Even though it's been several days since Matrix now, I have still got quite a lot of the things Tony Campolo said buzzing around my head. The fascinating thing has been the different stories people have told from the conference in various blogs in the blogosphere (Alice, Ian, Kathryn, Lev, Pete and Roy)
We have all heard what Tony Campolo said in different ways. Various aspects struck each of us in particular and those have been the things we've focussed on. It reminded me of the session I went to on Theology of/with young people in which Bob Mayo was proposing a move away from the relational model of Youth ministry to a kind of relational model 2.0 which he calls a narrative model. This moves the focus of working with young people away from stressing the importance of building a relationship with the young person to sharing stories with young people. Hearing their stories and enabling them to retell their story with God in it and inviting them to become part of God’s story.
Bob used as an example the four different gospels and how their authors each viewed the world through Christ’s eyes and yet also through their own. In the same way, we youth workers seem to have seen the matrix conference through our own eyes and through Christ’s
So, through my eyes…
The thing that has stuck with me over the last few days has been Tony Campolo’s assertion that we need to be thinking in terms of a more modern theology. He based his theology on the Einsteinian theory of relativity, proposing that God works at the speed of light. This resonated a great deal with me and helped me answer a few questions about God’s omniscience and prayer.
If God works at the speed of light then to Go everything is happening at once. “I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” Through Christ God experiences the way that WE see the world but this was not in the past, this was not something by which God was CHANGED, this was part of God, yesterday today and tomorrow. There is no question of God knowing something before it happened or predestining people for anything. God knows. There is no time scale of before and after.
This really reminded me of psalm 139:
“Before a word is on my tongue, Lord
You have known its meaning through and through
You are with me beyond my understanding
God of my present my past and future too.”
This makes sense of prayer to me. Through prayer we get a glimpse of the world at the speed of light and through the eyes of Christ. Through prayer we connect with this God who is past, present and future.
Campolo spoke about prayer and our tendency to “pray stupid” treating God like “some transcendental Santa Claus” but he had some reassurance for us, too. He said:“Don’t be afraid to pray stupid!” because that is the role of the Holy Spirit, our advocate. The Holy Spirit hears our stupid prayer and turns it into something beautiful and eloquent when God hears it.