HERE are some random thoughts about stuff:
In 2009, my family and I took our first trip to Greenbelt. We didn't just *go* to Greenbelt, we DID GREENBELT.
A group of friends came along and joined us as we modeled our unique articulations of community and playful collaboration. Before we went, the festival had seemed to us to be a bit enigmatic, shrouded 'neath an imaginary cloud of the "over the pond" aloofness, or something. With all accommodations coordinated, we made the trek and found ourselves surrounded by some rich characters there, both festival-goers and staffers. One conversation we had with a long-time festival-attender articulated our sentiment ex-ACT-ly:
He had spent a good portion of his life wondering if he was alone in this pursuit of fierce, inclusive freedom - his own faith journeys entangled by brutal doctrinal battles and glad-handed backstabbing. The hunger for authentically messy, inclusive community looked as though it would bring him to a place where many were unwilling to go. It was at Greenbelt, a place where inclusive community flourishes , where he found family.
As we left, our convictions were strengthened and our strides lengthened. The trip made our home-bound seemingly-meager efforts gain momentum, and we strove to empower those in our own local family to shake through second-guesswork. The nagging need for kindred spearmint freshening the air in our rooms, though, grew ever stronger. We heard rumors of a Goose hovering over the waters.
LOFTY aesthetics are intoxicating. They lead us to attempt re-creation of authentic moments. We like the feel of something, we move to accumulate similar furniture and giggle with anticipation at the possibility of repeated epiphany. Extrapolate this complication across this churched nation and what you'd find are well-meaning police-people wearing clubhouse clothes. Garments galvanized by gross generalization. Purveyors of the (self-proclaimed "proven") processes that preserve the Pomp that brings on the Circumstance.
Give me a synth. The awkwardly gawdy bells and whistles. Keep it cream-colored and glossy, trying to be something it's not. The critics mock the synthesizers, trying to do everything, make magic happen. "Frankensteinian", they call it.
One thing you get on a synth is possibility. Sure, some of the tones you reach at the end of a particular experiment don't match the sweet melodies in your head, but you ventured out. The "reset" button is nearby, a new try awaiting you.
The body of Jesus-followers in America has tended to resemble a SOUND BANK on the synthesizer of culture, with our parameters having small "knob-twist" variations, but nothing too extravagant. The risk of exhibiting the "wrong voice" seems too great, and, as a result, the tones are listenable but seldom earth-shaking or culture-making.
I say let the experiment happen! Drop the ball! Sing off-key! And in so doing, mess up the mutation that has permeated us - the notion that our voices AREN'T already MIRACULOUS. Model freedom and brace yourself.
Last year, at Wild Goose Festival in Shakori Hills, NC, folks who were willing were brought together to try their hand at the Synth - hit the "demo" button, dance around, trip, scrape a knee and laugh. The chords transcended the confinements of accuracy and aesthetic "rightness". Discarded patches were dusted off and rewired and imaginary numbers were programmed in. The results were life-like. Jesus-as-forebearer makes us the offer to experiment again this summer, and I, for one, am getting my fingers ready.
Watch this video to get excited: http://vimeo.com/36375347
Portland, Oregon USA