Well, emergent 04 is over and most of the crowd seems to have left. Unfortunately Steve and I are both flying out tomorrow, so we have some time to kill. The sacrifices you make when the flights are free... My flight leaves San Diego at 5:18 pm, then it's through LA to arrive home in Vancouver at a little past 10:30. Steve takes off at 6 pm, but he has a longer flight and a 3 hour time change to deal with. He goes through San Francisco to land back in Toronto at 6 am!
It's been good to spend time together this week. We did the same last year, but then we were both flying home to Toronto. This week is actually a significant milestone because after emergent 03 I had about 1 more week in Toronto to pack up, and then Sue and I headed to Vancouver on March 12. One year ago yesterday... I'll spare us both the "year in review" - that thinking is much to "linear" for me now anyway. A year ago it would have been the natural thing to do, but not anymore. Suffice to say it's been an incredible year, God is good, and we will never be the same.
The highlight of the day today was finally meeting Iphy at the general session! Her writing is so honest and raw - it almost seems wrong to express it that way, to try and label what she shares. Regardless, it was a privilege to chat for a couple of minutes. Iphy to me embodies authenticity and transparency; characteristics which are in short supply these days, and yet are absolute requirements if we are to travel together on this road to and through the Kingdom. I see from TammyJo's blog (I'm sorry didn't meet you, TammyJo) that Iphy was at the Women's Initiative breakfast too, but I didn't clue into that.
At that general session Charlie Peacock talked to us about being a different kind of human. Unintentionally, I believe, this has been the theme of the week... at least through my lenses. Dallas Willard started it all off talking about the fact that we need to get back to actually doing what Jesus told us to do. Church may teach us a lot of things, but it's not teaching us that. To be a disciple, or apprentice of Jesus Christ! We've lost sight of that, and all that it entails. This morning Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones shared with us A New Theology for a New World. They articulated very clearly something that has been nagging at me all week. This new thing, this emerging church, post modern turn, whatever you want to call it, is not about a new methodology. It is nothing less that rethinking our theology, our view of the gospel, the nature of God and how we relate to Him. Or Her. Whatever.
That's what I find so liberating. I think some others found it a little frightening, but that's OK. I got the sense that there were more "observers" her this year than last. Maybe it has something to do with the lower number this year. I think there were about 800 at emergent compared to 1100 last year. No doubt holding two of them has had an impact, although I'll bet the total will be much higher than 1100. About half of the people at most of the seminars I attended were from the National Pastors Conference "side". Many of the questions asked belied the preconceived notion that we were simply talking about a different way to do church, as opposed to rethinking church completely.
We are living in interesting times...
PS. We can pass along our "alumni" rate to anyone heading to Nashville in May. So if you're planning on going and want to save $50, leave a comment and it's yours. First come, first served.
PPS. That's me blogging away to the strains of my new Something Like Silas CD. They were fantastic.