John Burke, of No Perfect People Allowed, made the first presentation today and dealt with two issues facing postmodernists today: struggle with trust and a struggle with truth. He believes the way to deal with trust is to construct a culture of authenticity, and John is the best around on this. Then he dealt with the struggle for truth by suggesting an incarnational approach, humility, that the messenger is the message, and the need for revelation, and he also proposed we not throw away the argument for prophecy as a way to entering into the truth question.
I have to add an insightful question by Doug Pagitt: some do ministry “to” postmoderns, some “with postmoderns, and others “as” postmodernists.
My presentation was the last one, and I dealt with Barna’s category of distributed spiritual formation: that many today are not anchoring their spiritual growth in a local church but in a variety of churches. Then I suggested reasons for this, mostly having to do with the evangelical church’s age-specific ministries aggravated by prolonged adolescence leading to prolonged entrance into the traditional church. I suggested that evangelicalism has no robust ecclesiology. Mostly, though, I argued that evangelicalism’s individualist gospel creates distributed spiritual formation and what we need is a gospel that is inherently community-based instead of individual-based.
The two days was awesome: a good event with good learning and good dialogue. Tony Jones was masterful in guiding discussions; and the crowd had interesting questions and suggestive comments.
A highlight of my day was lunch with Mark Oestreicher (Marko) in La Jolla (yes, it was gorgeouis looking out over the bay) and some fellowship with one of America’s leading voices about youth ministry. It was special for me.
I led a workshop on Jesus Creed, and it was lots of fun and discussion and learning. Pastor Armfield of Michigan was there, and I had his son, Ben, in class a few years back.
Highlights: meeting some bloggers: Dana Ames (she gave Kris and me a bottle of wine) and Jim Martin (with whom I’ll have breakfast tomorrow morning).
Then a dinner with Zondervan authors, which meant I got to sit between Dan Kimball and Randy Frazee — very cool for me. I’ll hold the secrets I learned.
Late night conversation in a suite with Doug and Shelly Pagitt, and a bundle of others — all about topics that interest each of us.