it's saturday afternoon and i had hoped to make it into the workshop about "new generation church" (facilitated by Shane Claiborne and Tom and Christine Sine)...but after a good journey on Atlanta's public transport (bus/train/my feet) i arrived a few minutes late to find people spilling out of the overstuffed room.
so i came up to the conference "cyber-cafe" (cyber: yes. cafe: no....not a dark warm beverage in sight). (There's More)
it has been a brilliant time of connecting with (old and new) friends, encountering the diversity of God's people, and being stirred by new ideas and perspectives.
more to share in the coming week but for now, here's a reflection from the first plenary session....many of the moments from that first gathering became themes for our time here.
....in the cavernous ballroom of the Hyatt-Regency we gather for the first plenary session. this echoing vault gives up it's hollow sterility to the voices of the "rainbow people of God." It is an unusual privilege to see such a diverse gathering of people - and the diversity is even diverse! Ethnicity, ideology, politics, theology, and a fantastic range in age-groups. Suits and dreads, bared feet and business shoes, stained shirts and tattoos, piercings and carefully quaffed hair.
It’s difficult to describe the meeting without appearing critical (perhaps this is a sign that even our language has been co-opted by the mythos of excellence). It was refreshingly irregular. Like a tomato from the farmers market - glorious and divine because it isn’t perfectly round, red, polished. I shed salty tears several times, moved by the raw and real people who sang/spoke. The meeting was marked with the messiness of the neighborhoods in which many of these people have chosen to live.
As Sherry and I talked about the evening we both felt inspired by all these wonderful servants and encouraged to be reminded about the breadth of God’s redemptive work in the cities of this land. it is a joy to be here and we are ready to learn.