Sunday, January 6, 2013

Conversation w/ Dustin Re: Passion 2013

Dustin, I'm thankful for you as a friend and learning counter-part personage. I might not be able to do my prayers with a koine greek New Testament in the morning like you, but I think I've read at least as much Jeremy Begbie. Ahem....

Your comments on The Twelve guest blog are generous and thoughtful. If anything you demonstrate to those outside of the contemporary worship and evangelical circles that there are some inside who are self-critical and wrestling to get it right. I fear that most on the outside assume the contemporary evangelical scene is a loud, popular-culture-acquiescing monolith. You burst that bubble. I pray I do too.

And I hope that your candid reflections also demonstrate to some (perhaps the students I lead) that my initial reflections on Passion 2013 are not as heavy handed as they might seem. As I've said before to you, how can we love the church enough to critique it?

Thanks again for reading and sharing. Much love!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Thoughts on the Passion Conferences, An Addendum

In the 11th hour of Thursday night I was asked to guest blog for The Twelve, a blog associated with Perspectives, a Journal ofReformed Thought. In the wee hours I put down some thoughts about the Passionworship movement since I’d been thinking about their conference that day. I want to offer one more reflection on my friend Charlie Hall here that wouldn’t fit in the brief word length of the other piece.

On the last day of the Passion conference I attended in the late ‘90s, I walked down to the stage with the college students who were with me from the church where Charlie and I were leaders. After seeing his face and goatee so massively displayed on the enormous video screens above, it was a relief to watch him turn to us and retreat from the many other conference attendees/fans who were vying for his attention.

The stage was some five or six feet high. Charlie sat down on its edge with his legs crossed to say hello. I have never seen Charlie be anything on stage that he isn’t off stage. The same was true for that conference. Still, it was good to look my brother in the face and know him. The surreality of the stage and the enormity of the venue were finished like waking from a funky dream, and there he was again, a bona fide human being.

While I don’t keep up with him much anymore, all that I know and continue to witness of Charlie’s ministry continues to inspire. He is an honest relief. While my Reformed and Charismatic selves are conflicted, Charlie has pressed on for a couple decades with a simplicity and purity and a thoughtfulness that lends gravity and trustworthiness to Passion. I get overwhelmed with all that can come off as sensational, emotional and sentimental in contemporary worship circles, and then there’s Charlie and Dustin and Quint, still doing their thing.