Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Looking Back: June 06

I blogged my way to health through another medium for a few years. My current blog - this one - is reflective of my current state (of mind and being). The first blog was full of a lot of painful processing. I "met" some amazing people through that work, and many have remained friends - some I have even met personally.

Recently, I thought it would be helpful and informative to remind myself of where I've been.

And I thought maybe, occasionally, I'd offer a look back via this blog.

So here's a clip from June, 2006; I was alone at the Willow Creek Arts Conference in Chicago. It was a powerful but challenging experience. I wrote, a lot.

In re-posting here, I've highlighted a few things that occur to me to be pertinent, in retrospect.

June 2006: To Bring Your Best, You Must Bring Your Worst

...Two very interesting speakers took the stage today: Dan Allender, who started his time with a bang when he declared a lack of confidence by our culture in today's "truth spinners" (pastors). He stated that, for the 21st century, the core isse will be BEAUTY, and that artists are now the evangelists of the next century. "The sermon is now an adjunct." I found that a rather bold statement, one that was no doubt disturbing to several of the pastors in attendance - especially those not from Seattle or San Francisco or Chicago...life in the heartland and the south doesn't necessarily reflect those same cultural shifts, I think.

Allender stated, "To bring your best, you must bring your worst." He encouraged us all to be willing to be honest about your mental and spiritual state, your exhaustion and your brokenness.
"God intends - through the creation of art - to expose. When artists create, we are stripping before God. He will wrestle with us (as He did Jacob) and expose us. God will always take you to a draw - no winning, no losing, just brokenness and then a touch to the hip."

It was a fascinating perspective, peppered with much encouragement to accept - even trumpet - inadequacies and shy away from striving for perfection.

This is all so drastically different from the culture even 10 years ago that I'm not too sure the pendulum hasn't swung to the extreme. I appreciated and agreed with much of what Allender said on a personal basis; but it does seem a bit touchy-feely.

It's amazing to me - in hindsight - how this set the tone for the environment in which I am presently working. The level of authenticity that was impressed upon me has carried through into the culture of PCC.

4 comments:

Kevin Salyer said...

"Artists are now the evangelists."

This simple language has, in a flash almost like a lightning-bold, given me the shocking, crystal-clear clarity of what *IS* my new role.

I'm an artist. The beauty of creation and creativity is what I have to offer. "The sermon is adjunct."

Thanks for the memories.

Angie said...

Technology has created a sort of ADD in everyone. There is so much input going on at once. I think we need to have this multi-sensory experience in order to hold peoples attention. Also, I think the arts bring a realness to worship. Whether it's through music, word, or visuals, it exposes a raw and vulnerable part of the person sharing it. That creates connection, people can relate.... and that's not something you find in "church". And it's living out God's purpose, using our gifts to further His kingdom.

annie said...

Beth, I always enjoy your posts about creativity and art. Thanks.

Dean Lusk said...

"To bring your best, you must bring your worst." Great quote!

Sometimes it's kind of scary to think how much artists mold society and the culture from which they come. Ravi Zacharias often points this out. He quotes Andrew Fletcher: "Let me write the songs of a nation – I don't care who writes its laws."

This is remarkably accurate (for better or worse). And it makes brokenness before God all the more important for us!