Day one started with General Session 1 at 1:00.
First up - Mercy Me.
I don't really care about them all that much.
The highlight of their show was when Bart Millard said, "I know we're kind of known as the make you cry, funeral song guys, with I Can Only Imagine and Homesick. But what we'd really like to do is write a really upbeat song for a birth, or a graduation or something!"
Next up - Francis Chan.
I had never heard Francis Chan before.
Tell you what I'm gonna do. I'm going to initiate something here. A new little scale I'm going to call "The Bell Curve". Last time I came to Nashville for NYWC was the first time I ever heard Rob Bell speak. It was a life-altering experience. Literally. So, using Rob's NYWC rookie appearance as the standard (the 100%, if you will), I will grade General Session speakers accordingly.
That being said, Francis Chan gets an 88%. He was phenomenal. Worth the price of admission. He was so good, you wondered why they didn't save him for later in the week, when everybody has worn themselves out and decide they've seen enough General Session speakers, and that they'd be better served by playing Rock Band in the Exhibit Hall.
I am buying the DVD of Francis Chan, and showing it to everybody I can get to sit still for 30 minutes.
After that (if you can believe it) - Crowder.
What can you say about the David Crowder Band (DCB)? They're brilliant. Turntables, keytar, banjo, and that awesome Guitar Hero controller they rigged to play actual music. Not only are they a great band, but they put on the best stage show I think I've ever seen live. U2 is the best stage show on earth, but I've never seen them live - only live on video or at the movies.
I can't seem to get enough of the DCB. The Bell Curve isn't really intended for bands, but if it was, the DCB would get a 95%.
I shot a video of them on my camera singing Hank Williams Sr.'s I Saw The Light...
It was such a long day, I don't remember what Seminar I went to next, or if I even did. Plus who cares what seminar you went to when General Session 2 was next and it had not 1;
but 3 speakers,
PLUS ANOTHER ROUND OF THE DCB!
DCB was brilliant AGAIN, and the speakers for Gen. Sess. 2 were:
Shane Claiborne, who talked about the need to live simply and have new eyes to see the poor, marginalized, and oppressed in our world.
Dude is a freak, looks like a cross between Shaggy, Rob Bell, and Predator, and cackles like somebody dropped a house on his sister.
Andrew Marin, a straight white dude who is living incarnationally in the Chicago neighborhood of Boys Town. He did a wonderful (if not a little self-serving) job convincing us of the need to reach out in love to the gay and lesbian community, and gave some compelling examples of redemptive work in the gay community that did not include trying to make gay people straight.
He also taught us that the word "homosexual" is offensive to gay and lesbian folks because basically it's too accurate a description of what they do, and that we should drop the word from our vocabularies.
Tony Campolo - everybodys favorite crazy grandpa who happens to be a preacher/professor. Tony Campolo - who was tragically separated at birth from Lewis Black, who is clearly his twin.
It's funny that on Campolo's website, he's identified as "the positive prophet of red-letter Christianity", when his message to us was to go back and re-read Revelation 18 and 19, in light of the fact that America is Babylon the great. In fact, all dominant societies are Babylon, and are doomed to fall. He challenged us to decide to be, and to shape our students to be the type of people who are prepared to live not in Babylon, which is falling as we speak, but in the Kingdom of Heaven. Not the most positive message, but certainly very poignant, and thought provoking. Usually I shy away from those messages that compare America (or anything, really) to something in Revelation. But just YOU try it, and see what you think when you remember what's going on with our economy, and the economies of the world.
The official convention artist paints throughout the course of each General Session.
During today's Sessions, he painted the following paintings that are freaking brilliant:
That's enough for Day 1.
More on Francis Chan later... I'm still processing his talk, but I am certain I will have thoughts to discuss.
Next up, Day 3 - the laziest day so far.