we had a fantastic weekend with john bell. about 200 people attended over the weekend. he began on friday night with a "things they never told me about jesus" session, which touched on jesus' sexuality, his love of meals and company, his friendship with women, and more. while some people had perhaps explored these issues before, part of john's invitation was for the whole church to be more honest and open about what is and isn't in the scriptures. one interesting insight - apart from Jesus, who gets more chapter and verse time than anyone else in the gospels? look at john 4.
and above all, I have to say that john exemplifies a teacher who takes people on a journey that is enlightening and enjoyable, provocative without necessarily being divisive. he talks about the big issues with insight in a way that draws people together.
the rest of the weekend focused on worship in terms of community, space, music and seasons. john was in fine form and full of wonderful stories and insights. his low-tech style (and message) was a healthy reminder that community is fundamentally about people, and that perhaps what we lack most is genuine, face-to-face, sustained community. of course there were many songs from around the globe as well, refreshing in their substance.
of course, john is in many ways a reactionary when it comes to contemporary culture, but that is fine. he not only brings, but also lives, a healthy alternative to the developments of the last few decades. I'm all for reminders of how ancient Christians lived. we still don't know where technology is taking us, and often seem to move past the initial fuss to a "less is more" approach.
[the mission resourcing network who co-hosted the event did most of the work. i got to be dogsbody for the weekend which was actually nice...]
that was last weekend, and since then I've been running a 5 day, live-in leadership event for 17 ministers and ministry students. a week that was full of insight, community, learning, food, etc etc. realy great in so many ways. I'll blog about it next.
now trying to recover and prepare for 3 days of professional development for staff at Cornerstone College... (local and lutheran...) a bit overworked and tired at present
but right now I'm putting the pizza in the oven and then we're watching Dr. Who!
[john bell photo by ernest sorensen]