Saturday, November 3, 2007

NYWC Day 2-OR-You might want to get comfortable for this one

There is a line at Startbucks that is going to take at least three days to get through. I bet those people are contemplating setting up tents and sleeping there if that's what they have to do to get their freaking coffee. Now, I may drink dirt cleverly disguised as coffee, but I will not wait in line for three days for stale, over-processed beans farmed and harvested by children in Chile. No I will not.

I must start with the cheerleaders. Apparently the scheduling people here in St Louis thought it would be funny to host the YWC on the same weekend as the child and pre-teen cheerleading contest. Everywhere we looked today there were hoards of scantily clad, heavily made-up girls. After walking into a flock in the bathroom, I made a decision. There, on the toilet, I decided that our daughter will not be a cheerleader. There are plenty of other, more acceptable and honoring forms of dance that I am all for. But as for the booty-shaking, short-skirted, flat chest shimmying eye candy business? No way. Luckily Rusty had the same thought so we're all good.

And for those thinking it, no, I did not cleverly disclose the sex of our child. I was speaking of hypothetical daughters. This baby's sex will not be known until sometime in April.

I went to a sex talk, but I don't want to talk about that. I also sat through a long talk about resting in God or something. We left early to eat lunch, and dang if that was not an awesome lunch. I ate four and a half pickles.

After the lunchtime pickles, we went to Tony Campolo's discussion of what youth ministers can learn from sociologists. People, we sat so close to him that Tony Campolo was literally spitting on us. It was awesome.

Tony talked about alot. He had some great things to say, but I can't and don't want to share everything because again, that would take longer than the line at Starbucks. Tony talked about the role of ritual in our lives. He stated that rituals have four functions. They create social solidarity, emphasize commitment, educate, and create emotional well-being.

I learned the same thing in my family science class last semester. Children need routine, they need rituals. Children need to know stability, that even if their entire life blew up in one day, they could come home and something would still remain. Some constant. I believe this is a large part of why foster children have so many issues that are exclusive to them, because they are bounced around from place to place with no stability or rituals. While I find the idea of this incredibly beautiful, I also find it very scary. It is beautiful for me to imagine teaching our child to trust, to imagine daily rituals of songs, stories, patterns, habits. But when I think about myself, I know I struggle with consistency. I know I work better under routine, but I lack the self-control to establish routine. In my laziness I may be able to fumble around and survive, but my life is no longer just about me and how well I survive. I am faced with the reality that I will be part of an intimate team responsible for another life. And a very vulnerable life at that.

The list of people that I want to hug now includes: Tony Jones, Tony Campolo, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, and Robbie Castleman.

Now here's the best part. Rusty and I ventured into the Exhibition Hall, or, the Hall of Junk, because Rusty was looking for the IVP table. I didn't look around too much because I trying really hard not to make eye contact. If you make eye contact, people start talking to you and trying to get to you realize that your life in incomplete without their particular product. So there I am, darting my eyes around, trying to be invisible, when something catches my attention.

Disposable coffee cups that say "Venti Jesus Please". Above them is a sign that tells people to take some free coffee for later. Next to the sign is a box of instant coffee packets.

I was pretty confused about the Jesus coffee. I thought at first that maybe you wree supposed to take the cup and the instant coffee and give it to someone out on the street. Then they would be warmed, not only by the coffee, but by the love of Christ, so eloquently proclaimed on the side of the cup. After all, it was Dare to Share that had the cups.
After discussing it with Rusty, I realized that I was wrong. You weren't supposed to hand your coffee out to other people. No no, you are supposed to take the coffee and drink it yourself. You are not supposed to buy your coffee at the week long line in Starbucks like all the other godless heathens. Rather, you should drink your coffee from the truth and life filled cup bearing the name of Jesus. Undoubtedly, some godless heathen would see you and your cup and a conversation would ensue. Something like this.
"Excuse me. I just couldn't help but notice your cup. It doesn't have the green Starbucks woman. Instead it has this 'Venti Jesus Please' that looks strangely like the Starbucks logo. What is this all about?"
"Well friend, I am glad you asked. You see, I believe in Jesus, and He saved me from a life of sin and eternal hellfire. And I just happen to have this Gospel pamphlet in my pocket that explains how all this happens in 4 short laws, 3 sharp cartoons, and a special prayer of Salvation. Why don't we sit here and read through it together?"
Soon after, the godless heathen would pray that prayer and you would get another notch on your bedpost in heaven. And all that, from a disposable coffee cup.

I wonder how much money was spent on those disposable coffee cups.


Sayward said...

Was there anything you enjoyed about the youth specialties convention?

It seems to me that rather than showing gratitude to the folks that have a passion to spread the word of Jesus Christ through what THEIR gifts are, you would rather put down the fact that they created some sort of "tredy christian cup".

I realize you're preganant, as I was at one point of my life, and my hormones were up and down, but honestly, your posting left me sick to my stomach and outragiously frustrated.

What do you do with the girls who show up who are cheerleaders? What do you do with the boys who like the popular girls? What do you do with the people who are frustratingly outspoken, or cheesy, about their furvent love for Jesus Christ?

Honestly, your posting was not only sad, it was angering.

Matt said...

So far, at the NYWC, Sadie seems to enjoy:

-Guys named Tony.
-Musicians that play bagpipes.
-Musicians that are skinny and have crazy hair.
-Duffy Robins.

Sadie does not like behavior that betrays theology.

Random thought: If youth ministry is going to, at some point, see significant change, does that mean that events like the NYWC will have to change as well (or maybe even lead the way in changing)? I think so.

The Mollinator said...


I am a new mom too, of a foster child. I never thought that I would ever have routine in my life, because I was a youth worker. I am glad to tell you though, it just kinda happens. You don't really have a choice.

And I like reading your take on the conference. I am going to Atlanta and can't wait!