Monday, February 01, 2010
Singing a Different Song
The speaker for three of our sessions was an American who looked like a cross between singer Kenny Rogers and Chad Kroeger from Nickleback. I'm not a fan of either of those entertainers, but Dr. Leonard Sweet was both entertaining and thought-provoking. He was introduced as a historian and a futurist -- an interesting combination.
Sweet admitted to us that he loves the Victorian era and has a house full of big, clunky furniture. But he acknowledges that he lives in the 21st century, not the 19th, and he accepts that reality. The implication of this observation seemed to be that a church which is bemoaning its decline is well equipped for a previous day, not the one in which we find ourselves.
Sweet was not a pessimist. To the contrary, with humour he invited us to be clear-eyed and inventive, open to the work of God's Spirit for the time in which we live. He is fond of acronyms: as an example, TGIF. Not the one which might come to mind but Twitter, Google, Internet, Facebook. He claims, rightly it seems to me, that this is the world in which young people function as they search for connection. He encouraged us to be what he calls post-Gutenberg people, accepting that a new revolution is well under way, not unlike the one prompted by the invention of moveable type. He reminded us that the Christian community is a place for authentic connection, if we are willing to let go of some of our assumptions about what it means to be church.
I might say more about Leonard Sweet, but what is your reaction to these comments?