mentioned he was from Brooklyn or the Bronx (the same still for me, sorry), and Danny said, “The Ramones are from there.” Vintage Dan.

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  • Dan

    It was actually Queens, NY that he was from and The Ramones…… It was great hanging out with you and the highlight of my day as well….. Yes, indeed.

  • RJS

    Ironic faith – hmmm. So how long will be the wait for this to come out?

  • Travis Greene

    Ironic faith…is this like, what, going to see Snakes on a Plane ironically? Watching The Price is Right ironically?

  • Could you please expand a bit more on what example if any were used for “questionable theology”

  • Taylor,
    That was the title of the session on the paper I saw when I got to the table.

  • Thanks for your message on Luke and mission. It was one of, if not the, highlights for me during Shift.

  • Thanks Jake.

  • Josh Koskinen

    I just wanted to say thanks for the coffee discussion and for the sessions. It is always great to hear your perspective on postmodernism and the missional lifestyle. Also, I picked up A Community Called Atonement and read the preface. I was excited to see the mention of Crossroads College! We would be honored to have you back in the future.
    After observing and being in conversation with youth and youth ministers, what do you see different in the shifting of how we should do youth ministry? Just curious. Have a good weekend!

  • Josh,
    Tough question for me to answer. I think there are some significant shifts going on, none of them as drastic as some suggest.
    I would focus on world religions and how we make ethical decisions — undergirded of course with a sound theology.

  • thanks for sharing at shift. i thoroughly enjoyed both your breakout sessions. shalom, -gavin

  • Thank you so much for spending time with us at Willow Creek. I found your breakout session on Missional Jesus thought-provoking and have spent time considering the way the gospel is proclaimed here.
    How would you summarize the gospel according to Paul’s understanding of it? It seems my heritage has almost exclusively focused on the gospel in terms of sin/forgiveness often citing many Pauline passages.

  • Chad,
    A summary of Paul’s gospel:
    God has fulfilled his plan for Israel in and through Jesus Christ and all those who, by faith, are “in” Christ — in his life, death, and resurrection — are forgiven, justified, reconciled, redeemed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live in the new community of Christ.