I have 5 working titles for this blog and they are all so good that I can't choose. Yay for humility!
1) Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
2) My Hilarious Life Part Deux
3) A Face-Melting Good Time at the Epicenter of Progressive Culture
4) In the Land of Thick-Rimmed Glasses and iPhones
5) Peter Rollins is a little Irish Fireball
Actually, looking at them, 3 is the best. On with the story!
Flashback: Early June. Location: Qdoba, Corvallis, OR.
I was getting some delicious burritos with my housemates when my friend from Idaho, Jeremiah, calls me up. He asks me if I would like to accompany him to a preaching conference put on by Rob Bell in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was already going to be in Madison, WI for an InterVarsity Staff conference. The preaching thing would start the day after the staff thing ended. Of course I said no. That would be too much. But I told him I would think about it. 10 minutes later I changed my plane ticket and called him back saying I would go. That is how I make decisions. So if I tell you no, just give me ten minutes. I'll come around.
Flashback: Last Wednesday. Location: Inn on the Park, Madison, WI
Upon my arrival in Madison, I meet up with Jeremiah only to discover that I have no way to actually get to Grand Rapids. This would seem like a big deal to some people. But for me, it falls in the category of, "It may be happening in 3 days but something will work out. Don't worry about it." The staff conference was great. I ate at my favorite noodles place in Madison. Yummy!
It was the night before I was supposed to leave and I still hadn't figured out how to get to grand rapids. I tried to buy a train ticket from Madison to GR, but there wasn't one. So I bought one from Chicago to GR. I had solved 1/3 of my problem. I now needed to get to Chicago AND get to a place to stay once I got to GR. The next morning at breakfast, I asked some other staff if any of them were going to be driving through Chicago. The first person I asked referred me to his room mate who was driving by himself to Indiana and had a spot in his car. BOOYAH!!! 2/3 done. Right before I left, Jeremiah called me to let me know that some other staff in GR were going to pick me up from the train station and let us stay at their brand new house that they hadn't even moved into yet. To quote Hannibal from the A-Team, "I love it when I plan comes together."
Great car trip, great train trip, awesome hosts in GR.
And this conference . . . Daaaaaaaaang. It was called "Poets, Prophets, and Preachers: Reclaiming the Art of the Sermon." Jeremiah and I very liberally used the term "face-melting." It was great. So many great ideas. There was seriously so much that blew my mind that I can't even begin to describe it.
One thing I noticed very quickly, Rob Bell kind of draws a certain crowd. Namely, the thick rimmed glasses crowd. I think only 1 in 4 people there DIDN'T have them. There was a moment when Rob was using a chair as a prop illustrating the throne of God and he put his glasses on them and then forgot about them. I didn't notice but then a few minutes he remembered them and said, "Oh, this won't do." I almost died. Thick Rimmed glasses are at the center of the universe. Awesome. Also, every time there was a break, I would look forward and notice a whole bunch of people all take out iPhones. It was also hilarious.
A quick word about Rob Bell. Lot's of people have different opinions of him but there is something I noticed: Homeboy talked about the Resurrection of Jesus and its Earth-shattering implications more than any other pastor I have ever heard. So do with that what you will. I was encouraged and challenged by it. Do I do that?
Also: Peter Rollins is a little Irish fireball.