In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Sunday, January 06, 2008

DC Baby!

I have returned home from a conference in Washington, DC. I know that some of you think that I travel entirely too much...but you are wrong. I love my travel. This trip was extra special because it was held in Alexandria, VA. Upon my return, I can now color in Virginia as a state I have visited. Also, I can color in the District of Columbia, since I ate dinner and drove around for a while in our great capitol. These were new places for me to visit. Yea! Only four more states to round out the US of A!

This conference was for an organization called the Gay Christian Network. Um, basically, it's a network of Gay Christians. So, I guess the name is pretty accurate. Actually, the GCN (as the cool people call it) began as a web-based discussion board where GLBT (oh, let's be honest...mainly G) people could have discussions about life, faith, and religion.

I was invited to attend the conference because of my role on the board of directors of Lutherans Concerned/North America. I am the Director of Youth, Young Adult, and Family Ministries (we call it YoYaFam). I went with the Executive Director, the Grassroots Coordinator, the Communications Director (who lives in the area) and our Intern (who is helping me with YoYaFam). The conference was an interesting experience for several reasons. Let me highlight a few.

  • These people all primarily know each other from the on-line community. When I first met someone, they would ask what my screen name was. I had to confess to everyone that I registered for the web site the day before leaving for DC, just so I could get an idea of what sort of thing I was getting myself into.
  • I went to a workshop about blogging. And now I'm blogging about my blogging workshop. That's meta-blogging. Be careful, if you think about it too much, your head might explode! Maybe I'll be able to update my blogroll with the new blogs I heard about.
  • We were able to make a pitch for Hearts on Fire and The Naming Project Summer Camp. After the session when we made these announcements, I was swamped with brochure requests and conversations. When I reported this back to the others, I was informed that they didn't get as many brochure requests as I did. The Executive Director attributed this to the fact that I was "young, cute, and had a penis."
  • I was asked several times if my camp was like the camp they saw on a show on LOGO. I said yes, and began to reference the film right away. Yes, that's right, many of these people had seen Camp Out (the documentary about The Naming Project Summer Camp). First of all, I've never met so many people who have LOGO at home (my parents have 300 channels and don't get LOGO). It was helpful to talk about the camp, since many people had seen what it looks like.
  • I observed our Executive Director sweet talk the Metro DC chapter of LC/NA. It was a whole different persona than I had ever seen before (and I had thought that I had seen all her sides).
  • I'm not a great fan of praise and worship music, and this was pretty much all praise and worship music. They followed an evangelical format where we sang for 30-45 minutes and then had 45 minutes of a keynote (or sermon, depending on your point of view). However, on the last day (today), they sang a string of "traditional" hymns. We sang about one stanza of each hymn in a pretty "praise and worship" style, but at least these were traditional hymns. Then, the worship leader said that they tried to find a hymn that would be embraced by the whole conference. They wanted something that rings true for all the conference attendees: Pentecostal, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Baptist, Catholic, Orthodox, and Methodist (and probably many more and some non-denominational folks). They finally decided on the song that could do that: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Yup, that is the great ecumenical hymn (apparently). They used archaic language (not what I'm used to from the LBW or the ELW). However, Kate pointed out that they spelled the word "thru", so it had some contemporary touches.
  • I'm sure I met all current and former Lutherans who attended the event. There were even a couple pastors in the mix. I continue to pray for them and their future steps.
  • Our Grassroots Coordinator (who is straight) made the observation that gay men have small hands and nice shoes.
There is a lot more analysis, but for now, this will suffice. Tomorrow I go back to my regular job, so I need to get a little rest tonight.


Blogger LoieJ said...

I'm curious, are you not a fan of praise music because, mostly, the words or the musical style, or, perhaps both? Perhaps it is about the people doing the praising and not as much about God? Or too simplistic?

1:00 PM  

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