At Christianity 21...

I am sitting at this phenomenal conference, hearing compelling speakers in a dynamic format - 21 presenters, 21 minutes each, some for 21 straight minutes, some for 7 3 minute pieces and other configurations, on Christianity for the 21st Century.  A muralist is painting as the conversation happens - sweeping deep color over a huge, black canvas, on her hands and knees.  A graphic artist is illustrating, doodling on a screen as people speak.  All around are laptops as people blog, tweet, and share what they are hearing with others beyond this room.  There have been preachers and poets, dialogues and drama - and two poignant conversations between Nadia Boltz-Weber, the tattooed "Sarcastic Lutheran" pastor of "House for All Sinners and Saints", and Phyllis Tickle, author of many spiritual discipline volumes and "The Great Emergence" - two women with remarkably similar humor, energy and wit, sharp and rich packaged very differently.

Here is some of what Lauren Winner had to say yesterday:

“Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ there is the widest possible difference.” 19th c, Frederick Douglas
21 ways they will know we are Christians by the end of the century – what they will say about us:
1.     Those Christians are peacemakers
2.     The Christians will come help us  (in times of crisis, need)
3.     Christians rest and
4.     Those Christians let their resting reconfigure their work (it is a privilege to rest) – they work for a world in which all may rest
5.     Those Christians live well in their bodies
6.     Those Christians practice boredom  - out of the cult of novelty, fetish of the new (boredom is not God’s invitation to try something new – invitation to press deeper into the practice)
7.     Those Christians tell the truth – will be able to name the limits of their certainty and knowledge
8.     Those Christians practice silence – (they are willing to just sit in silence with someone who is grieving instead of saying stupid things, they can turn things off and sit with self and God)
9.     Those Christians live in community where all have power (they name power as a good, spiritual virtue and offer power to everyone)
10. With those Christians, women get to do lots of stuff
11. Those Christians go to church with the people they live near
12.  The Christians keep telling God to do things – like heal the sick, feed the hungry, they keep taking demands and pleas to God over and over even when it looks stupid
13. When they think about God, they then think about what needs to change next
14. Those Christians eat fewer strawberries – they tread lightly on the planet
15. Those Christians see themselves as small characters in a bigger story (heroes are at center of stories, we laud heroes' virtues, in contrast, a saint can fail in way a hero can’t ,reveals possibility of forgiveness, just a small character in a story that is always fundamentally about God)
16. Those Christians lament – keep lifting up hearts that are broken
17. Those Christians throw good parties – eschatological, they practice for eternity of worship, reconcile enemies, poor inherit, but also heavenly banquet
18. Those Christians don’t gossip
19. Those Christians know how to practice unity without obliterating difference - that’s because of the Trinity
20. Those Christians do all those great things for the world and yet somehow they understand something about grace
21. The way those Christians describe reality (and teach and practice and celebrate the sacraments of the church) make people’s mouth’s water.

More to come...
(did I mention all the speakers are women?)

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