emergent reality

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May 262004

reality check about online communication, Emergent, and journalism: with great events like Emergent Convention now running twice annually and bi-coastal [special thanks to all the people who put lots of time and energy into planning and working it, I know how much it takes to put together small events for under 100 just by myself and a few others, would imagine the Herculean task of pulling off an EC Nashville], there comes a wide barrage of feedback, more on the negative side than the positive, and that is part of the deal with how feedback works; the people who enjoy an event often don’t say much more than a curt thanks, while those who are concerned and passionate for something often have much to say..

when it comes to online communication, I’m finding out myself personally, as well as reading blogs, that perception of the reader reigns supreme, unfortunately.. what helps those who communicate virtually (via blog, email, IM, msg board, chat room) is the latitude that the readers give to the writer (author) more freedom to use words loosely, rather than to react to every word or thought expressed online.. if an author wanted to be offensive, s/he could certainly use language to convey more venom and heat (aka flame), BUT if an author is venting or embellishing or wondering-out-loud, the readers need not take it personally or react correctively.. words only convey 20% or so of the authorial intent, communication experts say.. so let the readers beware..

now, as for Emergent, it’s really a small spark of a thing, in the landscape of things.. maybe a dozen or so published, but believe you me, you’d be surprised to hear what actual sales are for even the leading title.. I’m not permitted to say what I’ve heard off-the-record, but it’s far from epic proportion.. same thing with blogs and blogging, even for a progressive crowd like the EC Nashville mix, I was more often confronted with the question “what’s a blog” than welcomed as a veteran blogger.. and there’s something that just makes a guy wince and cringe, when a woman uses the word small with an accompanying hand gesture to describe the reality of how small the emergent conversation really is..

and, as blogging has some similarity to journaling, and journalism, good news isn’t much news, for some reason perhaps connected to our depravity, people prefer to read bad news, hear salient rants and opinions, tune in to sensational exclusives and scoops.. saying happy and positive things is flat and saccharine and borders on boring.

firmware update

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May 242004

while waiting for my Treo 600 updater 1.13 to install, I get a few extra moments to catch up on my blog-reading habit via my web-based Bloglines RSS reader, and then I gotta make the morning commute into the office.. a few blogs were updated upon return to home after the Nashville pilgrimage, and Aiden rightly observed that us blogger types are good at critiquing/whining/complaining about the things that are wrong, and by implication, aren’t as quick to affirming what’s right and good and useful; great at asking questions, but giving out answers not so much.. somewhat descriptive of the modern/postmodern transition, yes? :)

back at base

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May 222004

now at my desktop PC in my basement corner, where some of my online activities from home, my son Jeremiah and 2 of his buddies are playing together and we’re hosting a sleepover for ‘em all.. returned on the same flight back from Nashville, with the McLarens and another Cedar Ridger, Ken Archer, and a few other conventioneers on same flight.. had 2 flight announcements sung to us (only on Nashville flights?)

discovered a new conference-going technique on my closing day at EC: I’ll call it (for lack of a better term) serial seminaring. I walked into seminars for a minute or two, capture the idea being unpacked, go to the next concurrent seminar, repeat. Each seminar usu has a speaker unpacking basically 1 idea, and in 2 minutes or so, (some of) you can get its essence.. so in less than 15 minutes, I caught 7 ideas, instead of just 1.. sweet..

2 impacts I sensed at EC Nashville: (1) women leaders were empowered, and (2) bloggers were empowered. You can read about the women’s breakfast at other blogs, I hope to link ‘em up later, Jonny’s summary is beautiful; and bloggers were kindly acknowledged by Announcement Boy (aka Mark O) as the means to continue the conversations that were started, as the EC website linked up about a dozen bloggers who chronicled at EC..

overheard: (1) attendance at EC Nashville was a little less than EC San Diego, which had 750 or so [both NPC + EC ?]; (2) Nashville is a much better venue b/c you can walk right out from the event site to a variety of restaurants, bars, museums, etc., and doesn’t require getting a rental car or bummin’ a ride; “Godfather” says even if they had “it” there for the next 10 years, it’d be a fun gig b/c there’s so much to discover; (3) rib eating tip, observed by “Godfather”: hold the ribs with wrists up, above the ribs [picture: hands positioned like touch typing], rip the meat off the ribs, enjoy a full rack..

EC part 8

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May 222004

thrilled to have enjoyed dinner conversations with a colleage and Andy Crouch last night.. a majority of our time delved into the exchange that was triggered here at this very blog about the 5 perspectives about emerging church book, so it felt like a good follow-through.. much of the conversation that hour or so is off-the-record, and with our respective vested interests (in terms of organizations and titles and perceived expectations by others for our ‘public’ voice and persona), I feel I need to refrain from revealing other salient details.. now if Andy were to blog about it, that’d be another thing.. but I can speak for myself, and that from the conversation, I was able to articulate a little more of my concept of multi-churching and how I embrace and engage a wide variety of Christian faith expressions, be it high church liturgy, edgy postmodern visual experiential unpolished style, typical contemporary evangelical, thoughtfully nuanced cognitive systematic teachings, and even an occasional Orthodox fix..

[this is worth more cogent description, but this being a blog, and I've got other things to attend to, I'll just make a mention and bookmark my thought about it here]

my first veejay gig went okay.. we wrestled with huge technical difficulties trying to get the Mac with the projector and switch, it was an embarrassing moment for them Mac fanatics; he even asked for the door to be closed during setup, while we struggled to corral the Mac to play along with the other technical equipment, but true to Mac form, it wants to be in its own elitest world [yes, I'm stirring the caldroun of the ol' PC vs. Mac debate].. I’ll give the Mac people this: that we do hear of those who switch from PC to Mac, but not really those who go from Mac to PC..

EC part 7

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May 212004

some of the best conversations (and content, for those of you who like that category and label) happen outside of the official program.. [and looks like some of the best blogging happens off-site, especially when there's NO WIFI at the event!] I was outside of the seminar rooms most of today, and hung out with the peoples.. opted out of the 1:30pm seminar, b/c it was almost 2, and it dawned on me that it would’ve taken me the first 30 minutes to get acclimated to a British accent (aka Queen’s English) that I’d miss whatever else is pitched, then saw Spencer coming up on the escalator while I was on the down escalator, opted out, made a U-turn back up, hung out with him for a while at the author’s nook (there’s a portion of the hotel lobby by the restaurant where many authors, and publisher types, seem to be graviting towards for those power conversations, not that ours was), and we dreamed… we dreamed.. and dreamed some more. We aren’t ready for the reveal just yet, the idea gots ta have some time to incubate and develop..

tech tip of the day, courtesy Michael Toy: Mozilla Firefox has a great feature called “keyword bookmark”, I’ll have to try that out when I get back to my pc.. (I am switching over from MSIE, for the tabbed browsing and find-as-you-type)

just got on the laptop at the digital lounge after Cheryl Glen, clearing out an annoying and almost offensive default browser home page (that’s the problem with these shared terminals, with users that inadvertently clicked where they shouldn’t), and after our dialogue, she will soon be enabling an RSS feed.. look forward to it!

digital lifeline

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May 212004

someone handed me a lifeline a few minutes ago, and now it’s 1:25pm and I’m debating with self in my head, whether to pull away and get to a 1:30pm seminar, or stay here a little longer, to fuel digital bits and bytes let ‘em flow for a few more minutes.. and then when I disconnect from this 100mbps cnx, do I go to Will Willimon again, or sit in with Dave Tomlinson, or Erwin McManus, or someone else? decisions, decisions.. okay, be default, I’ll stay connected a lil’ longer – prefer the challenge of catching part of a conversation or presentation, than to be there whole deal, with slow introductions and meanderings..

my lunch time experiment went a little ways, saw about 15 or 20 conventioneers make their way across the street (can you hear it now: why did the Emergent attenders cross the street?), so 5 text messages an hour before the free lunch venue, plus a little word of mouth, did get some quick spread and some fuller tummies.. found out a few mins ago that one of the text msgs got truncated — all’s she got was “fre”, instead of “free lunch and details…”

they’re charging $2 more for CDs than cassettes, when we all know (don’t we?) that CDs are way cheaper to reproduce than tapes.. sigh..

EC part 6

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May 212004

this is a mini-episode entry.. 7:30am- Emerging Women Leader’s breakfast, 2nd gathering (1st one being San Diego) – proud of Jen being introduced as a “professional blogger”, she represents us well :) .. a wonderful time, new voices, new lights emerging.. poignant words that surfaced: lonely, dismissed, okay to have & release tears, bearing pains, grasping for resources anywhere & everywhere, permission to be all that God calls, gratitude, new possibilities, hope.. my reactionary reflections: God being both male and female, rather than neither male and female.. good to hear the confession of female competitiveness (catty), amidst of institutions where we certainly see male competitveness, which overspills into patriarchal paternalism (speaking as a person who doesn’t have an ounce of competitiveness, so fwiw)..

the underlying question that’s surfaced for me over the past 48+ hours, that hasn’t been asked in this way, at least not that I’ve heard — how does the church respond (and love, and accept) those with whom she disagrees (and differs)? (in such a way that acceptance exudes warmth and love, while not condoning and agreeing) Or, shorter version, how do we treat the other? And his big question applies to the multicultural church issue from Wednesday, applies to emerging culture transition, the gender issues…

and while here at digital lounge, overhearing the production at the NPC stage, the words that surfaced about this transition thing: a shift from “happy” to “honest”….. would we all go there together?

I sent out 5 text messages via SMS to others I know (and have cell phone #s) to here, when I just discovered on my art errand, that there’s a free lunch today across the street from the convention center.. wonder how fast the word will get out, and how many of my conventioneering friends will enjoy lunch gratis, courtesy of 2 local radio stations and sponsors.. (I got okay from the sponsors to invite my new friends)

DJ emerging as VJ

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May 212004

I’ll be veejay’ing with April & Harp 46 tonight at a late night music venue at EC Nashville.. got a quick ramp-up on using the Arkaos software, so it’s my amatuer inaugural attempt at this, and it’ll be fun.. April and gang: thanks so much for inviting me to play with you all as a non-musical visual artiste :)

EC part 5

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May 202004

2pm- sat in remainder of Will Willimon’s seminar, excellent dialetic response by one of America’s top preachers and Duke Chapel minister, about the whole approach and content and meaning of evangelism.. cutting sarcasm, gestures, and wonderful dance of words and conversations.. best sound bites: the Gospel according to Willimon = “It’s all mine and I’m going to get it back, even if I have to die for it.” … “maybe evangelism is helping people realize they really don’t want to be with Jesus” … “it’s great they don’t get it right away.. it’s going to take some time” … “Jesus never said to agree with me, He said follow me”

6pm- Lauren Winner speaks of the Jewish prayer of Shema.. and how it might suggest how the church should live in the redeemed world, still being redeemed.. its first line holds an important and routine part of Jewish daily life.. [as if a reverberating echo throughout every chapter and page of Jewish life].. the habitual spiritual practice [as if to connect to a common reference point].. Lauren shares that she’s finishing up a book on chastity in the next 3 weeks, on Christianity and sexual ethics.. retelling the story to one another, so that we can grow with each other in community and accountability.. retelling the story over and over and over.. the reconstruction of a culture doesn’t happen over night.. requires reminding each other what we believe, when we don’t feel it, when we’re prone to wander..

7pm- the covert blogger meetup over dinner, excellent time, best blogger meetup I’ve been to :) rumors overheard: Real Live Preacher is actually Michael Toy, Andrew Sullivan and Matt Drudge made guest appearances, Left Behind vanity toilet paper rolls will be coming to a store near you, one amateur blogger will photoblog his written journal, origins of the city affectionately named NashVegas was skillfully deconstructed, one blogger joyfully shared that “Andrew Jones saved my life”, and Jen Lemen by speakerphone in abstensia.. we absolved one another as we confessed our neurosis with stats checking.. even tho’ I wore a shirt declaring “I’d blog this”, I actually did not pull out my laptop to blog it, and won’t be able to give you the lineup accounting for all present, but I recall at least 4 digital cameras being pulled out to capture the group photo.