Stories of Emergence:  Moving from Absolute to Authentic Weirdness. This evening I’m sitting on a gymnasium floor in a local school watching my daughter and 14 or 15 other 6-8-year-olds taking a dance class. Hip-Hop. Yeah. I’m reading Stories of Emergence: Moving from Absolute to Authentic (edited by Mike Yaconelli), so I had it along and was intermittently reading and watching the class. Mostly reading, but enough watching to see how my kid was doing ;^) at minimum. I have to say that the percentage of HipHop music that’s good is not a very large sample of the whole.

At any rate, there I am, reading the chapter by Chuck Smith, Jr. when I had one of those flash-of-insight moments that kind of springboarded off of something that Chuck had written. More about that to follow, if it still looks insightful after the light of day hit it. Anyway, I wanted to do what I always do in such moments — write it down. Since I couldn’t blog it right away, I didn’t want to lose the thought so I could pursue it later, maybe even without the HipHop music blaring in the background. I always have a few business cards in my wallet, but I had no pen.

Now, I know from experience that those things I try really hard to remember — like the web url or article or intriguing topic I heard in an interview on the radio on the way to work — is most certainly going to disappear absolutely into vapour within the following ten minutes. So I’m stuck. I wrack my brain, wishing I had my laptop along. I don’t carry a PDA but maybe I really should… and somewhere along this line of thinking I pulled out my cell phone. I can’t recall if it has a voice recorder built in or not, but that wouldn’t work well where I was anyway. So did anybody know these things could also be used to send text messages? I managed to send two short messages to my email account with enough detail to remind me what I was reading and what my idea was. Stupid text messages, what’s up with the impossibly short message size? I should have been able to get my notes into a single email rather than just most of them into two separate messages, if you ask me. I’ve never really tried using the text-message software on my phone; I’ve always been skeptical of the software that guesses the word you want, but this one did pretty well, all things considered. Somewhat prooved to me that I’m not as young as I once was — and in this case apparently that means I’m old enough to not “get” the technology that seems to drive the younger generation.

So it’s a bit odd having my daughter in Hip-Hop. She teaches some of the dance moves to her friends at school, and I’ve wondered a little about how that goes over… she being in a christian school and all. I figure she’s at a “disadvantage” in her dance class because unlike most of the other kids in the class, her world isn’t all about MTV and — see, I don’t even know who the cool HipHop artists are. She probably didn’t really even know what HipHop was until we signed her up for the class; she was happy to just take a dance class and we thought an activity like this in a 10-week class in a community-run program like this would be a good idea (her younger sister is doing gymnastics). So during the class’ water-break, she flops down beside me and tells me that now she has two dances to practice — which I didn’t get until she explained to me that they were learning square dancing in gym class at school.

Somehow a stark and unfriendly comparison leapt to my mind. But remember I’m just cynical by nature.

After class, she gestured toward my book and asked me, “So, what’s that all about?” As we were leaving and heading out toward the vehicle, I told her, “It’s about how the church fits into the world.” (You can’t just say “church and culture” to a seven-year-old.) It strikes me as the idea comes to mind that this is the perfect statement. Evangelicalism was all about getting the world into the church. Now I’m talking about getting the church into the world. Yeah. That’s the shift in thinking that we need… but it requires dancing to a different tune.

Will that be HipHop or square dance?

PS: Turns out she wasn’t asking about the book I was reading, just about the community program pamphlets that were handed out and which were in the same hand as my book. Oh well. She was interested in the book too…

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