Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Young Lions

I went to the Young Lions Conference in Ruston, LA this past weekend. It was definitely outside of my comfort zone! This was an unmistakably and unashamedly charismatic/Pentecostal event: exactly the kind of thing I had sworn I'd never attend again. I had been there, done that, gotten the tee shirts... and gotten hurt.

I went mostly because I knew that there would be some "edgy," modern, intense praise & worship... something I knew I would enjoy. I was also looking forward to being someplace where no one knew me, where I didn't have any expectations to live up to and didn't have to worry about what people were thinking. 

But I also went at least partly out of curiosity. When you get hurt, you naturally try to avoid the things and places that caused the pain. You build walls and hide inside of them. The thing is, it can get pretty dry and stale inside a fortress... and sometimes there's little difference between a fortress and a prison. So I was curious. I wanted to see what was on the other side of the walls. I wondered if it might be safe to come out. 

Going to something called the "Young Lions Conference" and feeling a little nervous, I couldn't help but think of CS Lewis and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. When the children are about to meet Aslan for the first time, they have a few questions:

"You'll understand when you see him."

"But shall we see him?" asked Susan.

"Why Daughter of Eve, that's what I brought you here for. I'm to lead you where you shall meet him," said Mr. Beaver.

"Is - is he a man?" asked Lucy.

"Aslan a man?" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion."

"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and make no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" asked Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.

That's how the conference was for me. It wasn't safe, but it was definitely good :) I met the Lion of Judah in a way that I hadn't before, and there are some things that I'll just never be able to look at the same way!