Monday, January 09, 2006

The Eccentricities of Evangelicalism: Conferences

Enough blathering about romance, romantic systems, and all that sort of thing. It's time to change gears, and instead blather about evangelicals and their weirdnesses. This series has been brewing for a while, and I think you'll enjoy it. It's all done in good humor and fun and isn't intended to be any sort of harsh critique.

Of all the sociopolitical and socioreligiousethnic groups out there, evangelicals have to stand as one of the more fascinating to study. I don't think many realize this, but it's true. Many Christians grow up in the church and know only its ways, considering them the standard for all people (minus the whole faith thing, that is). But when you take a step back and look closely at evangelicalism, you realize it's a strange animal. Kind of like when you first saw a monkey up close. It looks normal enough from a distance, but then you get up near its face, and discover that its a strange animal indeed.

One of the primary ways we evangelicals show our kookiness is in our staging of and attendance at conferences. We are a conferencing people. Don't believe me? Pick up World or Christianity Today, two of the most-read evangelical magazines. Count the number of conferences advertised. It's got to be in the high teens per each copy. You don't find this in Time. There's something about evangelicals--presumably their passion and hunger to learn--that motivates them to stage roughly seven million conferences a year. It just isn't quite the same with any other group. Well, maybe literary societies. But they're their own strange animal. Besides lit geeks, who? Retirees? Nope. They'd all fall asleep. Computer geeks? They do a few, but not nearly as many as evangelicals, though they are passionate about pixels. Atheists? Yeah, there's the occasional high-brow event, but their conference planners have a great deal more vacation time than do evangelicals. No, we are a conferencing people--better still, the conferencing people.

We go to conferences about everything, too. If the outside world knew of this, it would think we are even stranger than it already thinks we are. We conference about babies and movies and worldviews and dietary habits and C.S. Lewis and John Calvin and reformation and revival and tongues and spirits and warfare and the tribulation and tv filters and anything else we can possibly think of to conference about. Honestly, if you could find a benefactor, you could make a living just going to evangelical conferences. Southern Baptists own their own conference center! Glorieta! Doesn't the name just make you want to conference?! And you wonder why we conference so much.

Tomorrow--the consumed staff looks at the younger generation and their conference attendance. Also, information on the first ever consumed conference, to be staged with a live band and free mint-flavored toothpicks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

SWEET! I LOVE mint-flavored toothpicks...I reccommend cinnamon ones, too....If you're having doorprizes or giving out corny favors, then I have one question: where do I sign up? :-)

3:51 PM  
Blogger WES said...

I'd have to agree with you.


6:51 AM  
Blogger Oren said...

This would be a good conference topic.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason for love of conferences is because what you practice and espouse is not a religon it is fundamentalism.

Fundamentalism is a cult and the members of cults of fundamentalism are not fully grounded in reality and are terrified of truth. If that were not true there would not be endless hours and energy spent fighting truth and trying to de-construct it. Also there would be no neeed to plug in daily with other "christians" for feedback on how to behave if one was not in a cult.

Humans like other animals are born with an innate knowing and do not need reverends and radio and television hosts to tell them how to behave like one.

It is a crutch that prevents a person from connecting with true spirituality and instead forces the focus to be always on making sure you are conforming to what john, jane, jack, janice and so on are doing. That is not healthy.

Thats also where the strange bird part comes in. One mindedness is totalitarianism. Imagine a world with absolutely no variety. Its mind boggling how much time would be consumed in human energy in maintaining uniformity. Think about it.

That is why only fundamentalists consume themselves daily with their obsession of jesus christ. The core of your teachings being false require constant attention and obsession.

2:20 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home