Metaphor is Metamorphosis

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so unfortunately the audio and visual problems continue today.  very unfortunate.

but i am less jaded today and have had some valuable time.

the opening general session today began with Fernando Ortega leading worship.  i’m not a big fan, and he did mostly hymns, which i’m also not a fan of, and yet, it was really good.  there was a great cello player and a good choir, and it was a very rich time.  my beef with most hymns is a lack of good theology in the lyrics (along with outdated music), but the hymns that we sang today were very powerful and spot on.  let it be known that i, adam nevins, sang hymns and got into it.  i must be really mature now.  heck, this conference has really paid off…

and then Leonard Sweet came up to speak.  he announced that he changed his talk on the plane ride, so he had his laptop open with notes from the plane.  and i must say it was a pretty good talk.  Len is a pioneer of postmodern Jesus followers, which sometimes makes him an icon and a bit kitsch.  but the fella is a great communicator, and thinks outside of the box for sure.  most pastors probably knew and understood the Psalm 22 thing, but it was new and insightful to me.  as was the orange and apple.  but i’ll let him explain through interpretation of his talk in my notes now transcribed here:

when did Jesus sing in the Bible
1. after the last supper, they sang a hymn, then wen to the mount of olives
2. when Jesus was on the cross.  “My God, My God…”

Jesus is quoting the first verse of Psalm 22, which isn’t liturgy that Jews recited; it was a song that they knew.  He most likely sang the line, or at least uttered it invoking the entire song.  in the NIV it goes a little something like this:  (maestro, if you please!)

Psalm 22
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?

2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent.

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the praise of Israel.

4 In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.

5 They cried to you and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by men and despised by the people.

7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads:

8 “He trusts in the LORD;
let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you
even at my mother’s breast.

10 From birth I was cast upon you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.

13 Roaring lions tearing their prey
open their mouths wide against me.

14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted away within me.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs have surrounded me;
a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones;
people stare and gloat over me.

18 They divide my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing.

19 But you, O LORD, be not far off;
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

20 Deliver my life from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.

21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the congregation I will praise you.

23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!

24 For he has not despised or disdained
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.

26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
they who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,

28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.

30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.

31 They will proclaim his righteousness
to a people yet unborn—
for he has done it.

Jesus, in the midst of the worst, sang the best of praises.

metaphor is metamorphosis. it is how you change lives. we (worship leaders) are in the metaphor business.  we are to put metaphors (images) to sound, not words to music.  for us, image is everything because Jesus is the image of God.  words come after image/metaphor.  metaphors make the familiar strange.  “you have heard it said…, but i say…”  we are on a campaign against cliche.

7 Metaphores to change the future:

1. Design.  style is now substance.

2. Transformation.  oyster and pearl.

3. Pilgrim.  pilgrims are followers.  and we have had 30 years of “leadership,” which is a word that isn’t even in Scripture.  our job isn’t to lead but to follow Christ, the only leader.  and if we follow, we follow from behind.

4. The Web.  Leaven.  Connection.

5. Organic. the apple.  the modern world was an orange.  peeled, sliced, segmented.  the future is apple.  how do we see the Scriptures as a whole?  we have verse-itus.  we know verses, not stories, and yet the Bible was written in story.  our jobs are not to make the Scriptures come alive (because they already are, der…), but to help people come alive to the Scriptures.

6. Wind.  spirit.  we have been taught that the trees move the wind.  that the greatest forces are material.  but the greatest forces are really invisible.  spiritual.  we have made our ministries more about trees than wind.  we are tree huggers and not wind surfers.  someone who is born of the spirit is unpredictable.
matter is now defined as vibrating threads of energy.  churches are built from the sound up.  our job is to tune people’s heart to Christ.  when resonance is reached (as with a vocalist and a wine glass), something has to give, and it won’t be Jesus.

7. Harmony.

Fernando Ortega
Fernando Ortega
Leonard Sweet
Leonard Sweet

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