Tonight was one of the most interesting nights I’ve had in a long time. I went to see N.T. Wright in Toronto at an event called Wright Remixed. Brian Walsh (who attended the Evolving Church conference) along with a guy I met at the Mosaic church planting conference named Andrew Rennie and a few students of his started up this organization called Empire Remixed. It was an awesome night, and props to those guys that ran this for being quite creative and unique in their approach.
I walked up to the club with loud ‘club music’ blaring through the speakers. I was immediately greeted by Dom Ruso, a good friend of mine from the Embassy, so it was good to see him among everyone else. The bar was open and pretty much everyone had a beer in their hand. The music was loud, and if you were walking by from the street you would walk in and think it was a typical club night.
They introduced a rapper named Cyril Guerrette who just happened to be from Sarnia and who is now the assistant pastor of Freedomize. He rapped. I hate rap. But nevertheless he rapped and it was loud, typical concert loud. I started wondering if I was actually in the right place to see N.T. Wright but I saw his books on the table so I knew I wasn’t mistaken.
After a few songs, N.T Wright and Brian Walsh took the stage and had a conversation. To loosen people up, Wright grabbed a guitar and sang a song to us. Not everyday you see a leading theologian sing you a song. It lasted about an hour long and they were accompanied with a couple pints of beer each and a conversation that had people cheering, clapping, laughing and awing. They talked about culture, the church, faith and how all of them interact through our worldviews, or at least they should. They talked about hot topic issues and there was a Q&A time at the end where people could ask questions if they wanted. I won’t go into the content of the talk (hopefully it will be made available online and if so I will point you to it when I find it), I really don’t think I’m capable of doing any sort of accurate summary. After their talk, a band went up and played and finished the night off.
It was an encouraging night for a number of reasons. It was cool to see so many people, young adults especially, my age, concerned about the same things and there for the same reason. It was encouraging to hear people clap and cheer when Wright told us that we needed to move with Jesus and make his mission our own and to bring justice to the world around us. It was cool to see so many drink beer without being judged, because I came from a background where any alcohol consumption or even being in the same place as alcohol being consumed was forbidden. I don’t even drink, but there is something freeing about that environment. It was cool to see the Bishop of Durham of the Anglican church with his collared shirt and interesting jewellery connect and communicate to a bunch of young adults in all kinds of denominations in Canada. It was good to see rap, mixed with theology, mixed with hip hop, mixed with beer, mixed with conversation, mixed with relationship mixed with an overall sense that we are all there because we love the church and we love Jesus.