Many have chatted with me about how the Grace Agenda Conference went in Moscow, Idaho. I thought I would write about what I experienced. Some of this could be deduced for yourself if you watched the conference online, and you should when it’s posted. I am going to give a more hands on approach view. This may help you decide whether you would like to come next year. For fun, I’ve written in Wilsonish fashion.
EATING WITH HOBBITS
First, let me tell you about their hospitality. My wife and I were welcomed in every measure everywhere, and there seemed to be a great camaraderie amongst those in attendance. We didn’t have a rental car, but received rides when needed. We “ran into” several people both conference attenders and church members, and everyone seemed to enjoy striking up a conversation beyond typical chit chat.
We also enjoyed the fellowship around food. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I loved the town’s offerings, whether it was wood-fired pizza, craft beverages, non-chain coffee shops, handmade ice cream, or crepes at the farmers market. But food without hospitality is just nourishment.
The conference put on a major food fair downtown Saturday night with tons of FREE food, even inviting the community. Merriment would be the word for it. Friends we had only met online welcomed us into their home with several others and we celebrated our common bond in hobbit style. Random church folk were overheard inviting strangers back to their houses for dinner. True Christian hospitality was offered.
RUSTY HELL GATES
The tone of the conference was serious but jovial, with great dadesque jokes in between. They spoke of the many evil isms which are plaguing society. But you didn’t leave discouraged. You exited the Palouse still believing “the gates of hell shall not prevail.” While there were cracks in the gates, they were rusty enough to not be fully opened. The way we should share our Christian worldview.
AN OVERSIZED WELCOME MAT
To be honest I wasn’t sure what the denominational makeup of those attending would be. It was less narrow than I expected. In other words, you didn’t have to be of a specific denomination to enjoy it. We met many from many branches of Christianity.
THE CHIEF JOLLY ROGER
I am a people-watcher by nature. It’s in my blood. In part I watched the chief Jolly Roger, Doug himself. First to note: he was approachable. This wasn’t one of these conferences where he, or others, were treated like celebrities. If you didn’t know who he was, you would have walked right past him or sat next to him without knowing.
He was also jovial, a recurring adjective. Whether he was enjoying his burger and beverage (he sat next to me at lunch), was playing some tunes on his guitar for the “fair” or meeting people, his Chris Kringle type cheeks were tightening in cheer.
Several buddies and I often talk about “Doug and his boys.” His boys meaning those who stand with him, whether it be the Cross Politics guys, Joffre the Giant, his son N.D., or just every day dudes from the church and college who stand side by side with him. They are linemen and skilled ones. Of course their women are as well, for those who listen, read, or study from them.
By that I mean their spiritual lives, Gospel grit, and theological knowledge bear the resemblance of the Steel Curtain of the famous Steelers. They know God’s Word, they love wives, children, friends, and community, and they know how to grapple with the sticky situations facing our society. They are standing on the muddy, rain-soaked fields of the current society, and are nigh unto unbudgeable. Anyone looking to link arms with someone in the fight for the true Gospel can find a place here. This in turn tracks other skilled linemen, and therefore it becomes a common training ground.
BUYING STOCK WHILE THE COMPANY IS SMALL
This conference is growing fast. From what I heard, this conference may have tripled from the past. With certain conferences led by groups, which I have even attended in the past, nice giving their linemen kale chips to live on, it is no wonder. When they asked who had attended this conference for the first time half of the hands went up. This is a sign of growth, and my prediction is that this snowball will only pick up speed.
SHOULD YOU ATTEND
This brings us back to our original question of whether you should attend next year? If you buy into the vision of what “Doug and his boys” are doing in Moscow you should. You should be trained because we won’t need less theological training but more. You should because so many other institutions are tilting or toppled, and these guys are holding the line. Your mere presence would be a support to them. It would encourage others there. It will help you realize this battle is not being fought alone, and you can find like-companions for this journey.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.