Today was a good day. It was the second day of the NYWC in Atlanta. Shey and I have been having a great time, especially after this morning's general session. Phyllis Tickle, author, speaker, prophet, and guide shared a message and lesson this morning. She talked about "The Great Emergence," or this time in history which we find ourselves in today. This is the term she has given to describe the next period of reformation in the church which is happening today and is changing the landscape of Christianity, especially in the West. If you have never had a chance to hear her speak, or use the prayer manuals she has created, I highly recommend her works, and finding a way to hear her speak the next chance you get. You'd never expect a 73-year old woman to get up at a youth conference and blow your mind, but that's just what happened today, and is what happened when she spoke at the general sessions at the Emergent Convention a couple years ago in Nashville.
In the afternoon, Shey and I went to Chris Folmsbee's super-seminar called "Stories, Signs, and Sacred Rhythms: A Narrative Approach to Nurturing Students." Chris' message and seminar was fantastic. He proposed a philosophy of youth ministry that could have a profound impact on the landscape of Western Christianity and youth ministry in the coming years. The models of faith development and beginning in the narrative will be extremely helpful and insightful in working with students whose very lives and thus their stories are being fragmented, alienated, and disjointed from others, God, and themselves on a regular basis. The language and metaphors that Chris is exploring is powerful and helps put 'words to some of the things' many of us are thinking about in this round table of discussion and conversation. Be on the lookout for his new book that will most likely have the same title of this seminar to be coming out in the future.
I'd like to post some more comments and thoughts about both Mrs. Tickle's talk and Chris' seminar, but it is too late to dig out the notebook. Shey is knocked out already, it's late...and I've ended on a high note. I got to see Shey when I came back, and the place I came back from was Marko's suite. I spent the evening with Chris and some other guys who work with the newly joined Sonlife/YouthFront. They are doing some amazing stuff that youth ministry folks should check out.
I met some cool guys tonight, and unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to talk to Marko, but Chris, Doug, Len, Scott, Mark, and others made me feel right at home this evening. It was fun to meet some of the other speakers, and to see some of the ways these folks hang out together. There is a warm spirit of hospitality and graciousness that was great to be around. All in all, Day 2 was a good day.