Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Reflections: Bishop's Convocation - Part II

Okay, here’s the second part of my reflections on the Bishop’s Convocation. Our second keynote was Leonard Sweet. Sweet is a professor of Evangelism at Drew (among, of course, other things), and so I had him for class in seminary, and had his books as part of my coursework in various other classes at Drew, and, and… I say this to be up front and say I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this session because I felt that I’d already heard what he had to say. I certainly think he has some good ideas, creative ideas, and he has a way of presenting his ideas that is unique, but beyond that, I wasn’t always sure in my classroom experience that we were coming from the same place. I guess that’s ok too. Anyway, here are some of my notes, with highlights of ideas that I found more compelling.

EPIC – this is a concept Sweet’s been talking about for a long time. Worship, church life that is Experiential, Participatory, Image Rich, Connective.

We’re trained: Rational, Logical/Linear, Representational, Currency of Words instead of image. What’s your image statement? All about the individual. This culture: more hunger for facebook equals more hunger for face to face and in your face. Relationship. We have the right word: Connectional. But we connect to structure not to people.

Karaoke Culture – Performance based.

Now everybody wants to participate.

EPIC is itself value-neutral. IE, people can use EPIC for bad things.

Power-point is a Gutenberg use of image, etc.

Creator creates so the most creative place in the world should be the church.

Made less in God’s image than in God’s imagination.

Crisis of imagination.

Imagination of more as better or more as different. Better, or different?

Bigger/More as better: Spiritual gifts inventories. More as better can be good, but…

More as different. Spiritual weakness inventories. Google. Apple.

McKibbon – book, No More More, Deep Economy. More and better roosted on the same branch, you can throw one stone and hit both. Now, they are farther apart. You have to choose one – more or better.

Sweet – We should keep more, but start using the imagination of different.

IE: wii (more is different) vs. xbox (more is better)

Climbing the ladder – worst image of success invented. Climb ladder to what? Leap into unknown. Don’t climb the ladder. Just start at the top and risk from very beginning.

“Anglicans are Pentecostals in drag.” (figure that one out!)

Don’t do anything half-way.

Work is a result from being expelled from the garden. Tend – Conserve. We’re created to be gardeners. Not preserve, but continue creativity. Conceive.

“You treasure what you measure.”

Inability to confront a consumer model with a biblical model of success that’s alternative. “I consume therefore I am.” “You conceive.” Conservation is conservative and conception is liberal.

Attendance Buildings and Cash. ABCs churches are built on.

The language of the new priesthood: Everyone wants to learn doctor-language. MRI.

MRI: Missional, Relational, Incarnational

We are mostly APC: (All-Purpose-Cure for Aches-Pains-Complaints, Aspiring, Phenacitin(?), Caffeine) Attractional, Propositional, Colonial, Attendance, Physical Plant, Cash. May work short term, but it will kill you.

When missional and relational come together, incarnational is formed.

JW accused of being an enthusiast. When is the last time you were so accused?

“Every age is equidistant from eternity”

The problem is not that we don’t have the freedom to do it, the problem is that we aren’t taking it, taking risks. Sacrament of failure: “shake the dust of your feet.”

Sweet talked about not attacking the dreams of rich because doing so is attacking dreams of the poor. I know where he was going with this, but I wonder if we aren’t instead called to shape the dreams people have in a different way?

I found this particularly interesting: 75% of churches are dying or declining. 25% are growing – but 24% are growing from the alumni association of the 75%! Walmartization of American Christianity. 1% of churches, 3,300, maybe less than 2,000 even that are really growing. The 1% church. Are you reaching or recycling?

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