Last week Rich, Craig, Pete, and I attended the CCDA conference in Miami, FL. Pete was speaking at one of the plenary sessions, as well as leading a couple of workshops. Rich and I were in charge of manning the EHS/NLF table in the exhibit room for most of the conference. Here are some of my musings from our week in Miami.
– It was difficult attempting to attend the conference while working at the conference. I came home from the week rather exhausted, having explained one too many times how the EHS book differs from the EHC book, as well as how the daily office book is a type of devotional guide, one that provides an alternative to the more traditional quiet time. By the time the sessions started, my mind was already fried, and there was little else I could pay attention to, unfortunately.
– The one session I did attend – one led by one Soong Chan Rah, a professor at North Park Seminary – was very thought-provoking (coincidentally, I don’t know the title, but I’ll label it Shalom for the “Haves” and “Have-nots”). There were many remarkable insights he posited, but the one that I will highlight is that in America today, mobility=power. There’s a lot to unpack with that one maxim, but the evidence of such an observation is easily seen in nyc, where I’ve encountered many a person at New Life who has never ventured outside of NYC. NEVER.
One person once said to me, “If it weren’t for New Life, I never would have seen so many trees.” The woman was talking about the trees in Poconos, not the small ones that line Van Loon St in Elmhurst. She doesn’t have the freedom to foray outside the city walls… as for the “why?” question, I’m willing to suggest there are too many forces to count, many of which she has probably no contol over.
Either way, it was an enlightening workshop, and proved to be one of the best learning moments on my trip.
– Rich Villodas is a great guy. We spent maybe 65% of our trip together, probably the best recipe for enmeshment and resentment. But I rarely felt enmeshed… that is, until we missed out flight home and I felt horribly responsible and guilty.
Rich, ever unflappable, brushed it off and kept telling me funny stories. Yes indeed, he is a great guy.
Every night we would talk about everything and anything, from stories of our childhoods, to our weird habits when we’re really tired, to how much we wanted the phillies to lose the world series.
After learning so much of Rich’s life, I really came to a deeper appreciation for the man that he is, especially his earnest heart for God and the humility with which he leads and uses his gifts. God is using him greatly, and it’s rather exciting to see what God will do with him.
I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate or travel companion, especially since my immune system was sputtering throughout the week.
Actually, Tina would have made a better roommate and travel companion. Sorry, Rich.
– I think the fact that NLF has a CDC is really meaningful considering there is a huge emphasis on self-care and healthy spirituality. Why? Because it signals that the church is equally concerned with being and doing, both of which are hard enough when standing alone. But to be a church that’s trying to love and commune with the poor and marginalized while maintaining a life of wholeness is a truly beautiful thing. We’re obviously not perfect at this, but still, I think it’s cool to serve at a church that is seeking to be incredibly contemplative and incredibly active.
– It seems to me that there is a younger generation of people who are searching for the following values:
2) Authenticity and Openness
3) Advocacy for the Poor
I think that the above three values are ones that seem to be especially pronounced at NLF with its emphasis on Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Reconciliation, and its CDC. I tend to think this is why there’s been such a precipitous rise in young adults at NLF – these younger folks want the above three values to be lived out, and people see that NLF attempts to do this.
Well, that’s one of my explanations, along with the fact that there’s been such tremendous leadership amongst young adults these past few years.
Haha, no, it’s more the values than the leadership, I think.
– Pete Scazzero is a great leader. I love the man. I’ve worked with him for seven years, and I’ve come to know him pretty well as a leader, mentor, boss, and my pastor. I’ve been through good times and bad times at NLF, and after all these years, I think I can honestly say that I’m so glad to be at NLF, leading under Pete Scazzero.
Most of all, I respect and admire his willingness to take a hard look at himself, and allow God to change him in the deepest parts. I’ve been so challenged to have the same heart and devotion that Pete has shown these years, and I’m grateful for all he’s meant to me and my marriage.
After hearing Pete at the conference and hanging out with him and the rest of the fellas during some down times, I think my opinion of him in public and private continues to grow.
If he gives me a raise I’ll post more praises like this one.
– There’s no place like New York City.
– I love my wife so much, and being away from her for 4 days was like slowly dying. Seeing her was like living again.
Next time, I’ll blog about my flight home, an eventful trip which sat me next to a reality tv star and a brazilian doctor.