(photo by iPete)
My liver is still aquiver after the Jesus for President tour came to DC on Friday night. It was powerful and humble, it was warm and personal, and it was truly inspiring and motivating. The program was a little long (2 hours), and almost completely based on the book. But somehow, seeing the story of the Bible laid out from Genesis to Revelation, focusing on many of the political twists and turns within, made for a compelling evening. With visuals from the Sharps and Paul Soupiset stirred in for richness, and the music of The Psalters punctuating the whole presentation, I left feeling fairly stunned. A lot of the music was stuff I’m familiar with, but The Psalters’ new piece ‘Magnificat‘ (‘Mary’s Song’) melted my heart and covered my face with tears as I was struck with Jesus’ mom’s courage and hope, and with God’s shocking upturning of social conventions and expectations to help the oppressed. And singing ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ again was cathartic (though I tend to pace around and belt this one out, netting some rubber-necking from the folks in front of me) and quietly listening to ‘Banner’ felt like I was being torn it two. Thank God for modern prophets who can show those of us embedded in empire and power that we’ve bent God’s dream for the world into something grotesque.
One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve watched the reaction to this book is that folks have a hard time raising their vision from the partisan left-vs.-right paradigm that rules the land. Fortunately, I think Chris and Shane’s efforts to redeem the term ‘political’ and show that it is truly about our everyday human relationships really comes through in this form of presentation (I’m not getting the quote perfectly, but I heard them say something about ‘not how we vote on November 4, but how we live on November 3rd and 5th’). Too, the fact that they ‘only’ tend to commend the small efforts of relatively powerless people to change the world (vice organizational, governmental, and multinational efforts) made a lot more sense in this context– God seems to always have been about underdogs, and always been dubious of big systems. Besides, the systems of this world will not undo themselves, but will only change from within.
It was a great night, and a great chance to hang out with friends. Now I just need to wait for the audio version of this great book so that I can hear some of that new music again.