nywc pittsburgh, saturday morning

whew — the convention is going great, but i’m already totally wiped out! i’m not doing a good job of disciplining myself to get to bed at a reasonable time (like, midnight would be reasonable at a convention, and, instead, it’s been 1:30 – 2:30 for me). i’ve been enjoying hanging with friends old and new, but need to say goodnight a bit earlier tonite and tomorrow night.

so, the convention. yeah. i’m not a big fan of the pittsburgh convention center. the location is great, and the layout is ok, but the general session room is really not great. the whole ceiling is transparent, and — while they have some material that semi-blocks it off — the room can’t be made dark during the day. and the acoustics are so bouncy in there. anyhow, i can just see how these little environmental issues really do make a difference in the attendees ability to engage. our first session yesterday, while good, really felt like people were struggling to engage.

we had a band in the first session i’d never heard of before: newworldson. very bluesy, with tons of gospel and funk thrown in. very unique, in a good way. and the guys are serious musicians.

pilivachi spoke in the first session and brought it. nice opening to the event. then starfield led us in singing. i’ve always enjoyed starfield, and really like the guys in the band, but feel they’ve seriously stepped it up this year.

busy afternoon for me, with a seminar and a dinner appointment. but a highlight of my day was the evening session. this was the one where we had three speakers, each with a format of:
– intro (by a host)
– 18 minute talk (with a clock on the screen, so everyone knows how much time is left)
– 8 mins of unstructured discussion in groups
– 8 mins of Q&A with the speaker, using questions that were texted in from the audience, and put on the screens.

two of the speakers rocked it. andrew marin again. then, i hosted dr. soong-chan rah, a professor from north park seminary. dr. rah was the whistle blower who outed ys when we blew it by publishing some racially offensive stuff a couple years ago. he became a bit of a short-term mentor for me, helping me through that time of response (he did this bluntly and honestly, but with grace and forgiveness). i asked soong-chan to talk about race and the church last night — dude is prophetic. he asked, before hand, if it was ok to push some buttons, and i told him to go for it. he pushed. but in a gracious way, i felt – he wasn’t the angry guy.

anyhow, i thought the whole evening was great. now, i just need to start getting more sleep!

11 thoughts on “nywc pittsburgh, saturday morning”

  1. Dude, totally agree about the convention center…the layout is a little rough and I did struggle just a bit, but I think it may be the two stage set up and seat layout a bit as well-just gonna take some getting used to for me.

    I totally agree about last night’s session as well, in fact I was going to blog it too, but was just too tired to finish it. I’ll have to admit, some of my buttons were pushed, but it was in a good way. It’s okay to be uncomfortable sometimes. The guys who are with me though really struggled with the session-not because of the format, but becuase of culturally where we are from this is ALL new to them and there are just some things they need to wrestle with. I talked it through with them though and they both agreed to let it just sit and be okay with disagreeing, but not to let it ruin the convention for them and to realize that while we may differ in some ways on our faith journeys we all serve the same God and have the same mission.

    Thanks for the great conference so far-TRY TO GET A LITTLE REST IF POSSIBLE. btw great getting to say hey in passing by. Talk to ya man!

  2. totally agree about the evening session, marko. andrew & dr. rah both knocked it out of the park. i hope that people who were new to some of these concepts didn’t feel too overwhelmed. between the two of them, it was a lot to process. but soooo worth the effort. great choices & great format.

  3. Don’t know if you caught the irony, but after a great talk on racism from an Asian man and how it’s affected him, we had a half-Asian comic today poking fun at his Asian mom’s driving, doing an exaggerated voice to boot.

    My row sort of agreed we didn’t know if we were allowed to laugh or not.

  4. I actually found the Ninja video tonight more offensive then the comments about chinese food.

    Do we just continue to bring down others to make ourselves feel better?

    Is there no other way to be funny then to drop race in it somehow?

    … Another Asian guy at the conference.

  5. tony — man, that was SO awkward! i was dying. i heard the same from many others.

    jessiah — i’m sorry, i didn’t see the video you’re referring to, but i’ll certainly be looking into it.

  6. The convention center is wicked loud when bands play, but when they allow us to sing a capella the convention center’s acoustics make those moments magnificent. Plus, my parents live 20 minutes outside the city so we can drop the kids there and have a free place to stay for the weekend. I LOVE PITTSBURGH!!!!!

  7. About the convention center: I agree with your assessment but Aaron was correct about the a capella worship — it totally ROCKED! Anyway, I’ve been to 5 conventions in 5 different cities (Cincinatti, Atlanta, St. Louis, Nashville, Pittsburgh) and we LOVED the Pittsburgh one the most! The city was beautiful and we had some phenomenal meals during our stay (within walking distance!). I LOVE PITTSBURGH, too!

  8. Does anyone remember the older white lady who spoke at this conference? I think she was a professor, or at least spoke like one. She was so interesting and I’ve been wanting to look her up but can’t remember her name. I think it might have been Anna or Nina or Eva or something like that?

  9. I’m guessing you mean Phyllis Tickle. Sadly, she passed away several years ago. Look for her books on amazon – she was a genius writer.

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