May 06, 2007

Gargoyles, Lava & New Wineskins

The conference "God: for people who hate church" kicked my butt, mentally, spiritually and even physically. Not that I was serving behind the scenes all that much (Credit and thanks go to all our friends from Streams Ministries, a HUGE support). During the duration of the conference my brain and spirit were being stretched in new ways. I would go to bed and I could not fall asleep because I needed to process my thoughts and emotions in a half-comotose prayer state.

The theme that stuck out the most for me was when the concept was brought up that all of humanity is longing to find something solid, something trustworthy. I find this is true but paradoxically can and cannot be found at the same time. Tony Jones said something like "once we find our "mission statement" we can look at it and realize it's not really the case. Some insights, visions and passions may still ring true but seasons pass and life can be very ambiguous at times." He compared the Gospel to lava. Lava is scary yet we are still attracted to it. It continually comes out of the earth in places and than dries to a crust. After the hardening, it then starts to come out elsewhere.

If this lava analogy describes a lot of what the emergent movement can be like I think the pentecostal analogy of new wineskins is very similar. This analogy uses wineskins which were in ancient times used to store wine. They would then be discarded as soon as the skin would harden & dry and a new one would take it's place in order to recieve new wine or in other words, a new movement of the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Phil asked Tony Jones during the Q & A time basically how could the emergent and pentecostal movements can come together and find common ground. This question resonates with my heart because I, (for whatever reason) am most attracted towards emergent and pentecostal expressions of faith. I find this ironic because my personality and temperment differs from those personalities usually associated with emergent and pentecostal. I can have a kind of scandinavian stoicism that contrasts with the boisterous pentecostal and I am pretty simple minded(in a good way) when it comes to intellectual stuff. I have no degree other than a high school diploma. Intellectualism seems to be one of the main characteristics of the emergent movement. Still, I would consider myself pentecostal/emergent, go figure.

I am a firm believer that God comes to us where we're at. It's what grace is all about. So naturally that would look different when we compare individuals, congregations, denominations, cultures etc.... Despite the differences the Gospel remains the same.

The conference was opened with Phil's gargoyle song "Cum tacent Clament". He used the gargoyle as a kind of mascot for the church (quite a controversial mascot huh?). He could explain the significance better than I. The funny experience(I like to find humor in life, I think God has a great sense of humor) that I wanted share was during the singing of the this song. Gargoyles have their name because of the french word used for spit which sounds like "gargle". Gargoyles were placed on cathedrals to tell a story but also as a gutter that drips water hence the name "Gargoyle". I (Carl) was joining Carlos in singing a vocal part while Carly was drawing a picture of a gargoyle. Both in practicing and performing this song I was spitting a lot accidently. I even spit on Carlos once. Woops!. Another funny thing that happened was Tony Jones mentioned the People get ready song in describing one of the points he wanted to give. He said that all of us probably heard the Rod Stewart version. Sure enough, when I came home and walked inside, my mother in-law was listening to Rod Stewart's version of People get ready.

I will stop my ramble... and have a full night sleep tonight.


Agent B said...

Thanks for stopping by and the encouraging words.

All the best to you and the Gathering gang...

John Smulo said...

It was great to meet you in person! Blessings.

RCM- Steve said...

Carl, thanks to you and your sweet wife for all the hospitality and kindness. You made this California guy feel quite welcomed and at home!

carl said...

John and Steve,

You guys rock. I enjoyed your company.

Agent B,

it was my loss to not of introduced myself to you, you seem like a very cool dude. perhaps another time, eh? (woah!, I just spoke canadien)