Sunday, January 28, 2007


Once again the three-ring circus that is the Symposium on Worship has concluded. After six worship services, a dozen presentations, and countless encouraging and stimulating conversations with people doing and teaching and loving worship, Debra and I are both exhausted.

One of the best parts of Symposium is that because so much is going on, it is a hot house for serendipitous connections: connections between gospel music and liturgical dance; between the cruciform glory of God and alternative worship practices; between old and new friends.

Some of this year's highlights included a fun Friday night at a local brew joint with a collection of our favorite Fuller folk (and honorary Fuller folk): Clay Schmit, Fred & Dottie Davison, Luke Hyder, Todd Farley, Chuck Fromm, Mary Hulst, and Eric Jacobsen. Whatever else you say about folks in California, manifesting the eschatological joy of the kingdom (i.e. partying) comes a bit easier to them than it does to us dour and frozen Midwestern Calvinists. We don't really deserve to enjoy ourselves, we think.

Deb presented on her/our recent work on words in worship; I presented on developments in the emerging/alt church.

I think my presentations went well, but suffered from their context. That is to say, the fellow presenting just before me was Doug Gay. His topic was similar to mine (he's one of the authors, in fact, of the book on alternative worship, titled Alternative Worship). Add to this the fact that he was brilliant, charming, tall, and... to top it all off, Scottish. So he spoke brilliantly and charmingly from on high about "Altairnative Woarship" while I followed him speaking competently, if nasally, a bit closer to the ground, about "Alternutive Wuurrship." Fortunately, I had a lot of pictures in my presentation.

Even more fortunately, Doug had some free time when Symposium concluded, so he came to church with us yesterday morning, and then came over for brunch. Another serendipitous connection between two practitioners and thinkers that is now a connection between friends.


Doug Gay said...

Just found this - so will retaliate by saying that Rienstra may not know much about worship but he's a great short order cook - actually only the second part of that statement is true,

yours altairnatuffly,


Matt Hauger said...


Just wanted to thank you for your presentation on the emerging movements in LA and the UK. We LOVED seeing your tour -- sometimes it's hard to get your head around what emergent/alt looks like (especially for a church like ours), and you really made it a bit more understandable, if that's possible; this is an incredibly long sentence.

Nathan said...

Or you could have your own private Symposium on your iPod (minus incarnational community and fellowship...): our audio archive now includes Debra's session and Ron's panel.