Tag Archives: Lion and Lamb Festival

Music, Art, and Speakers for Peace, Justice, and Hope

The fourth Lion and Lamb Festival is coming back to the Quad Cities on September 17, 2016. Musicians, artists, and speakers are coming together for a full day of inspiration. From its inception, the Lion and Lamb Festival has endeavored to bring people together to talk, learn, sing, and grow together. Its purpose is to create community, and to encourage people to put their faith into action. At its foundation is a love of Christ, and a belief that faith should matter to people. Faith in a God of love, justice, and mercy should inspire people to take action. We are called to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.

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I’ve been to every Lion and Lamb Festival, and without exception, what I remember most is friendships. At each one, I met extraordinary people. I met authors, musicians, parents, and people of faith who are growing. I met people who wanted to experience the world, and make a difference. I’ve created lasting friendships with people I met at Lion and Lamb Festival, and that is why its happening again this year. We want to create a place where people can come together and connect to each other and to God’s higher purpose on all of our lives.

In September, we will gather at Camp Milan Retreat Center for the second time. Camp Milan is a part of the Quad Cities, only a few miles from Moline and Rock Island. There will be a full day of concerts on an outdoor stage. A large grassy area is shaded by huge oaks. There is a small playground for kids and volunteers will lead kids activities inside, too. There’s even a basketball court to blow off a little energy. Local food trucks will be invited to provide great meals and sweet treats. Inside  the retreat center, speakers will share their stories. They will talk about their work, their service, and their ministry. Artists will be given a chance to talk about their inspiration and sell their work.

The Lion and Lamb Festival is named for a part of Scripture where Isaiah describes a time when peace will transcend even the natural laws. There will be a day when swords will be beaten into plows, and even mortal enemies will lie down together. The Lion and Lamb Festival looks forward to this promise knowing that the arts are our best way to get there. The arts are a way for people to be connected, and to imagine a future of peace. Creators, dreams, and those who believe that music and art can change the world, you are invited to come and be a part of something. It’s not something big – at least not yet – but it can be something great.

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Live from #LionLamb13

At some point tonight, I’m going to go to sleep.  When I do, I will sleep well.  Not yet though.  First, I have to stop my head from spinning.  I’m not sure how to explain all that happened today at the Lion and Lamb Festival.  I think the only way I can tell you about it is by telling you a story about my little girls.

Within minutes of arriving at Praise Park in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we were greeted by two little girls.  Age six and five, they were delighted to see my two daughters, age six and three.  The four of them became friends immediately, achieving immediate intimacy in a relationship in a way that only children can.  The four spent most of the day together.  “I’m in first grade too!”  They worked on crafts together.  “I like to color too!”  They ran and danced and played together.  “I like soccer too!”  They relished in learning about each other, and sharing the things they loved in an unbridled and unpretentious way.  For a six-year-old, there is no such thing as idle small talk.  There is only genuine discovery.

As a cool breeze slowly transformed the sweltering day into a perfectly pleasant evening, the girls paused for a snack.  They sat on a bed sheet in the field as Amy Cox played on the stage.  I discovered Amy on the Lion and Lamb’s youtube channel.  She was one of many musicians I had been looking forward to hearing.  As she played, I watched as the group of four girls started to grow.  The little community they created expanded.  Soon there were two more girls, and now there were two boys.  They were coloring.  They were looking at the Star Wars books we brought.  They were sharing cookies and apples.  They were dancing.  At this little group of children sat in a circle too perfect to have been planned by any parent.  They each had an apple, and all were dancing as Amy played.

While Amy was playing her beautiful song, “The Table,” which I included in a video below, one of the girls noticed something out of place.  There was another little girl just a few feet away.  She left the circle, tapped the girl on the shoulder and asked her to come play too.

In this moment, the Table was not a table at all.  It was a bed sheet spread on the ground.  There was no bread and wine.  There were apples, and grapes, and pretzels, and there was more than enough to share.  There were soccer balls, and a big field in which to run.  There was music in the air, and a Spirit calling the children to dance.

Lion and Lamb is not an event.  It is a community.  It is a community of people, spreading out a bed sheet, trying to figure out how to invite people to come, have an apple, and play.

It is Erica, a poet who spit her rhymes with a rawness that made me at one moment cringe, at one moment laugh, and at another moment make me bask God’s melody of creation.  She challenged me to step out to use art to proclaim peace and justice, and taught me a new word: artivism.  She inspired me to sit and try to write a poem.  I was shocked, and a little afraid, at what came flowing out of my pen.

It is Bruce, an author, an Asian man, a father, and a grandson of a woman who did not know where to sit in a bus in Little Rock Arkansas because she was not black, but did not see herself as white either.  He taught me another new word, microaggression.

It is Lorelei, who is training women to empower themselves and their communities in business.

It is Richard, a musician who is looking for songs that express a deeper understanding of God, and urges worship leaders to move beyond cliche and rote expressions of religiosity.

It is Rachel, a blogger and author who I admire and encouraged me to find my own voice by listening.  In her talk she challenged “preachers who want to be the next Rob Bell, and writers who want to be the next…” and didn’t fill in the blank, ONLY TWO DAYS AFTER I WROTE THIS: “Can I be the next Rachel Held Evans? Do I even want to be?

Tomorrow I am going to step into the speakers tent, and I am going to offer my voice.  I have already been changed by this community.  The plans I had for the talk I will give have changed too.  Right now I have no idea what I am going to say.  All I am going to do is throw open a sheet, take out a bag of apples, and share Christ’s love with anyone willing to play.

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Lion and Lamb Festival

lion lambHeatherlyn, Amy Cox, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Andrew Peterson.  These are not household names, but I’ve spent the last few weeks listening to them on the Lion and Lamb Festival Youtube and Facebook pages.

They are wonderful, original artists, and I am looking forward to spending two days with them, and with the rest of the Lion and Lamb Festival community.  For two days over Labor Day Weekend, I will be in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Lion and Lamb Festival.  I am one of a group of speakers, artists, and musicians that are coming together for worship, conversation, and community.

The mission of the Lion and Lamb Festival is to build a “community of hope gathering to share gifts, inspire authentic conversation, and passionately follow God in the world.”  As I read through the list of speakers, I am humbled by my own inclusion.  The gathering speakers are people doing the hard work of justice in the world.  They are an inspiring group of people, and I feel so honored to be a part of it all.

Rachel_Held_Evans_t580The keynote speaker of the event is Rachel Held Evans, whose writing I admire greatly.  She is speaking three times at the festival.  On Saturday she is a part of a “Conversation on Millenials and the Church.”  Later that evening she is a part of the main gathering.  On Sunday she is sitting down for a Q and A about her book “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”  This is a remarkable book, which I blogged about once.  One of the highlights of my blogging career was when she started following me on Twitter, and retweeted the link to my post.  Imagine then, my excitement to find out that my time slot on Sunday comes on the same stage, immediately after her.  

I am looking forward to this festival for so many reasons.  It is going to include some of my favorite things in this world.  I will be there with my family, camping away from home for first time.  We will listen to inspiring live music.  We will soak up the energy of powerful leaders.  I will have a chance to tell my story to a new audience.  Above all, we will build community.  We will create relationships.

It is going to be an exciting two days.  And I want you to come along.  I have two free passes to the Festival.  If you want to go, let me know in the comments section or on my Facebook page.  Every name that comments (with a valid email address on this page, or on the Facebook page) before Monday, August 19 will be put into a hat.  I’ll draw the winning name on Monday, and post it with a new blog post.

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