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With the flow or against the current

by Betsy Carlson (Editor, WordAlone Network)

April, 2003

Is the WordAlone movement ready to go with the flow of God's Spirit and against the currents of today, delegates are being asked at the annual WordAlone Network Convention being held this weekend at Roseville Lutheran Church in Roseville, Minn.

Keynote speaker Leonard Sweet, pastor and professor, futurist and historian, in his first of three addresses reminded his listeners, "your tribe led in one of the most interesting times," referring to the invention of the printing press and the reform of the church.

He was speaking of the quote, which he called a blessing: "May you live in interesting times, may you find them interesting and may they find you interesting."

Then he told them they must choose if they will lead in these interesting times with the introduction of another new technology, the Internet. But, he was speaking of more than using new gadgets, he was calling them to lead the church by trusting in God's Spirit.

He urged them to "go with the flow of God's Spirit," while going against the currents of today's culture.

"Hear me, church, trust not the process. Hear me, church, trust not the program. Hear me, church, trust not the polity. Trust the Spirit," he exclaimed.

In speaking of the currents of today, he stated: "Every commercial tells you, 'The Gospel's wrong.' They're telling us, 'It's the trees that move the wind."

Even the church has bought into that thinking, he said. The church has bought into visible things, but it's not really might or power or programs. It's the Spirit, the unseen, the wind, not the trees.

He called upon his audience to be "pneumanauts," sailors of the Spirit, masters of the invisible, people who can sail on the ocean of the invisible. The church must rediscover who it really is, not seeker driven, not purpose driven.

"What if it is Spiritual?" he asked. "Your ancestors in their revolution went out into the world in the Spirit, against the currents and created a movement that changed the world. When Luther posted those 95 Theses and said, 'Let's have a debate.' Nobody showed up."

But, the reform movement changed the face of the church, he added.

"Let us sail these waters, let us not be afraid of the currents as we cut against them. We're here to rescue the perishing and save the dying."

However, he referred to Psalm 51: 10-18 and cautioned them to go out with both confidence and humility that they can do all things in Christ.