I realize in my last post on ccda (Christian Community Development Association), I didn’t really address much of the actual conference. My lack of attendance (I pretty much attended 1 1/2 workshops and 1 plenary session) and stay at a nearby hotel probably attributed to the sparse comments about the event. Nonetheless, here are my final thoughts on my time in miami.
I can relate to the attenders of the conference. Granted, a majority of those in attendance were white, but still, the same values permeated throughout our conversations – a passionate love for Jesus, a belief that God’s Kingdom is proclaimed and acted out, and a genuine bent toward cross-cultural relationships. This isn’t to say that others don’t hold the same values, but rather that the people associated with ccda have very similar spiritual leanings.
Part of this might be because we’ve all read John Perkins, and have somehow been moved to think about issues of poverty and the gospel as a result of his writings. It’s really incredible how JP has inspired so many people to remember the poor an marginalized and take aggresive acts to serve under-served communities.
A quick funny story about JP: JP has been a great friend to NLF throughout its history, and I finally had a chance to sit down with him when he visited our church a little over a year ago. I first read JP’s With Justice for All back in 2000, and I remember being intimidated to meet the man who indirectly had a lot to do with my moving to NYC in the first place.
Fast forward to 2007, and I’m finally going to meet this legendary voice in ccda circles. So I pick him up early in the morning to take him to breakfast, and here’s how our conversation goes…
Me: “Good morning, John! It’s an honor to finally meet you. My name’s Drew and I’ll be taking you to breakfast this morning.”
JP: “Well hello there, Drew! It’s so great to meet you! Thank you so much for comin to get me.”
Me: “No problem. So where would you like to eat? There are tons of diners and other eateries here in Queens.”
JP: “Well, I really don’t want to put you out of your way. We can just go somewhere close by that’s not too expensive.”
Me: “Are you sure? It’s on the church. Is there anything in particular you had in mind?”
JP: “Mmmmm… how about Mcdonalds?”
Me: *Gasp “Mcdonalds?!”
JP: “Yeah, how about Mcdonalds? It’s close by and isn’t too expensive. Can you take me there?”
Me: “Are you sure you want to go to Mcdonalds? I’d be more than happy to take you somewhere else.” In my head I’m thinking “Are you crazy?! I’m not going to take you to Mcdonalds!! PLEASE tell me you don’t want to eat at Mcdonalds…”
JP: “No, Mcdonalds is fine. I’m just grateful you’re gonna take me to breakfast.”
I don’t need to recount more of the conversation, because in sum, we ate at Mcdonalds. I treated John Perkins, the author of 1000 books and hero to bazillion individuals, to an Egg Mcmuffin and Hash browns. With Orange Juice. At Mcdonalds.
But ya know, most who know John would say that that conversation isn’t surprising one bit… he’s one of the kindest, humblest, and gracious person I’ve ever met. So in other words, me taking him to Mcdonalds says more about him than it does about me. I hope.
I experienced information overload. This is kinda unbelievable, being that I only went to one plenary and one workshop. However, the one plenary I did attend had the following: a worship set, a 20 min talk, a video, a rap, a krump dance, another talk, a prayer and offering, another worship set, and then another talk.
Now, every single part of the service was well done (although, I must admit, I was not around for the last talk so I don’t know how it went), but by the time the offering rolled around, I needed to exit to soak in all the information I was receiving. Again, lots of excellent info and stimulation, but it was hard to process all of it.
My weakened physical acuity did not help.
I would have preferred less in the service, or at least some extended reflection/solitude time, but this may have just been me. I wonder if it may be more effective for ccda to offer less. I wonder if the constant energy at the conference mirrored the energy most of us exert working in ministry.
Next time I hope to attend without having the booth responsibilities… I wonder if that would have made for a different story for me.
With that said, the organizers did an incredible job, and the presenters that I met and heard from were quite stellar.
I love that ccda seems to be growing, and that there are so many holistically minded Christians. It’s really, really, really cool to see. I do hope this movement continues into our younger generation.
Rich and I stopped Wayne Gordon for a minute before we left. We asked him what the greatest lesson he’s learned that he could impart to a new crop of young, socially-minded, Christian leaders.
1. Make more time for God, family and friends.
2. You don’t have to figure everything out or make everything happen by tomorrow.
The lessons Wayne imparted, and the passion displayed at the conference, left me hopeful and grateful.