On Tuesday we gathered for worship in the morning. Crispin Schroeder & David Linhart led us in worship. Crispin’s passion came through with every note played from his piano, and growl of his lyrics. David took us through some Jack Johnson laid-back praise (being a surfer, I appreciated it!), and we progressed on into the morning’s speaker.
Ken Wilson, who was introduced as an Obama voter by Bert, took the somewhat awkward introduction in stride and with a smile reminiscent of Adam Clayton of U2 launched into his sermon. Ken brought a compelling argument to the stage…the American religious landscape has been affected by a shock followed by two after-shocks. His use of the term Culture & Cognitive Dissonance (CCD) became a somewhat familiar phrase among many of us for the remainder of the conference. That is the anxiety we feel when having to rub shoulders with those of different theological, or even religious persuasions (my understanding of the phrase). Ken said the Vineyard was made for this kind of environment. He also mentioned an interesting statistic-in the 90’s the Vineyard was 30% Catholic (or former RC). This new world we find ourselves in isn’t for those with a neat & tidy religion. There is just too much dissonance.
I enjoyed Ken’s talk, and was greatly encouraged for us as a Movement. It seems that we have learned the fine art of dissonance in the Vineyard, so what’s a little more? In all honesty, his was an informing and helpful talk on our place in the new world.
Now I guess it’s confession time for me, and the group I hang with at these “family reunions.” Like I said, many times I am more refreshed by the fellowship, laughter, and sharing that goes on in the lobby, at lunch and dinner with friends than I am the formal sessions. After Ken’s talk a few of us gathered in the lobby and started talking, sharing, joking, laughing, and being creatively comical.
A very “Ugly” pastor, complained that the newly formed Society of Vineyard Scholars was a bit too high-minded and exclusionary for those of us with limited capacities to, well…think. As the conversation began to gain speed, with the immense creativity that only a 5-year old could possibly have, this group of experienced and seasoned pastors birthed the antithesis of the Scholars group. Playing off of the term, “the village idiot,” the Society of Vineyard Idiots was born. In the Vineyard there is a place for everyone…yes, even morons. It’s hard to believe now, but we stood there laughing for almost an hour and a half, right on through the workshop times. The creative conversation was carried right on into lunch, and dinner. The symbol of our newly formed Society (and I use that term extremely loosely), was Forest Gump, in a tie, holding his brief case, ready to hold court in the recently birthed SoVI! Our clarion call was that someone had to be the “not yet” in our movement, why not us? Also, as our leader so aptly said, we may not know much, but we know what love is. We had some initiates that were dubious in qualifications, but when we saw what they were wearing (strange, green, plaid-type, nerdy shorts), we made an exception for the higher IQ.
A newby, somewhat young pastor wanted in, but he quoted N.T. Wright and we had to put him on probation until such time as we see that it was only a misfiring of the synapses and not habitual. Before the end of the day, we even had a couple of board member’s wives asking to join (was it an infiltration ploy?). By the next morning, we had our own Facebook page! We were official!
To be honest with you, I laughed so much I was worn out. I can’t report on the evenings speaker, Homero Garcia, because we stayed too long at dinner continuing the development of our new society. I’m sure it was inspirational, and good…but the laughter and fellowship I experienced with my fellow SoVI-ites would be worth a rebuke from the powers that be.
Stay tuned for day three!