i was reading scot mcknight’s the jesus creed last night in my cozy bed in our 15th century home, and the section was talking about spiritual formation. so it’s on my mind a bit today. this morning, liesl and i were sitting amidst about 11,000 british teenagers in the largest tent i have ever seen in my life. this event, these 11,000 teenagers (even even moreso, the organizers of the event), are a slightly different tribe than liesl and i come from. they’re charismatics — but, good charismatics (the we’ve got the spirit, but we still engage the world kind, not the we’ve got the spirit, and we’re withdrawing from the world kind). in fact, i never hear american charismatics talk about justice like this. but i digress.
we were sitting there in singing time, and there was a time when the band stopped playing, and the 11,000 teenagers kept singing. and liesl was singing along with all the voice she had, and the whole thing sounded so beautiful. and it struck me, liesl was being spiritual formed by this experience.
so often, as a curriculum guy, i tend to think of formation as something one does, or maybe pursues. i don’t tend to think of formation as something that happens. not that singing a christian song is necessarily formative for liesl. but something about singing a worship song with 11,000 other teenagers, all of whom are british and very “other” than her (which she clearly feels), but sensing that she is connected to these british charismatic teenagers in some way, that she is one of them. and this experience — being here — will form her (spiritually). i expect she will remember that moment last night when all the power in that massive tent went out, but everyone kept singing, even notching it up a bit. and this will all become part of her journey, part of her story.
sure, she’s stoked about going to london this weekend. but i’m pretty excited about seeing her in this parallel universe (british, charismatic).
oh, and did i mention it’s freezing cold, and i only have shorts and t-shirts? doh.