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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Reflections on Midwinter 2009


I'm on my 2nd cup of coffee and it's still dark and rainy outside. Before I get too busy into my Santa Barbara routine, I thought I'd share some reflections about Midwinter 2009. It was one of the best Midwinters I ever attended, and that is more of a reflection on me I'm sure. But let me share some reasons:
1. The worship team under Matt Nightengale, Randall Wilkens and Joseph Rasheed (and Katie Martinez) was over-the-top for creativity. They had a banner over them that said "YES". They gave us permission to sing such a wide range of musical styles with a freedom to move or not move, that all revolved intimately with the theme of the speakers. It really helped that I became a friend of Joseph Rasheed from Texas. He is a man you need to meet and have lead you in worship!
2. The morning teachings by Klyne Snodgrass were classic depth and meat for the hungry pastor. He took the theme "Centrality of the Word" and broke it into three imperative verbs: eat it, hear it, see it. And if you know Klyne, sniffing cold and all, he kept pushing us deeper and deeper into the text.
3. The evening speakers were great too: Judy Peterson and Efrem Smith. I know and like Efrem so much, it was cool to see him push us Covenanters to be as Covenant as he is. When he preaches, things smoke! Phyllis Tickle was new to me, and an intellectual delight with her concept of a "rummage sale in the church every 500 years". While not all historians agree with her paradigm, it was an intriguing lens through which to see our current upheavals. Then Gary Walters' sermon on Thursday night was a calm call to faithfulness, to be the cloud bringing rain to a dry land. I am excited by the quiet intensity that comes with Gary as our new president.
4. Jeanne Heckman joined Martha and me for the pre-Midwinter workshop on worship and how we do sacred space. Her comment was enlightening. She thought she was going to a conference of old Swedish white guys, and was overwhelmed by the color and diversity everywhere she went. This is the lab of the Covenant. You get a chance to see the emerging energy and diversity jammed into one hotel.
5. Then it was the relationship building. I got to sit with my brother Tim for many of the sessions. We don't do that except here once a year. For many pastors this is the only time to hang out with their oldest and best friends, sometimes brother to brother or father and son (Luke stayed with me and we watched some action movies together).
The result? I feel filled up and ready to go. Bring it on!

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