I spent the weekend at Jubilee, the annual student conference of the Coalition for Christian Outreach. Jubilee has a great reputation for emphasizing the theology of vocation – a reputation which was confirmed, by the way – but I didn’t expect the high level of fun generated by the conference. Saturday evening featured a hilarious (and moving) monologue from actress and writing Susan Isaacs (author of Angry Conversations with God) and a can’t-possibly-be-true-except-he-brought-pictures talk from Bob Goff, president of Restore International and good friend of Don Miller.
Photo: Byron Borger at last year’s Jubilee, but he looked basically the same this year. From livingjubilee via Flickr. Click for a larger image.
Occasionally, these streams of fun and vocation combined, such as the first night. In quick succession, seven speakers presented pecha kucha, a speed-presentation format of 20 slides, changing automatically every 20 seconds, whether the speaker is ready or not. The pecha kucha presenters included:
- David Greusel, an architect speaking on the connection between architecture and faith, especially what he called “the lie” that “secular work” doesn’t matter in God’s kingdom on earth (Greusel was the lead designer of Pittsburgh’s PNC Park).
- Gideon Strauss, President of the Center for Public Justice, who testified to the application of Isaiah 58 in our current society.
- Leroy Barber, president of Mission Year, speaking about Green My Hood, a program which identifies the abuse of the environment in poor urban neighborhoods and looks for ways to bring good creation stewardship into the inner city.
- Good friend of ESN Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books, who said that “part of this conference is learning to read deeply,” and reminded us that the word “disciple” means “student.”
Lord, let me be as passionate about my calling as Byron Borger is about his.
More about Jubilee and some upcoming articles after the jump
I took advantage of the gathering of so many good Christian thinkers to conduct a few short interviews, which will appear on the ESN blog over the next week or two. I interviewed:
- David Naugle, professor of philosophy at Dallas Baptist University and author of (most recently) Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: The Deep Meaning of Happiness. If you are anywhere near Dallas, you MUST check out David’ incredible line-up of speakers for Dallas Baptist University’s Friday Symposium series.
- Derek Melleby, director of the College Transition Initiative at the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding, and author of The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness
- Jimmy Lin, an ESN member and “medical and scientific doxologist” pursuing an MD/PhD at Johns Hopkins
I ran out of time over the weekend, but I also plan to interview Alissa Wilkinson, editor of The Curator, assistant editor of Comment, and lecturer at The King’s College. There might be a few more interviews coming out of the weekend, too.
Speaking of Comment: this is a terrific publication from the Canadian think tank Cardus. Comment’s concerns overlap greatly with ESN’s, and I spent a very enjoyable evening in conversation with several Cardus staff about our common interest in raising the bar of Christian dialogue about culture.
Sunday morning, I hosted a breakfast for students interested in graduate school or anyone interested in ESN. We had a great turnout, especially for 7:30am on the final day of a conference! Fourteen in total, ranging from undergraduates still discerning God’s call to doctoral students to para-academic ministries like the Chesterton House and the Christian Studies Center at UK. You can expect to hear a lot more about these in the next few weeks.
About the author:
The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.