Arise Sessions 2 & 3

Session 2 was Gilles Ste-Croix of Cirque. He told the fascinating story of how Cirque was started as street performers and has grown into an organization of 4,000 people with 18 (I think) permanent shows all over the world. Probably the thing that made most people jealous is that they spend between 2-3 years creating a show. As Nancy pointed out, we have 6 days. Still, very cool stuff.

Nancy interviewed Brian McClaren for the final session of the day. I've been reading his book, Everything Must Change, of late, so much of what he talked about has already been rattling around in my head. As they spoke, some very interesting and provocative videos were shown. A woman from the community here shared her story of interacting with poverty in the world. It was an excellent example of how we can use the arts to make a difference. I typed as many notes as I could, as fast as I could. Here they are, as I wrote them--not proofed or edited yet. 

  • The leading of the Holy Spirit...otherwise known as winging it. Of course the Holy Spirit is known as a dove, so there's something there...
  • The impetus of the book--meeting at a camp when he was unprepared. He asked the kids what issues they were dealing with. There was a list of religious issues (KJV, drums in church, can women teach, etc.). Then there was the list of global problems (extinction of species, overpopulation, war, etc.). The thing he found troubling is that there was no overlap between those two lists. The church list had nothing in common with the world list.
  • When looking at the lists, Shane Claiborne says, "God must be up in heaven saying, 'Gee if the church won't get involved, then the Rock Starts will cry out..."
  • He identified three major crisis we face right now.
  • The crisis of the planet--everything we do is draining resources out of the planet, and putting waste back.
  • The crisis of poverty--the gap between rich and poor is widening, and when that happens, you can expect problems. As Bono has said, "Where you live should not determine if you live."
  • The crisis of peace--when the have-nots start trying to get what the haves have, the haves start protecting not giving. As the gap between rich and poor grows, every other issue becomes more intense.
  • The stories we live by are sending us in a wrong direction. This is where art become so important. Art can drive our framing stories.
  • Four common framing stories:
    • Domination: if only we were in charge
    • Revolution: if only they weren't in charge
    • Scapegoating: they are the ones who are causing our troubles
    • Isolation: we need to get away from the
  • Many of our churches have been taught that God wants the world to get worse and worse so it will be over sooner. Status Quo Christianity allows us to live in our safe bubble with our relationship w/ Jesus and ignore the problems so prevalent in the rest of the world. 
  • Check out the verse in Deut. that Jesus quotes when He says, "The poor you will have with you always." He's not saying it's justified.
  • A lot of us assume that the purpose of the Bible is to get our souls into heaven when we die. But what if the centerpiece of Jesus' message was not a fire escape, but the Kingdom of God. Do we have it reversed? What if it's not about us going to heaven, but God's kingdom coming to earth?
  • Our theological systems are perfectly rendered to get the results we are now getting.
  • Saved doesn't simply mean saved from eternal death, it also means saved from wasting your life on trivial things. We can't make an either/or out of something that is supposed to be a both/and.
  • The Church is not the end user of the Gospel. We receive it so we can give it away.
  • When Jesus says, "Repent and believe," He's saying, "Stop living by those old framing stories." 
  • Church should not be a place where we draw people out of the world and get them playing intramural sports. Church should be a place where we teach people to live the life of Jesus, living in the new framing stories. 
  • We have to be careful to not let our theology become captive to any political ideology. There's a sense that God cares about spirits and souls, but not about bodies. And that's wrong. Artists are ones who can relate to the body.
  • How can artists, pastors and leaders make a difference?
  • Leading the church into integral worship: A higher view of a bigger God.
    • Humanize the other. The arts can be a vehicle to put a human face to the forgotten others.
    • Humanize ourselves. Stirring humane emotion, inconvenient thought, and merciful action.
    • Revaluing creation. When we sign songs that value creation, we bring people into awareness that creating is God's artwork.
    • Revaluing relationships and connectedness. Everything is a relative, sin breaks connections in our relationships, and the arts can help us see that.
  • We can't make poverty history until we make poverty personal.
  • As artists, we have been making the church better because of our art. Now that the church is getting better, perhaps the church will wake up and see that God's vision for the church is to make the world better because of the church. 
  • What really makes the world stand up and take notice is how we love each other. Can the church become a place where we are known for loving the poor, and known for what we do bring mercy & justice to the world?

Like I said, it's a bit rough, but there is some good content there. So now I have the night off. I might head off to find some food. There's a cafe right across from me and something smells really good.