It’s been a busy week. Besides the wedding thing, I also attended the The Church Basement Roadshow: A Rollin’ Gospel Revival at Lockerbie Central.

Dragging some members of Team Broaddus along, I got a chance to hang out (and by “hang out” I mean they made Lauren and I dress up) with Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, and Mark A. Scandrette who have been touring the country in a friend’s RV to talk about their latest books. To do so in an original way, they put together a 90 minute show where they connect themselves to alter egos who existed in 1908.

A hundred years ago was another time of great innovation and change, a time of ideas and questions. Technology was changing rapidly with advances in transportation and communication. Science was moving far faster than we could figure out its ramifications. Sixty per cent of the wealth in the country was controlled by two per cent of the population.

And people were trying to figure out how the historic Christian faith met the contemporary society.

Dressing up as old-time revivalists, they presented a simple message. There are moments when we feel our souls wake up, that starts us on a path to … something. We react to a realization that God is active in the world and we are out of sync with His agenda. We long for a real encounter with God, a relational connection, yet we’re often force-fed a “one size fits all” brand of faith. So we’re left to wonder what to do with our faith questions and thoughts about God if they don’t fit into the mold so often presented to us.

Part beat poetry, part tent revival, part story-telling circle, the crowd—used to manipulative, overwrought sales pitch type presentations—got into the irony of the revival meeting. So maybe using campy elements were a good way to touch folks too jaded for their own good.

I loved the selling of the “Balm of Gilead” snake oil, though I was the victim of an amateur anointing. (On the positive side, there were these junior high school kids who asked if the balm really worked. I told them “yeah, it cured me of my whiteness.”) Plus I got to rock my new Alex Ross designed Obama T-shirt.

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