I am a bit stupid. Why would Bill Hybels and Rick Warren want to turn up and speak at a Baptist Church in Stafford? But quite genuinely, incredulous readers, this is what I expected when told I was attending a Willow Creek Global leaders' Summit with our staff team. The penny slowly dropped that this was going to be two days watching videos about halfway through the opening remarks by the organiser.
But first. Do you not think that calling the arrival desk 'Registration Solutions' was a red rag to a bull, especially if the bull arrived armed only with cynicism? Well I do.
That aside, I have taken a few days to assimilate because my reaction at the end of any live event (even big screen live) is usually that it was good to be there. Only after a few hours, or over-night, do I begin to take it all in and realise if I have been helped or duped. So what's the score?
AOR worship led by a highly competent band. I knew one of the nineteen songs we sang. Percussionist was ace. I can recall almost nothing that I sang and did not wake the next day with a new song on my lips.
Anyone buying Purpose Driven Life should not consider reading it until they have heard Rick Warren speak. The guy can speak. Even though the book has made him wealthy (and he has given 90% of the money away) I remain of the opinion that it is badly written, but if you can hear him saying it, the stuff gains conviction. He is a purpose driven man. I even heard him say, 'No-one is going to out-sacrifice me.'
The Bible was used poorly. By and large these people attach their stories of what they think God is doing now, to Bible passages. They don't expound the Bible.
Best organised conference I ever went to. Brilliantly hosted by Rising Brook Baptist Church.
The speakers I warmed to were ones who had achieved success out in the non-church world - the President of SW Airlines, a sports psychologist, a management coach. Why do I find it so much more attractive listening to secular people transferring their success stories to church rather than vice versa? Is this the vaguest hintette of an impresion that I should take my alleged Christianity out into the market place and let it influence me there? I certainly felt the rebuke that in churches we don't give enough clout to people who have business skills.
By and large I felt a bit Chinese mealed - great fun to eat but soon I fancied another one. Perversely I also felt I would like to speak to their audience about what I am doing.
So there we have the post. Not funny and not furious. Currently these are the thoughts and ramblings of a crazy mixed up kid.
More when it isn't my day off. We're off to see the Alabama 3 again, this time at the university.