the convention seems to be going great. have had so many meaningful conversations with wonderful people here — both private meetings and shorter hallway conversations. had my first primanti’s sandwich today — apparently a pittsburgh delicacy (a sort-of cheesesteak with fries and cole slaw in the sandwich). it tasted like a fun local thing made of bland filler and really thick wonder bread — but there was a certain “schtick” to the whole experience that was certainly fun.
so far, the general session talks have been mark yaconelli, doug fields and denise van eck — all of whom did a great job. interesting, all three of them brought what i would consider a challenge, rather than a message of encouragement (they were all encouraging, but their primary messages were more prophetic): mark talked about decreasing, and about really “seeing” our kids in the way that jesus saw people; doug talked about saying no to things (just kick my butt all over pittsburgh); and denise talked about “owning our stuff” as opposed to pushing it under the surface and hoping it will go away (comparing david and saul).
crowder’s been as fantastic as always. jars of clay did a short set — i love these guys because they are one of the few bands we have who truly understand who the audience is (youth workers) and love of them in a brilliantly unpretentious way. and there was a band i’d never heard of (i can’t remember their name!) who were just a kick — i laughed through much of their set, but not “at” them as much as because of them. the skit guys have absolutely nailed it this year.
the one life experience (an interactive “museum piece” experience of AIDS in africa, featuring the real-life stories of four children) is truly amazing, and has long lines of people wanting to go through it.
one tiny fun thing: i forgot my name badge one day when i went to the convention center. and i need one to get around in the back hallways. so i asked our reg queen to make me a new one. she made me an all access pass that just has “EL DORKO” for my name. it creates interesting conversations in the elevators and healthy laughs from the convention center staff.