Friday, June 07, 2013

Living Convergence

I saw another casting of this breath-taking 13 foot sculpture today in downtown Omaha, Nebraska at the summer arts festival. I had a wonderful conversation with the artist, Lorri Acott, about origami cranes, LGBT rights, the Adam and Eve story, how artists serve society in a way similar to pastors and the power of love to transform the world.  Not bad for a random conversation with a stranger.  It was everything I want church to be: connectional, transformative, inspirational and convergent.  It was church beyond walls.

I'm into my second day of a sabbatical visit to Omaha, where I will be hanging out and helping out at Darkwood Brew. I'm honored and excited to get a chance to be present in the flesh at this wonderful ministry that I've been a virtual part of for a long time now. In fact, this Sunday I will be on the other side of the camera with a few minutes to talk about what I'm looking for on this sabbatical and they may even let me read the Pneuma Divina passage.  If you haven't checked out Darkwood Brew yet all I can do is invite you to this place where ancient mystical practice meets modern interactive web technology, world class jazz and you never know what might happen.  If you have checked it out then you will know the truth of that description. The reason you don't know what will happen is because despite the large amount of behind the scenes work that goes into it (more of which I will be seeing in the coming days) things will always go in the direction that the ever-welcome "wild goose" of God's Holy Spirit wants them to go.  When the Spirit blows in connection, transformation, inspiration and convergence happen.

The interactive technology of Darkwood Brew encourages connectivity between participants, but on a larger scale, there is also a call to connectivity as a means of addressing the ills that surround us due to disconnection.  In a recent series about caring for creation, the lack of connection with the creation of which we are a part by God's design was a point regularly made.  And surely if we are ever to see a healing peace in the world, true shalom, then we need to keep connecting with people who see the world differently than ourselves and that happens regularly through the guests who are interviewed on the show.  The topics addressed on Darkwood Brew are not for the timid, they are edgy (perhaps pushy better captures it) with an intent to transform.  The current series is a great example with guest Frank Shaeffer channeling the cranky prophet Amos and the art of the uncomfortable truth.  In an always inspirational act, each episode ends with a call to a shared meal at the table, an act of holy communion adapted to realities of the type of gathering that interactive technology allows.  Put all that in a big bowl, stir and you have Convergence.

Convergence is not a goal as much as it is a movement.  As a birdwatcher, I know what it means to observe in order to draw a conclusion that leads to a positive identification.  Sometimes the identification is not all that sure and sometimes that is because it is a species not seen before.  Convergence is a new species, making it hard to identify, but the observant (those with eyes to see and ears to hear) are noticing its appearance.  And many are welcoming it.  Convergence is also not simply an ideal to be admired.  I am convinced that is something to be lived.  Convergence is a lifestyle.  It is finding connection with the other, bringing to the connection the inspiration of the holy that each channels and expecting transformation.  It is incarnational, for it is enfleshing through your own living that spirit that gives us all life.  Once you accept the fact that the magnitude and the power of God's Spirit is beyond anything that any of us can grasp, then you are at a point to let go of the limiting thoughts that bind and separate and begin living Convergence.  You may find the transformation (or even the prospect of it) too uncomfortable to desire.  As the motto of Darkwood Brew goes, you may not like it.  But then again, it may be a cure to the dis-ease rampant in the church and society and it might fill you with inspired hope.  You might just like it.