Everything Must Change Conference

In May, I attended Brian McLaren’s conference for his new book Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope. I was hungry for the ways he articulated the dangers and opportunities we face in this century. Attending Brian’s conference was so refreshing, just to see people talking about these issues. There’s a further summary of the conference content by ST.

Much of the ideas in his book are not new to the faith-based peace activists I know. However, there is a lot we need to face in the inconvenient truths of environmental issues, and crises connected to humanity’s overconsumption. When activists talk about these issues, people are put off by the stark realities we expose them to, those realities being hard enough to face as it is.

McLaren talked about these painful issues in a way that was easily understandable for mainstream evangelicals or folks on the fringe of the church. He applied the example of Jesus and his relevance to our times, naming the social and political backdrop of Jesus’ life during a period of Empire, inequality, and injustice.

What was so important for me, was the chance to go deeper than intellectual discussion of crisis scenarios, deeper than fix-it mode. It was an opportunity to feel, to grieve and to struggle with hope through worship and the arts.

I joined Tracey Howe in worship leading from Songs for A Revolution of Hope an album based on the themes of McLaren’s book. I bought a whole box of the CDs because the themes are so fresh and the music so ecclectic. Linnea Nilsen Capshaw, of Deep Shift led us through meditations, journaling and artwork to process the themes of the conference at a deeper level.

I needed this space for worship, repentance, grief, remorse. Like many other Americans, I am a fixer. But we need to let it hurt so bad that we let it change not just our light bulbs, but also our stories that got us here. We need to change our living narratives from society’s message of individualism, to community; from consumption, to creativity.

Without this journey of grief, I might change things on the surface. But without going deeper, I’ll burnout, or become passive aggressive in my changes. Living Green might be life-or-death important one day, and a lesser priority the next day when I’m worn out. We need to go so much deeper than fix-it mode.

We need to understand the stories society tells which got us here in the first place, how we’ve come to over-identify with energy consumption, believing that is the sacred American way of life, as President Bush says. We need to go deeper to grieve and unpack those stories. McLaren’s conference helped me along the way.

Check out the Wiki-based website for sharing practical ideas about how Everything Must Change.

Comment (1)

  1. Jason


    Thanks for this perspective on the conference. As you know, I was there too — but this way of understanding the process helps me grasp its significance and not be distracted by the fact that “I’ve heard about these issues before.”

    Getting beyond the intellectual, the fix-it mode is a struggle for me as well. Trying to find out how to embody these changes — being able to use ritual, liturgy, and movement to acknowledge the big-ness of the tasks before us. And to feed the deep longing for healthier relationships that we can live into.

    We can analyze ourselves weary, but it seems like the personal process of coming to commitment doesn’t get enough ink or attention. So thanks for your testimonial.

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