I went to work this morning and lasted an hour before the headache hit and I had to come home and lie down. I guess if you’re going to be sick at home, a cold rainy day is a good one to choose!
I watched a disc of West Wing season 1 and slept under my blanket with my hot water bottle. It’s been a pretty huge week and a bit. I think I’m going to give up on trying to write anything extensive about Driscoll and all the things I went to hear him at, but I’ll do a summary.
Guan, Mary and I drove up to the mountains in the late afternoon last Friday. We were the first to arrive at our accommodation, The Blue House, where we got set up and ate shepherd’s pie for dinner. Mary elected to stay home and have an early night, and Guan and I went to the convention centre and met up with the others.
Mark Driscoll gave four talks over the weekend, and his bombast and difficult challenges were well-tempered by Don Carson’s reasonably straightforward exegetical preaching. They were a good combination – I think too much of one or the other would have been a problem.
I really enjoyed seeing Driscoll give a talk; I’ve listened to a few podcasts and read some of his writing, but he definitely has a ‘watchable quality’ (as Annabeth on the West Wing would say). But that’s not to say he’s all style and no substance. He packs a lot into his talks, and goes off on a lot of ‘riffs’, and doesn’t fail to tie his theology in with living life. In fact, he dispensed with his third talk altogether to answer questions from the crowd, as he had observed that in Sydney there is a lot of good solid theological teaching but people had a hunger for practical application of what they were learning. As the questions were SMSed in, people were free to ask anything they wanted without fear of embarrassment, so there were predictably mostly questions on relationships, sex, family and things like that.
It was the end of this question time that he answered a question about why men should leave home younger than they generally do (ie, mid to late twenties). That’s been one of his big themes while he’s been speaking in Australia, challenging young men with the ‘adultescence’ mindset to grow up (sorry, I hate that term, but it fits). His thinking is that no woman is going to want to marry a man whose mom still tucks him into bed with his Star Wars sheets and footy pyjamas (when he speaks in the States, it’s Star Wars pyjamas, but I guess he was tailoring the message to the audience), so guys should grow up, get a job, leave home, show they can provide for a family, get married, etc, etc.
He also talked about the responsibility fathers have towards their daughters to protect them, nurture them, encourage them to make good decisions and teach them discernment about men. He said some very good stuff here, but then it just started hammering into me that this was something sorely lacking in my relationship with my own father and how I had made some colossal mistakes and trusted some very dodgy people because I hadn’t had a good model in regards to men as I grew up (not saying dad doesn’t love me, or that I’m not also culpable in the decision making/wilfulness of the whole thing, but I didn’t start off with a very solid foundation). It made me immensely sad, and by the time we got back to the house for lunch, I kind of lost it, cried all over my lovely friends, had to go and lie down and sleep it off for the rest of the afternoon.
But it was nice hanging out with the Beilharzes, the Un families and Elsie. By the end of the weekend, the big talks, the 2000 people and not sleeping very well, I was glad to be home and back in my own bed.
As a National Office team, we went to this together and saw many other AFES staffworkers there. Again, it was the Driscoll and Carson double-act, with Kent and Barbara Hughes as well. Carson repeated one of his talks from Engage, which was a bit of a shame as I’m guessing a good number of people there had been at Engage (and apparently he wasn’t supposed to give the same talk twice!).
In his second talk Driscoll was hard hitting and confrontational about what, as an outsider, he saw were the reasons that evangelism was being hampered in Sydney (Gordo gives a pretty thorough rundown if you’re interested). I thought it was a brilliant talk, and really something only an outside observer could deliver.
I got cranky after lunch when we were separated into men and women and told which talk to go to, so I skipped Barbara Hughes’ talk on Evangelism in the Home. Was too tired to go to Carson’s big talk in the evening, and hadn’t really perked up much by the next morning. I didn’t really get much out of Kent Hughes’ talk on Pastoring from the Pulpit but then I guess it wasn’t really aimed at me.
Was supposed to go to the New College Lecture series on God and the Artist, but I was so completely drained by Tuesday night I didn’t go. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, on Wednesday I resigned from work and hadn’t recovered any more energy so didn’t go to that night’s lecture. And on Thursday I was unexpectedly given a ticket to Bek Caines’s PhD graduation ceremony, so I went to that and missed the lectures entirely!