Last weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (which is a difficult thing to say, quickly, anyway), titled Survival of the Weakest, alongside other guest speakers Eugene Cho, Will Willimon, and Terry LeBlanc, among others. I spoke on behalf of XXXChurch for a youth event on Friday night, and led three porn-and-stories' related workshops throughout the day on Saturday, among others dealing with sexual exploitation, hunger, poverty, social justice, etc.
I have very much enjoyed combining spoken-word with speaking at a few of the most recent events that I've had the privilege of being involved in. At Survival of the Weakest, my role was to share my testimony with poetry interwoven where appropriate (simple enough, considering that my poetry is my testimony), with emphasis on pornography and what God has to do with it.
Part of the reason that I particularly enjoy subsequenting my poetry with an explanation for what inspired it is that I want to be helpful and lend clarity where it is needed. I am a super-fan of abstract art and appreciate creators of it that want to leave the meaning to the listener, but I have also recognized that Levi The Poet is not that kind of art project. In fact, I think LTP is its antithesis. As such is the case, I've simply resolved to strive for complete transparency and give definition to whomever asks.
Survival Of The Weakest was a Free Methodist conference, or at least, hosted by members of the denomination. To be honest, I didn't really know what that meant, and only still have an elementary understanding. Although it appears that we differ on various theological convictions (speaking for myself, not XXXChurch), I am thankful to have been involved in the dialogue, and found myself in the midst of good conversations with my hosts, hoping to be included in the future, as well. What is exciting is that the Lord is using XXXChurch to span the breadth of various theological conversations by addressing an issue that is common to the people involved in all of them. As Eugene Cho tweeted the opening night, "In Canada for an event with @xxxchurch & @levithepoet. I hate that xxxchurch is even needed but love that they are engaging real struggles." It is exciting to see Jesus work through different members of his body. I have grown to respect many men who play no favorites when it comes to the declaration of the gospel in different "denominational territories" - so to speak - and where it is possible, I want to model service toward one another within that body to the praise of our Savior's name, as well. It was an honor to have befriended new brothers and sisters in the city, both at Survival Of The Weakest with Lakeview Church, and a disconnected event at C3 Church on Sunday morning. (Though I will admit, I have wondered whether or not I might be invited back to the conference, considering a brief moment spent on sovereignty of God and complimentarian relationships!) I joke, knowing that I have the approval of one of the hosts, "If you love your wife, you're good in my book."
I do love my wife. Very much.
There is a possibility that I may return to Saskatchewan in the fall to participate in a citywide worship event, where multiple churches come to gather in Saskatoon's oldest structure - a landmark where the settler's began the construction of their vision to found a city where the light of God would shine in Canada. My involvement isn't official yet, but the conversation is open, and it would be a joy to visit again.
Until then, giver, eh?
(And that solidifies it… I'm definitely not receiving that second invite, after all.) ;-)
It was an honor. Thank you.