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Author Topic: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.  (Read 4915 times)

stephendare

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Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« on: January 23, 2014, 03:36:48 PM »
Ok, I am officially registered and present at the 28th Annual Jacksonville Pastor's Conference.

The Conference begins today and extends until Sunday, and will feature speakers like Mac Brunson (who is set to speak now) Former Pastor Jerry Vines, and for readers of Metro, someone that I am very interested to hear, Tim Tebow.

I am going to rush off to hear Dr. Brunson, but will be updating very shortly.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2014, 04:06:51 PM »
Ok, Here in the main auditorium and Dr. Brunson, the Sr. Pastor of First Baptist Jacksonville, and also the hosting pastor.  His presentation is mostly a welcome and getting acquainted kind of a speech so far, but when I walked in we were treated to a presentation from Mike Huckabee's show, so we may be in for a measure of politics at the conference.

Anyways, the conference itself is shockingly unrecognized by The City itself.  There are no ambassadors from either DVI, the Visitors and Convention bureau or even the chamber of commerce despite the thousands of people associated with the event, its importance in national affairs, or even the combined wealth of the participants (evangelical pastors arent Catholic after all, so there arent any vows of poverty at play here)

This is a missed opportunity for the city I think.  And its silly I think.

I parked in the FBC parking garages and walked out across the street to meet a man who was apparently over a hundred years old for directions to the registration area.

Southern as he could possibly be, he also spoke my birth tongue.  The building I needed to be in, he informed me congenially, was cattywhumpus from the main Auditorium.

Cattywhumpus is of course southern for 'diagonally across from and also kitty cornered'.

Right at home immediately.

I walked the short distance down the abandoned streets of Downtown Jacksonville, tidy, trim, wintergrey, and somewhat spartan over to the cheerfully appointed, contemporarily architectures Children's building.

Pastors Conferences are populated by great gobs of volunteers, all of whom are infectiously hospitable and sweet.

Very dear old women, still sporting the generational hair helmets of the daugters of the Kennedy/Nixon era and svelte in crisply tailored clothes mingle with slightly edgier young women who represent the digital divide that defines the generations.

I am squared away, and given a little love by the communications people, who are aware that we are liveblogging it, and set at ease.

Four years ago, there was an informal kind of coffee, cookie and 'internet' cafe which I mostly operated out of in order to access the unreliable and sparse wifi available at the time.

Boy howdy has that situation changed.

The wifi is blazing and practically everyone  (from the centenarians down to the sassy indie girls) is on a mobile device.

In fact there is another visible generational divide going on with the pastors themselves.

The old siverbacks, replete with bossy, boxy suits a saltpork padded backsides and shoulders are sporting bibles large enough to choke any jonah inspired whale that might try and swallow them.

King James has never been so generously represented through paper largesse as in the persons of these older horn rimmed pastors, with their silvering hair and their punchy speaking styles

The younger pastors, a leaner-- more vegetable eating kind of species-- is largely equipped with ipad and tablet interfaces with the Gospel.  Many of them have tasteful little note pads, just in case they need to write something down, but few of them have the luggage sized bibles of their elders.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2014, 04:09:57 PM »
Anyways, this year, the cafe area is in the main registration lobby, and it is decidedly uptempo from four years ago.

Cookies, tea and coffee are served.  Also unsweetened tea.

At each table there are sweet sunny baptist seniors who are absolutely delighted to help you with the refreshments.

We watch the rest of the latecomers as they hurriedly sign in at get their passes and dinner tickets.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 04:14:10 PM »
Interestingly Dr. Vines will be speaking at the conference. 

And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2014, 04:21:12 PM »
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2014, 04:36:47 PM »
Brunson is compelling, and is speaking from the Old Testament.  Actually some of my favorite stories, for obvious reasons.

Balaam and the she ass leads into a discussion about circumcision, oathbreaking and the trials of Moses.


Quote
Numbers 22:21-35

[21] And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.

[22] And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.

[23] And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

[24] But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.

[25] And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again.

[26] And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.

[27] And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.

[28] And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

[29] And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.

[30] And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.

[31] Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

[32] And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:

[33] And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 04:41:08 PM by stephendare »
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2014, 05:36:59 PM »
Well Dr. Brunson's speech is done and its dinnertime at First Baptist.

The massive dining facilities are stretched to their capacity with this crowd, and the dinner is Chicken Cordon Bleu, mixed rice, and steamed vegetables.

Fresh strawberries, strawberry aspic, french silk pie, and a lot of beverages.

Im sitting with two of the guys from Shiloh Baptist, and they are certainly enjoying the meal.

I have skipped the line for the moment. (it was literally a thousand people deep) and may find something to eat when it dwindles a bit.

A moment of reflection about Brunson's invocational speech.

It a very Baptist way, it would be hard to differentiate it from the conversation going on with the new Pope and the infrastructure of the church, and that is one of rectitude.  Always a well reasoned theme with Baptists anyways, but one rarely extended to the Pastorate.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2014, 05:46:16 PM »
The general gist is that Pastors have a code that they have to live up to, in this case, biblical law.  And they cannot hold themselves above self inspection.

Its a soild admonition and a somber way to begin the conference.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

spuwho

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2014, 07:45:58 PM »
What breakout sessions are you going too?

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2014, 11:48:42 AM »
What breakout sessions are you going too?

There is an interesting series of seminars about the churches in relationship to their urban environments, and I hope to catch tomorrows.
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stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 11:59:12 AM »
Ok, todays session of the conference has already begun, and the mood is somber after last nights introduction speeches.

Pastors have mostly all arrived now, with their retinues and families, and the wives and children are to be found in clusters all over the facility.

At the moment, they are thick on the ground in the internet cafe (which as it happens is open in the exact same spot as four years ago)  tending tho children and grandchildren.

There are some very deep, earnest southern accents being bandied about, and people are playing that favorite game of newly acquainted travellers.  Wild enthusiasm for the ability to recognize and describe teeny tiny places not on the maps that prove you know your way around a specific neck of the woods.

Its actually a game i enjoy myself, knowing that Crescent Beach is a different community from Crescent City, and that there is a community called Green Cove Springs always gives me unsupported feelings of connection to random people when I travel.

In a southern context however, the game takes on operatic proportions.  Dazzling smiles, audible gasps, deeply felt laughter and an air of discovery normally reserved for lost tribes of the amazon are exchanged over every new revelation of the hills of Dothen.

Today and tomorrow are the 'Big Days' of the conference, and people are a lot more situated to the conference and theyve had a good night's sleep since travelling yesterday.

The air is simply fraught with purpose every where you go.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 12:08:30 PM »
I must share a few impressions of the conference this year.

There is a real savvy in terms of the internal marketing and vendors and sponsors of the event.

Corporate branding and logos are simply everywhere, and the many screens throughout the facility have been deployed for the purpose of displaying corporate branding for the sponsors.

Go Israel is a big big sponsor this year, or at least one would gain that impression from the amount of display and sponsorship messages throughout the event.

And in four years, the level of quality production of the Vendor Displays has increased exponentially.

Online bible and scriptural support services, Creationism outfits, book services, training courses and christian themed merchandising have absolutely soaring kiosks set up in the galleries.

Its amazing the level of expertise, color and drama that our technology has given to almost everyone, I think.

Fifty years ago, hand lettered signs, mimeographed handouts, and construction paper displays were the norm.  It was considered a sign of extreme affluence to have custom printing and color graphics.

Now they are available for less money than the old construction paper packs used to cost.

Even in four years, the two color spot printing of the displays have given way to interactive displays backed up by video production spots that are beamed to everyone in the conference via ubiquitous video monitors.

I was stopped by an extremely gregarious and engaging woman at one of the creationist vendors.

Tall, leggy, charming, mid fifties.  She is on her way to the Amazon (again).

She has given me a dvd from one of the creationist scientists.

I assure her that I will watch it,

And of course, I will.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2014, 12:28:23 PM »
Also I would like to comment on the racial and cultural diversity at this event.

If this gathering is any indication of the rave and cultural attitudes of the Baptist congregations at large, then it is truly a multicultural and post racial experience.  Not only the attendees, but also the speakers this year represent pretty fairly the racial and cultural makeup of the United States.

There are African American, Indian American (as in from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), Pan Asians, the expected cracker mix, educated urban whites, germans, and a sprinkling of caribbean and pacific islanders.

Like the sudden diversification of Harvard a few years ago it is counterintuitive. If one were expecting a solid south, all white, over fifty, under cultured group of people, one would be sorely mistaken.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 12:30:26 PM by stephendare »
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2014, 12:41:34 PM »
If youve been paying attention to this side of the universe, in the past few years, Christian programming in original content has been a large new market.

For 12 years now, Christian Contemporary musicians have been topping charts and making the kind of sales that make local indie kids depressed when they think about the way the world works.  Obviously the source material is well tread with themes ready made for reinterpretation, but as talented musicians have turned their time and attention to the genre, it has developed a niche that is every bit as well produced and inventive as what they call 'secular' markets are producing.

Perhaps this is because of the built in emphasis on music in the regular services and programming of the evangelicals.

They were, after all, amongst the first to monetize musical albums with on air television and radio programming.

For decades it was well expected that a radio or television program would include a pitch to contribute charitably and get music records and cds in return, so actually paying christian entertainers has been built into the culture for a very long time.

Its a model frankly, that the 'secular' world could probably benefit greatly from.

Imagine if every newscast or talk show included a performance of Black Kids, and an emotional appeal at the end to support good work by donating to the cause in exchange for a CD?

Which is a preamble to what looks like a full press explansion into film and video programming and entertainment.

Amongst the kiosks downstairs, there are several new films being promoted with an evangelical resounding message.

I will check with them later to see what they are about.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Jacksonville Pastors Conference 2014 LIVEBLOG.
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2014, 01:03:13 PM »
And now it is time for the lunch in the massive dining commons of First Baptist.

There is enough business in here that every restaurant downtown would have a banner sales day.

But there was no outreach, so they will get very little of the economic benefit.

Its not like the First Baptist Staff isn't helpfully telling people about other dining options either.  But there are no menus, no promotions, no welcomes to extend from any of the downtown businesses.  Its a crying shame.

There are so many peeople in the dining room that it is overwhelmed.  There are nine seats to a table, and a hundred tables.  All of them are filled, and the line to get into the dining room is another 800 people long.

Hundreds have already dined.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love