It is, after all, the common sport during and after the EC to suggest that Emergent’s relationship with YS is a corrupting influence that keeps us from doing what we want. Yet it’s too easy to bash on the corporate monster and not appreciate the dynamics the both contribute to and hinder a symbiotic relationship. The fact is that without YS there would be no Emergent Convention which I think would be a loss both as a networking opportunity, and the fact that we do get some pretty cool folks here for some great workshops.
Having said that and saying clearly that I don’t think Marko is the antichrist (actually, I think he’s a pretty nice guy) I do have to say that I am less than satisfied with the General Sessions. The problem for me is not content — actually the content is pretty good. The problem is that there is little flow to the sessions, that the sessions feel disjointed, and most of all that we are calling stuff “worship” which has no connection to the creative and alternative things that we are trying to introduce into our churches. Again, I’m not bashing the planners, the organizers, etc (well, actually I am I guess, but I like them and want to remain friends so I have to soften my critique as I can) but I think we reamin confused about wat we are trying to do in these sessions. This has led to a couple of presenters coming across as not particularly dynamic. It really isn’t their fault — they’ve been dealt a bad hand of cards.
Look, I’m not suggesting that we throw out the whole thing and give up. We have progressed over last year, and there are many good elements to the sessions (for me, the work by Doug Pagitt and Jeanne Stephenson is great!). I love David Crowder’s music. The Celtic section of worship tonight was fine (even though it was in the wrong place in the evening). Certainly I have frustrations, just like I have frustrations with worship in my own church (and have in every church that I’ve ever worshipped in). Yet, I know the hearts of the planning team and the leadership of the organization. Their hearts are in the right place. They are working to make this more organic, more inclusive, more in keeping with the “emergent” vision. We’ll get there. I have hope. I even have a little patience (maybe that comes with age). I’m still having a great time, and I am certain that God is with us.