i’m home from camping, overly ready for a shower, ready to pack and sleep and catch a 6:30am flight tomorrow to nashvegas for the last emergent convention. i believe this event will re-emerge, and will be stronger for having done so (i’m hoping it’s a metamorphosis — nothing wrong with a caterpillar, it’s just that what follows is, in many senses, better).
the emergent convention has been a true labor of love for four years (including the planning time before the first one). serving it and nurturing it and coaxing it has been one of the harder and most enjoyable things in my life. i hope to be involved, in some way, in whatever re-emerges (in 07?) — or, at the very least, attend. but my time as host is ending. i’m not writing this to ask for thanks or sympathy or anything else. it’s just that this coming week will be very bittersweet for me: full of more wonderful friends, new and old, than i’ll be able to spend time with; full of inquiry and new questions; full of opportunities to encourage those slugging it out in the trenches of the emerging church. and, for me (and maybe only a few others?), full of a keen awareness that we won’t be “here” again (“here” can be defined in multiple ways).
not that things should stay “here”. they shouldn’t. and it’s absolutely the right time for emergent (or some collective of friends) to take this baby and run with it. i think those of us who have been at the core of planning for the past three years have seen the value of the event being tied to an organization (institution?) like YS for this phase of its life. it needed initial structure and, even, services that would have been difficult otherwise. but now there’s great momentum (i’m not claiming responsibility, in good or bad ways, for the momentum of the emerging church movement; just some responsibility, good and bad, for the momentum of a national event with this focus).
and what a way to go out. this week is pregnant with the possibility of being the best one we’ve ever hosted. and it’s fresh with some new experimentation that could prove wonderful or frustrating — but, either way, helpful to future events.
if you’ve read other posts on my blog about my year, you know i’ve become an emotional wad of something (not sure what word to use) lately — at least compared to who i was 18 months ago (shoot, my son and i saw Will Farrell’s new movie — Kicking and Screaming — today, and i cried!). So i anticipate a few choked-up moments. Just knowing i’m losing my prime excuse for seeing people who’ve become such valued friends on a regular basis is enough to make this bittersweet.
but i’m ready to enjoy the time and embrace this truly lovely and noble gathering one more time.
geez. that was dramatic. sorry.