Today was day 2 of the Echo Conference. Went up with three Bethel staffers (communications, family/downtown campus and worship/downtown campus). Since there’s so much stuff packed into a the days, breaking up the blogging into sections is the only way to go.
I’m gonna’ warn you. As you can probably tell from the previous post, Day 2 went off the rails a bit for me.
For me. For me. (Nobody give me hate, ‘kay?)
I didn’t see anything all that intriguing during the third session block, so I parked in the awesome Watermark coffee area and caught up on some work. It was a much-needed break. Met up with the guys and headed in for Main Session #3 featuring worship by Aaron Niequist and David Gungor and guest speaker Donald Miller.
Worship was really good. Niequist digs liturgical stuff and David Gungor’s stuff is mellow and orchestral. The set featured a ton of video loops, all very well done. I dug the instrumentation and enjoyed the songs, but they weren’t easy to sing. This always sounds weird, but I think it holds up. I’m a pretty good singer. I catch melodies pretty fast and I’ve got good timing and phrasing. So, if I can’t catch onto a chorus melody after two minutes, I’m guessing folks who don’t sing all the time are going to even more trouble. One of the high points was the masterful drumming by Watermark’s drummer who played in all the worship sessions. I was so impressed by his restraint for at least two of the songs, he did nothing but kick and cymbal stuff. And it worked!
I was looking forward to hearing Donald Miller. I’ve read some of this stuff before, mostly blogs. However, I thought his prayer during a recent election was really great and figured he would be great since he’s considered such a good storyteller.
But he didn’t tell stories. He talked about himself. In fact, he talked a lot about his own therapy. They displayed a series of circles on the screen of his “core” and his “shame” and what he uses to mask that shame. It was psychology talk. No scripture, and very little talk of God or Jesus, short of the idea that God doesn’t have a plan for our lives – he wants us to make our own plan. Being candid here, I thought it was terrible man-centered psycho babble. It was like an episode of Oprah. It was feelings, and his relationships with women and somewhere in there, all of us were charged to focus on what brings us the most joy. It felt humanistic. It didn’t feel like the Gospel.
I’m okay with being at a conference that’s perhaps not suited to my work life. I’m not okay with a hour of someone advocating (both explicitly and implicitly) that we spend the quiet afforded us in an attempt to “open a box of Crayons with God and just color.” I need Jesus in my life, not more analysis.