The extremes: wonders, confusions and what the ?

As I mentioned before, I’ve never been to a conference of such extremes.  Well, I guess it’s time to stop dancing around them…here they are…

WONDERS

  • The quality of people in the audience.
    I connected quickly to an all-star group of ministers who were perceptive and invested.  There’s a lot of passion about this! There’s a lot of great thinking about this.  I just wish I heard it more from the podium.
  • John Perkins.
    I loved that he was there.  I also didn’t mind that he was often used throughout the conference, referenced by the speakers and MCs as a sort of moral and historical touchstone.   I really wish I heard what he said during his plenary speech though.  I had a hard time hearing him, though the day before in his workshop, I understood him fine.   I think he spoke about how we need to start with God, with how we see God to do this work.  If we don’t have a big enough version of God than there is no way we can move forward in this work.  I think he marveled at how many pastors don’t even check in with God—how indeed can you survive, can your work thrive?   (I hope these are his words, as I had a hard time hearing him.  At any rate, the point is great!)
  • Efrem Smith, first night’s plenary.
    He saw the multiethnic church for how Jesus saw it (beautiful), grounded in Jesus’ own genealogy that he was able to exalt Jesus so high…a taste of heaven.  A taste of heaven.

CONFUSIONS

  • Is there an overarching message?  
    Every 17 or so minutes, a new plenary speaker would get up there and say something.  These mini-talks, TED, I suppose put this in vogue, are great in that you get to hear from different people.  And if the speaker you’re currently hearing from is a dud, well, it’s over quickly.  But they didn’t seem to speak from a theme, though someone told me the gospel was the theme.   It did not progress anywhere.  It seemed to be a bunch of disjointed talks.
    I suppose there’s nothing wrong with this—it gives you permission to poke in and out of the conference, to listen to the talks you want to.  There is no progression, so there is nothing you can miss.
    However, without some sort of progression—it was a big roller coaster ride—one horrible talk, next to one mediocre talk, next to one great talk—it really leaves you wondering:  “Where is this thing going?”   There was no gathering of people, no invitation to go on a collective journey. There was no building of community from up front—gathering all of us as a whole.

WHAT THE…?

  • What’s with the digs on the “homogeneous” church?
    It started from the very first session, Mark DeYmaz’s plenary talk kept making these digs at the homogeneous church.  By this, I’m gathering he means the white church, the Asian church, the Latino church.  (Wilfredo ‘Choco’ De Jesus was a plenary speaker—his church is a Latino church?)   This was very confusing to me, until I googled and Mark DeYmaz seems to be writing on articles about this.  Apparently, his main critics are the “homogeneous” church.
    Okay, I get your context and opposition, but is this really the most Christ-like way of addressing your opposition?   Especially those who might be in the room, who paid for your conference and are obviously open-minded enough to come take two-days and hear what you have to say?    (Though I suppose technically, I am not your opposition— by Mosaix definitions, I might be seen  as a multiethnic veteran, but on the surface, by Mosaix definitions since I work mostly in Asian American church settings perhaps you would term me your opposition….)   IS THERE NO PLACE FOR SOMEONE IN-BETWEEN?
  • Is Mosaix promoting ONE MODEL for the multiethnic church?
    “Mosaix is a conference and movement that is neither a conference nor movement.”   Something confusing like that was said from the front.  What is it then?  The feeling I got was that it wanted to be more than it was.  Even more confusing—and honestly, this made me lose respect—was the giving plea done during the first night’s plenary.There is nothing wrong with giving pleas. There is nothing wrong with segmenting audiences into various “membership levels,”  but this took it one step further.   Each membership was an invitation to make your church part of the Mosaix network—read, a church like Mosaix, in the mold of Mosaix through it’s starter pack” and other products.  How can there be just one model for the multiethnic church?   You’ve got to be kidding me?  What happened to taking a cue from plenary speaker Eugene Cho’s warning to beware of a singular story?   (He was quoting of course novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk on the subject.   (One of my top 5 fave TED talks—very much worth 18.50 minutes.)
  • Feeling invisible
    It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way in church settings—-it’s usually by some isolated individuals, and not en masse like this.  This is the strongest I’ve felt this.   I have a lot more to say on this.  This will be perhaps my next post.  For now, I will just say, it was really disturbing to be unseen, to feel like a number, a seat-warmer, and perhaps little else.
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