another wonderful day yesterday. i’m really cooked this morning, though. when i finally got to sleep last night (about 1am), i couldn’t fall asleep, which was extremely annoying. just laying there, worn out and tired, but not sleeping. then i was awake in the middle of the night for a half hour also. so this morning: knackered (as my brit friends would say). i have a good break late this afternoon, though, when i might try to sneek in a nap.
my highlight and lowpoint yesterday were within minutes of each other. and the lowpoint wasn’t really a big deal in the long-range scheme of things. the highlight was phyllis tickle’s talk in the morning general session. she just hit it out of the park (really, if you’re not at the convention, i strongly suggest getting the dvd – or, the mp3, but the dvd would be better so you can see her, and see the whiteboard illustration she drew). phyllis talked about “the great emergence”, the change in religion and christianity happening now, which is the latest in a series of massive changes in christianity that have come every 500 years. i’ve heard her touch on this before (and it’s the content of a book she’s writing for the emergence line, with baker and emergent village), but this was the first time i’d heard it totally unpacked. wow. part of what blew me away was how gracious her explanation was to those who would resist such a shift. she talked about the four quadrants of christianity (liturgicals, social actions, (i’m forgetting the word for the third one, but it was pentecostals), and conservatives (i think that was the word — she was certainly referring to non-charismatic conservative evangelicals), and how this swirl of combination was emerging in the middle of all of that. but she also talked about how, as the emerging “rose” in the middle gains momentum, there will – of course – be a pulling back by some percentage in each of those quadrants, who want to keep the purity of their system. this pulling back (and criticism, and distancing) is necessary and good — it keeps the center in the center, keeps the emerging thing from going off into weirdness. it acts as a balance or counter-weight.
anyhow, phyllis turned the whole thing in the last few minutes to a point that had me in tears (and i looked to tic, and he was in tears also), as she talked about the role that we all (in the room) play in this; the precious gift we’re being given, the responsibility we have to the next 500 years. wow.
the audience gave her a standing ovation, which was beautiful. she stepped down off the stage, and tic went up to say a few transition things and introduce chris tomlin. in the moment, as i was waiting to walk her back to the green room, a few people started coming up to her to say something. the very first guy was a large and loud guy who started blasting her: i mean, really, as chris’ music started, he was yelling at her (some volume on his part was necessary due to the music in the room — but he was filled with anger, so it came out as yelling, not loud talking). his first accusation was that she didn’t stand for the authority of scripture. phyllis politely responded, “oh, if you didn’t hear me talk about the authority of scripture, then i really miscommunicated” (i noticed how she took it on herself, instead of merely correcting him). i stepped in and tried to remind the guy about a point where she had specifically talked about the authority of scripture. but he really didn’t want to hear answers or responses; he was ticked. and he was so completely out of line and inappropriate in how he yelled at her. after a minute (maybe less), i stepped in, and tony myles (who blogged about this here) was my wingman, engaging phyllis, then the guy. in that moment, i told him how completely out of line he was. he pushed back (angrily) with a question about scripture, and i told him his questions were fine, ask away, but that yelling at a 74 year-old woman after she’s just finished speaking to us from her heart is what was so inappropriate. i think i said, “didn’t your mom ever teach you anything?”
i value disagreement. i don’t need everyone who attends these events to like the speakers i like and not like those i struggle with. but the angry yelling, and the horrible timing. ugh.
anyhow. between phyllis’ wonderful talk, michelle’s beautiful story (a compassion child from the philippines, now an adult, who shared her journey, totally slaying me yet again and leaving me choking on tears and words in front of 5500 people), louie giglio’s talk last night, worship with tomlin, headbanging with family force five, and many other gifts, it was a great day.
except the yeller. oh, and except for how completely crappy michigan played yesterday against ohio state. let’s not talk about that.