ah, this is my slower day. yesterday was wonderful, but insane. critical concerns course first thing, then (while my ccc co-presenter finished up) i attended the closing session of the HERstory event. jeanne stevens gave a fantastic talk about being created as a woman and what that means. really, it was a talk by a woman for a woman; but i do feel (as does she) that this message is part of jeanne’s calling.
i had a quick lunch with eli ruggles, just to get to know him. then it was off to the opening general session (always one of my favorite moments of the convention). great energy with 5000 people here. i botched up andy stanley’s intro a little bit: i was trying to talk about his humility and desire to learn (in the wake of the negative experience we’d had last time he spoke for us). but i used the words “humility and teachability”, which, tic told me, made it sound like i was putting myself in the role of being andy’s teacher. that wasn’t my intent, so i’m bummed if i communicated that. anyhow. andy did a great job, i thought, and brought a challenging thought (as he tends to do) about how we use our power. i was wondering how many people were resisting the notion that they have power, and dismissing andy’s thoughts; but i think he did a great job of establishing how often a youth worker is “the most powerful person in the room” (when you’re with a group of students, when you’re with parents who are seeking input, etc). the whole first session went well, i thought.
i ran off to teach (with mark riddle) my seminar called “the expectations that killed the youth worker.” big crowd this time (in a room that, i swear, was both in a different zip code than the rest of the convention, and up so many stairs i thought we’d be in some sort of flight path). and, after botching this seminar in SD, re-writing it and doing ok in STL, i felt like mark and i finally got comfortable with the material and the flow, and did a good job (so, if anyone gets the mp3 of this seminar, be SURE to order the ATL one, not the others!). i think it’s an affirming seminar for people who are hurting, or experiencing tension at their churches, as well as a practical seminar with actual help.
i ran off to dinner with randy hall, the pres of studentlife (mmmm. we went to mccormick & schmick’s, and i had cashew-encrusted talapia). good catching up and evaluation of the ways we’re partnering (and the ways we’re not doing that as well as we could).
straight back to the evening session. third day (stylistically, not my cupa) seemed to do a great job, and really connected. i love it when bands who perform clearly know our audience, and don’t just think this is like any other churchy audience. mac – the lead singer – talked warmly and, oh, like a peer, i guess, to the youth workers. after i introduced shane claiborne, i had to leave for a video interview. i left right after he breathed fire, did a back flip, and put the flaming torch out in his mouth. i thought all of that was extremely odd for shane — he’s not a showy guy. then he said, “i’m going to give the best sermon ever” (or something like that), and started reading the sermon on the mount. this is when i left.
later, in my suite, i read online and talked to people who came up to hang out, that shane continued reading. he read the entire sermon on the mount, said “amen”, and sat down. i have to admit, my first response wasn’t overly positive. i mean, i was thinking that it was a “good point”, but, that, i wasn’t even sure i liked someone using the bible to make that point (like, it was a manipulative use of the bible). i thought, we brought a guy in to read scripture (marquis laughlin). and, really, ALL of us can read scripture. and that’s wonderful. we brought shane in because he has a unique story and message. HOWEVER, i think (while i’m sure that thought went through many of the heads in the room) i was having that reaction because i wasn’t there. the more people i talked to, the more reported to me what a powerful message it was. i’ve seen it mentioned, so far, on about 4 blogs, and they’ve all been positive. a few people who came up to my suite last night (my brother-in-law and nephew in particular) we rocked by it. interesting. now i wish i could have stayed! i heard that tic long did a great job wrapping it up, giving some space for silence, naming some things people would have been thinking, and praying.
after a video interview (scott rubin and i got interviewed about our middle school books), i hung out and chatted with a wonderfully eclectic group of people in my suite, and forced myself to bed at 1am.
today: two general sessions, a couple meetings, no seminars (to present), and the UofM/OSU game!