Monday, November 05, 2007


Last Thursday I got a glimpse of "history" at the Koinonia Family Reunion concert. This event at the Factory at Franklin was a celebration of the years of ministry through the Koinonia Coffeehouse & Bookstore on Music Row. Koinonia, named after the biblical Greek term for a spiritual sense of fellowship and community, was a local manifestation of the Jesus Movement of the 1970's. Belmont Church established the venue to invite the street people and musicians (still not always easily distinguishable) to explore Truth, on a "come as you are" basis. Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith were among the artists whose music was nurtured there, and both were unannounced participants in the reunion concert.

I missed MWS's part because he provided "pre-show" music and I was merely on time (early for me). Amy, however, was part of a four-artist round and stayed through most of the evening to watch the show. She was eager to make clear that she viewed the older artists with the respect due to mentors, and downplayed her "star" status as best she could. She raised eyebrows with a comment about their relative innocence during the coffeehouse days: "Little did we know then that our best sinning was still ahead of us." I would guess the unspoken responses varied from "Amen" to "speak for yourself, Amy." But I knew what she meant.

I felt like a long-lost cousin by marriage in this "family" of artists and church members. I never actually went to Koinonia until just a few years ago, to attend a couple of concerts and participate in a couple of writers nights. The place was little more than a meeting space for Belmont Church at that point, though a space with a history. I had seen several of the artists on stage (Billy Sprague, Jim Weber) at a similar concert series in Knoxville in the 80's, called Aslan's Lair. And the time frame the event harkened back to was a little before my time. Still, I enjoyed the music and even recognized a tune here and there. More importantly, it gave me a better understanding of my own personal musical and spiritual heritage, and hopefully a little inspiration to start my own "movement" today that might just have as great an impact. Who knows, maybe I already have.

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