Willow Arts Conference: Day One...

Such a great opening day at the Arts Conference! This is my second year in attendance and, once again, I've been challenged and inspired by what I've been presented with. Here's some of what happened...

  • David Crowder* Band opened the day with an amazing worship set! The intro to Deliver Me, Here is Our King, I Saw the Light, a brand new song called Oh the Glory of it All that I loved, and Oh Praise Him.

  • Nancy Beach came up to welcome everybody.

  • Dewitt Jones was the first main session speaker. He was a photgrapher for National Geographic for 20 years. His talk was all about creativity. Lots of pictures and lots of great inspirational motivation. Here are some thoughts that hit me pretty hard:
    *The best way to give ourselves to God is to give ourselves to each other.
    *"We need to celebrate what is right with the world instead of wallowing in what is wrong." This has become a major theme throughout the conference.
    *Robert Frost said "My object in life is to unite my avocation with my vocation."
    *To love what you do, you have to make sure you keep your cup filled.
    *You need to hang out with people who love what they do.
    *Sometimes, to fall in love with what you do, you have to fake it for a little while.
    *Don't worry about making a difference. Make a contribution. I'm not sure if Jones is a believer. So I added to this, "Make a contribution and God will use you to make a difference.
    *It's important to practice one breath meditation. "Take all of life in and give it all back."
    *The light that makes us shine is not from the outside, but from the inside.

  • B-boy/Breakdancing/Hip-hop worship. Or as I like to think of it: You suckas just got saved! You know, kinda like the movie... Anyone? Alice is booing me right now. I can feel it...

  • Nancy Beach was the next main session speaker. I always love hearing Nancy because she seems so genuine in her passion for the arts and for artists. Here's some key points from her:
    *We must embrace the truth of pain and loss in order to point others to the light.
    *Never before seen clip from the Bono interview at last year's Leadership Summit!
    -All music is worship. It may be worship of the self. It may be worship of women. But it's all worship.
    -One of the main things Christian music is missing is the tension between hope and despair. Where are our songs of despair. Gospel songs are primarily about how great and happy the world is. That's the ideal. But I relate more with the blues.
    *Cynicism lacks courage
    *Make sure to look up G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy!
    *It's not enough to be people of hope. Our hope has to penetrate the lives of others.
    *Have the audacity to hope and just watch what our God can do!

  • Dan Kimball was up next. Now, I've traditionally not been a big fan of Kimball. Not because of any particular theological issue, but mainly because he's a very soft spoken person and slightly monotone. And, quite frankly, he puts me to sleep. But today, even though I struggled a little since it was after lunch, I was captivated by some findings he presented. He did about 25 minutes, then took part in a panel discussion. Here's some of his stuff:
    *There's a growing interest in Jesus in our culture, but a growing disinterest in the church and christians.
    *"I like your Christ. I do not like your christians. Your christians are so unlike your Christ." -Ghandi
    *6 things non-believers think about the church and christians:
    1) The church is "organized religion" and all into right wing politics.
    2) The church is judgemental and negative.
    3) The church is male-dominated and oppresses women.
    4) The church is homophobic.
    5) The church arrogantly believes that they're right and all other religions are wrong.
    6) The church is full of fundamentalists who take the whole Bible literally.
    *Most christians and churches aren't like that.

    And then, Brian McLaren said this and blew me away: "Dan's title is they like Christ but not christians. Part of our problem is that the church likes Christ but not them."

  • After all of that, we attended another free pre-screening of Evan Almighty.

    Tune in tomorrow for more learnings...

    Kylee said...

    This conference seems incredible!!

    So, this is the quote I wanted to know more about...it is one by Nancy Beach:

    "We must embrace the truth of pain and loss in order to point others to the light."

    What does it mean, exactly?

    Josh(ua) Treece said...

    So many times the church, and especially individual Christians, try to meet the needs of a dying, hurting world by simply presenting the light of the Gospel as scientific fact. As if what they need is proof of the truth. Is it truth? Yes. But, a deeper truth is that it's not a set of cold scientific facts. It's relational. It's alive. And, just as life itself, it involves joy and pain. Light and dark. Laughter and tears. To deny hardship and suffering with a smile and a Bible verse while ignoring the present, felt need does nothing more than provide a placebo. Paul wrote that we go through hard times so that, when others go through them, we can turn back and help them along. That's what embracing pain and loss is about. Seeing God and showing Him to others.

    Kylee said...

    Wow, that was so well put, Josh. Thank you so much for your insight. It makes so much more sense to me now. I really felt it had such a deep meaning and I just couldn't put my finger on it. Now I know I have, myself, "embraced the truth of pain."
    "Paul wrote that we go through hard times so that, when others go through them, we can turn back and help them along. That's what embracing pain and loss is about. Seeing God and showing Him to others."
    ...says it all. Turning back to help others through a type of pain that we've been through. I remember the first time I was able to use the painful experiece of my aunt and cousin's deaths to help someone else...it was powerful.

    thanks, you rock :)