From dust to dust

I attended my second ever Ash Wednesday service last night. A local Anglican Church held a service at another Evangelical Free church. It was cool to be with another congregation in the building of yet another congregation. I couldn’t help but remark how beautifully big the Church is, and how powerful the Church becomes when we get past our franchise mentality and seek to learn from one another’s unique expressions of worship.  Continue reading

Passion 2012: When Worship Fuels Mission

I’ve always been a fan of the Passion movement started by Louie Giglio. The movement started about 15 years ago, and its hallmark has always been the cool conferences gathering thousands of college-aged students from around the country along with the fantastic music they’ve produced. Their worship leaders are recording artists and songwriters who have written and produced songs for the church, many of which we sing each Sunday. Over the years, I’ve collected my fair share of Passion albums (often times live recordings of the fresh music played at the annual conferences). Here’s a promo for this past conference:

As with any good musical influence, their music has evolved over the years. What has been more inspiring, however, is seeing their theology grow with their music. I believe that it was John Calvin who said that if you show me the music of the church, I will show you her theology. The theology of this movement has always been about reclaiming a biblical, God-centered faith in Jesus, and the music has reflected that, but in recent years, the conferences have also been about taking worship into the streets – that is, doing something now about the world that we proclaim God rules over.

More than music, Passion has become a force uniting a generation to take seriously the call of the Gospel and its demands for the way we live in this world. This year, the focus was on ending human slavery. I have several thoughts concerning the over-optimism and borderline brash arrogance that says, “we will end slavery in our generation.” And I’m conflicted because I love their vision and boldness. Better to attempt to end slavery and fail than to sit back and do nothing because you know you’ll fail. They raised over 3 million dollars in 4 days to fund 6 projects to end slavery. (Hopefully, they won’t be paying 14.9%+ of that back in interest fees to credit card companies!) I also hope that a small percentage of these 45,000+ attendees will go beyond just giving gifts. Charity can be toxic according to Robert Lupton if it is not done with humility and understanding. Still, 3 million is 3 million. It makes me wonder if all this money is out there, why isn’t the church doing more and doing it more often? I suppose I need to start by asking myself that question first <sigh>!

I thoroughly enjoyed this past conference albeit I participated online watching live streaming sessions by myself or with my college students. I was challenged and inspired, but also left wondering, “what now?” Now that the music is recorded, the concert stage struck, the shirts sold, and the 45,000 back to being anonymous on their campuses, what about the 27 million slaves?

It’s a bigger question than I can answer, so I’ll simply say this – I love the Passion movement because their worship of God through music, through preaching actually fueled their mission to save slaves. I think that’s exactly the way it should be. Even CNN noticed.

What about you? What do you think about the Passion movement? Leave a comment.