I'm sitting in class (yes, in class), and we're talking about how music is involved in our being missional. I'm hearing people suggest that what we need to do to engage missionally with secular music is to listen to secular music; to speak the gospel in the language of that culture; to be daring enough to wear clericals to a rock concert, etc.
And I just had a memory of a Saturday night worship service when I was in high school, at a youth conference. During testimonials, two peer ministers got up and confessed to the rest of us that when they'd left the night before for a rock concert, they'd decided to put their peer ministry crosses inside their shirts. (Peer ministers wore big wooden crosses so they could be identified - actually they looked a lot like pectoral crosses that bishops wear.) They talked about why they did it, their shame in wearing the crosses and then their shame in hiding them, and then wondered about the witness they might have given if they'd had the guts to wear them outside their shirts. (We probably also talked a lot that weekend about using rock music for Christian messages, about seeing the spiritual messages in rock music, etc. Those conversations were really common at these gatherings.)
And now I'm wondering: What does it mean that ten years later I'm sitting in seminary having almost exactly the same conversation? Are we coming up with decent ideas that we're just still not acting on (and then why not)? Or are we coming up with the same ideas that sound fresh but just aren't working - and then what else is there instead? Either way, it sounds to me like the conversation has gone stagnant, and I'm very aware that I'm not helping that at all.