Tonight was the latest in our series using movies in Cafe Church to explore spiritual themes.
An Inconvenient Truth, the enthralling documentary of Al Gore's powerpoint presentation on climate change (and what a miracle to take such potentially dull material and presenter and to turn it into something rivetting) gave us the first of what will likely be a number of opportunities to explore climate change and environmental issues from the persective of our lives being led as Jesus followers.
We used five short clips from the film, interspersed with a quiz, some thoughts and reflections and also three focussed zones. One zone invited people to get in touch with the idea of God as creator by using clay we provided to model something or to use the paper and paints. We invited people to reflect on the creative process, and frustration that might arise as their creations didn't turn out as they'd imagined.
Our second zone invited people to pray, and to make a note of the issues they were praying about.
The third zone used some of the eco-congregation material as the start for some discussion on how we as a church might respond to some the issues we'd been raising in the evening.
Several things stood out about the evening. The first was the quality of the conversations, response in prayer, and the creative output that came. In truth I hadn't been sure how responsive people might be feeling, but the issue was one that many people had clearly been thinking a lot about, and were enjoying the opportunity to express some of that thinking and reflection in a church context. The second pleasing thing was the generally high level of knowledge about the issue, and some of the practical responses that would be helpful to make. The real challenge comes in moving beyond the knowledge and into the action.
I was personally very provoked, as ever on this subject, about my own responses. We've changed the lightbulbs, increased our use of public transport greatly and we try and make good choices when we shop. But i know I am as conflicted as anyone. There are days I run late and it's too easy to jump in the car, and times when i buy something that just has way too much packaging. It would be easy to get downhearted and feel that the issue is too big. However, I reminded myself, and shared with the church, the reflection that we follow a God who is as able to inspre other people's hearts all over the world as much as he is inspiring ours. That it's not my responsibility to make other people's choice, that I have to make the ones I can.
We followed Cafe Church with the second of the joint meetings between our youth and young adults. It was a fun time of getting to know each other a bit better, watching a Nooma dvd and then hearing from one of our folks about a short-term mission trip to West Africa. She presented really well, and gave us a flavour of her experience there. We are getting to grips, slowly, with the creation of new ways of doing church, and I'm not sure whether they realised it or not, but tonight had many of the elements we ought to be thinking about includng when we more consciously plan for worship experiences.