Friday, November 12, 2010

2010 EVTC - Of Meaning & Bones

"Liminal experiences drive meaning into the bones." - Colin Greene, at the 2010 Emergent Village Theological Conversation.

I may have mentioned this a time or two before, but I'm a huge fan of transformative learning. While I love a good intellectual challenge or a spirited debate, what really gets my attention is new information and/or experience that shapes who I am and how I engage my world. Meaning driven into my bones, therefore, is a poetic way of summing up one of my highest values. And a beautiful way of expressing my experience of the 2010 EVTC.

Of course, this also influences my ability to process the experience on an intentional, deeply aware sort of level. I've spent the last ten days or so working to identify just what meaning it was that was "driven into my bones." And as I've tried to bring more of that learning to the conscious surface, I've been challenged to explore more of the process itself.

I think in some ways transformation always happens just below the radar, somehow sneaking around our constructs and defenses and wreaking holy havoc while we naively proceed with our lives. Hence the reference to "liminal experiences" - those times and places where we find ourselves outside our normal, comfortable places and consequently tend to have thinner barriers and a greater susceptibility to the invasion of change agents. The EVTC was just such a space - we came together away from the demands of our daily lives, with an altered schedule and atypical freedom, sharing time and space, food and drink with new faces and different voices. We were presented with new ideas - or perhaps familiar ideas, with altered accents, or colorfully diverse stories. The influence of this open, challenging space and its rich variety virtually snuck up on many of us, driving its beauty deep before we necessarily even realized what was going on.

In upcoming days, I'll spend more time exploring specifics of the Conversation. In the meantime, however, I'm trying to absorb the significance of deep meaning, of creating and enjoying the spaces in our lives that make room for profound transformation.