Brian McLaren is coming to Winnipeg next February. he'll be one of the talking heads at the Refreshing Winds Conference held at Canadian Mennonite University from Feb 3-5, 2011. in the past our church community has invited other speakers from this conference to come join our community for worship on the Sunday morning after the conference. let me tell you it kinda freaks out a worship leader on that morning if they realize that someone the calibre of John Bell is sitting amongst us as they lead worship. anyway, i just wanted to invite Brian to join us for worship on that morning, just to see if perhaps he might want to do that. i also would've pitied the homilist on that day at our community.
it was a bit of a difficult experience to find out how to contact him but there was a contact icon that i could follow off brianmclaren.net so i began with an email. Brian McLaren doesn't know me from any schmoe off the street so i had to figure out how to send an email to him that if it ended up in his spam filter he still might actually read. the contact email icon detailed that if you wanted to invite Brian to speak at your church you could contact him through his representative.
so i fired off an email.
the subject line said "i don't want you to speak, i just want you to join us for worship". i thought that the idea of having no responsibilities on a Sunday morning while he engaged in worship might be of some value to him. here's my email to Brian.
My name is Ian Fergusson and I'm a member of a small ecumenical church community called Grain of Wheat Church-Community in Winnipeg, MB Canada. I'd like to invite you to join our worship service on the Sunday morning that you're in Winnipeg speaking at the Refreshing Winds Conference on Feb 3-5, 2011. The Sunday in question would be on Feb 6/11.
We have a small group of folks who are presently going through A New Kind of Christianity and I might add that I'm enjoying it immensely.
Since you'll be in Winnipeg I was thinking that you might enjoy sitting amongst us for worship. John Bell and Marlene Kropf have both done this very thing with us in the past.
You can respond to me if you like but I just wanted to put the invite out there for you. We'll have many people at the conference that weekend anyway and if you're willing I'll make the arrangements for someone to pick you up and return you to your accommodations after worship.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you're curious I also have a blog where I've posted about you a couple times when some of your thoughts have impacted on me in the past. You could find that at www.shallowfrozenwater.blogspot.com
i didn't know if i'd ever receive a response and if i didn't i wasn't going to take it personally at all. yesterday i received a response from Brian through his representative.
Thanks, Ian - I wish I could come. Thanks for your invitation - it sounds like a great opportunity. Maybe another time! - Warmly - Brian
oh well. i still think it's cool that he took a moment to respond to me personally. he won't be able to join us for worship but still it was appreciated that he considered the offer.
Brian, if you ever read this ... you missed out buddy. i'm still planning on attending the conference so i'll probably mention this interaction to you at that time if i can get anywhere near you.
at any rate, i just appreciate the man and how he has helped me make a little more sense of how i'm viewing my faith. it's not about hero worship or whatever, i just appreciate how the man thinks and i'm willing to debate those areas where we disagree or agree.
so, i emailed Brian McLaren and he was thoughtful enough to respond. cool and peace to you my brother.