Published by Brian Slezak on 25 Apr 2008
This evening I attended the Everything Must Change Tour, presented (I supposed), by Deep Shift. I live-tweeted the event, if that’s what you call it, which was my first attempt at using Twitter. It was very one-directional, as I did it through my cell phone and didn’t have device updates on. New guy – my bad.
I registered for the event late last year after hearing of it somehow. My wife and I had heard Brian McLaren speak at one other occasion, knew he was associated with this, so we signed up. It wasn’t cheap – $75+ per person at early bird price, but if you got in on the early bird deal you got a copy of Everything Must Change, one of McLaren’s books. Oh, and it ended up you got a compact fluorescent after showing up. “Yeah. Check out my totally enviro-friendly bling, yo. 1200 lumens for only 20 watts dawg.” So you got swag for $75. Not all bad.
I had a creepy feeling about the event from the time I registered though because of some of the language surround the event. To be perfectly blunt, it felt very bleeding-heart, tree-hugger, all we need is love … ish. Oh well, at the very least it’ll be a good experience for my wife and I. This feeling was intensified after getting to our seats and thumbing through the handouts. Let me extend this feeling to you by way of quoting some of the material:
…. Therefore we will practice ‘listening one another into free speech,’ ‘building bridges of empathy,’ ‘creating safe spaces,’ and other strategies of revolutionary communication.
When I see or hear ___ I feel ___, because my need for ___ is/is not being met. Would you be willing to ___.
When you said ___, I felt ___. Can you understand why I would feel that way?
A short commentary: Umm – Wow. 1. Revolutionary? Really? Seriously? 2. I’m building my bridge of empathy to solitude, and I don’t care where your bridge goes. 3. If I “felt” that much all the time, I’d be in therapy, or I’d be a woman. (I do not mean any offense to women, I am just a guy that’s all. But if that made you feel ___ because it was ___, I would suggest ___. No ___ intended.)
During one of the discussion times, I met Al. Al asked me what I thought of this so far. (Thus far we had experienced good music, a Sierra Club video, and some speaking by Linnea Nilsen Capshaw.) I admitted I had little expectation, not doing any research about it beforehand, but felt “like it was a bunch of liberal stuff.” Al gave me a concerned look, a nod, and agreed.
Brian McLaren spoke. He’s a good presenter, and a good speaker, so you can’t go too wrong. One thing I like about Brian is that he loves circles. Two dimensional circles. The man can explain anything he needs using circles, usually three or four … and maybe a box. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but that was ok because I wasn’t supposed to. He told us that before he started, and I happened to agree with him about that, and some other things too.
We broke into another discussion time to talk about our thoughts and feelings, and Al turns around to me and states, “Yeah, I’m afraid you were right. He is off base, and just wrong about ….” Unfortunately, Al and I were on the same page. This wasn’t the McLaren we knew, and to my initial concern; McLaren was veering hard left toward the target audience.
Overall, the evening was OK. The music was great, McLaren wasn’t at his best, and the evening was much like a sub-standard worship service. If I didn’t get books and swag, I would have been very disappointed. My wife tolerated it. That is to say she didn’t go postal on me, but sternly said I owe her something in return that is better than ice cream. She and I agreed that the time progressed much like a mainline worship service. Singing, greeting, prayer, shake some hands, singing, listen to preaching, prayer, singing, benediction. There was more discussion thrown in than usual. Oh – we did miss communion, but it wasn’t the first weekend of the month.
It may sound like I’m vehemently against the left, but I am really not. I have some liberal views that get me chastised, and I’m fine with that. I just take the extreme left less seriously. You kind of have to, because when they state in the materials that Brian will intentionally avoiding using male pronouns when referring to God because the bible reflects God in feminine images as well as masculine; you have to call that out. At what point were all those “He” references misleading? Did I miss it when Jesus pulled out, “whoops, I meant Mother, not Father. My bad.”
Regardless, we’re attending tomorrow’s morning session as well, and Pania (that’s my wife) is even going with me when I expected her to bail. If tomorrow is blog-worthy, I’ll post about my experience.