I spent the last two days holed up with Rob Bell at the Hollywood Improv in Los Angeles.
And yes, it was just as interesting as I hoped it would be.
I was one of 33 people – including CEOs, documentary filmmakers, a Mennonite pastor, and an urban gardener – to participate in the Something 2 Say workshop, where we learned a little bit about each other and a lot about the art and science of communicating.
We worked through some practical communication tools and techniques at the workshop, and addressed specific issues that keep popping up for communicators — what do you do when you have something you’re dying to say but can’t figure out how to say it? How do you start when there’s a hint of something welling up within you that you know wants to be shared? How do you simplify complicated ideas to more effectively communicate them? I learned a lot that I hope to share with my family, friends and Left Handers over the next year.
Perhaps more interestingly, one thing that surprised me at the conference was the shock and awe that people had when I told them about Left Hand Church. Attendees didn’t believe that there could be a Christ-centered, fully affirming, non-mainline Evangelical-styled church that was not only surviving but flourishing. The Mennonite Pastor wanted to learn more about how we were growing a vibrant, young community of believers. The Episcopal Priest nearly dropped her water bottle when I told her about the church, and could only respond with a “HELL YEAH!” and a high-five. A transgender poet and playwright in Minneapolis wistfully said how he wished he had a church like Left Hand in his formative years.
After hearing our story, Rob Bell implored us to keep shaping the Church (did you notice the capital C?). He encouraged us to imagine our church as a place with no limits, a church that lives out of a “tell me more” ethos and rejects the “stop it, let’s be practical” narrative. He encouraged all of us to think about the “moonshot idea,” a type of thinking that aims to achieve something that is generally believed to be impossible. That kind of thinking can be exhilarating, and terrifying, and my emotional gas tank is running low, so I’ll stop there for now. However, I want you to know I’m so grateful that you are joining us on this path forward, a path that I think is leading us toward making something new, a church that works for today and now.