Origins first session

As I mentioned yesterday, live-blogging the actual sessions didn’t work out. Some of the rooms had no internet access, and the others had rows of chairs that made typing onto a laptop a particular silliness.

But I took notes, and while my notes are not entirely coherent I’ll try to piece together the vague intended prompts I jotted down and see what comes up. There were five sessions total yesterday. Erwin McManus led the main session in the morning then the conference broke up into five different forums, each with three speakers. Erwin McManus led the ending session. Going to a particular forum did not commit a person for the day. I started off with the Pioneers, listened to Dave Gibbons and Dan Kimball, then wandered over to the explorers to hear Alan and Deb Hirsch.

Here are my now likely congealed notes from the opening session, or at least my attempt to make them somewhat palatable for the blog. Before Erwin McManus spoke there were assorted other introductory announcements, and other typical entertain the troops sort of stuff. I’ll start with these, and then work my way later into the actual lectures.

“Be Here”

That was the admonishment that was included with the opening comments. Preceded by more lively “can I hear you” sort of crowd wrangling and followed by announcements and such.

Be here. In an age of blogging, and twitter, and blackberries, we have a hard time being where we are at. We all have those friends who spend wherever they are at, whoever they are with, always somewhere else with someone else–texting, cell-talking, whatever.

We are never actually here.

So, when the call was made to ‘be here’ I appreciated that. There are relationships, insights, experiences that cannot be replicated, and if in our desire to process and share we are never ‘here’ we never really are alive. Amy has mentioned one problem she has with the scrapbooking world is the fact they are always about making the scrapbook about the experiences, so much so the scrapbook yet to be is always present, but the present is never itself present.

Pastors have this bad too. They are often always elsewhere, looking past the person in front of them. Looking around. It’s a frenzy of sorts, a technological acedia where nothing matters except what is elsewhere. The consequence, of course, is the loss of real contemplation, of real absorption, of indeed real spirituality. Jesus was marked quite clearly by truly being present. He was incarnation, and not just as a theological assertion. He was incarnated into each moment, each location, truly present in a way that truly acknowledged whoever was with him. People were alive and real and valued.

“Be here.”

I found it hard to be there, honestly, in the focus on enjoying the moment sort of way. I had that outsider perspective I mentioned yesterday. But this call hit me and I tried to ‘be there’ as much as I could.

This focusing, this getting people to realize their location and purpose was, in true churchy fashion, followed immediately by an improv comedy troupe who, after asking questions from the audience, decided to improv a skit on married love while at a Washington Nationals baseball game. Yes, I know. Extremely fitting for our immediate context. It was well done, but more in a clapping sort of way than a laughing. Mood breaker #1.

Following this there was video, a documentary type video about an artist focusing on “water art”. Well, mock documentary. It was making fun of pretentious creative explorations that seem to be so common. Ha ha. It’s an emerging/missional conference… ha-ha artists are dumb! Not like us pastors with our wit and snappy ways of talking that everyone finds so important and charming!

Next there was music, a woman with a guitar on a stool, next to a man with a guitar also on a stool. She sang.

I’ve been spoiled. Amy is really good at that sort of thing. Amy has friends who are really good at that sort of thing. I thought the singer was good but a bit too affected for my tastes, too much voice modulation seeking after the edgy angsty songwriter style. Too… intentional about it. I’m not a much of a music critic though, so I’ll bow to those with better sensibilities.

Found out that this all was contributions by folks from Mosaic, a sort of intro to the world we were about to hear about.

After this, Erwin McManus came up and began to talk. I’ll get to my notes about him in the next post. For now, I’ll just add that, for whatever reason, his style and delivery reminded me quite a bit of Jeff Goldblum. I’d never noticed that before.

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