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.