I just got back late last night from the Christian Web Conference, a gathering out at the alma mater that I’ve been involved with for several years.

While I’ve enjoyed every conference I’ve been at, this one was particularly fun for me.  I’ve spent far too much time writing lately, so setting that aside for a bit and spending time with people was thoroughly enjoyable.   I thought to close off the weekend, I’d offer a few parting thoughts and reflections.

  • John Dyer is brilliant, generous, and is going to make a huge splash with his forthcoming book.   About an hour before our respective talks, we decided to team up against Scott McClellan (who was presenting at the same time) and co-present.  That he condescended to let me join his party was an enormous blessing.  I repaid him by offering a few scattered remarks (rearranged at the last second to build off of his) that made him look even better.  But seriously, I could have fielded questions with him and interacted with him all day.  If you’re interested, DJ Chuang captured the video here (turn the speakers up).  Following John was one of the tougher things I’ve had to do.
  • Watch out for Drew Goodmanson, who quickly became one of my favorite people I’ve met through this blog.  Thoughtful, considerate, and saturated by a sense of warmth and peace, Drew is A+ material.  If you’re not reading both his and John’s blogs, you’re missing out, as they’re both going to be around shaping things for a long time to come.
  • I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with many of the participants, including my friend Tim and a few Mere-O readers.  Thanks for coming out and for participating.  It really is an honor when someone says they occasionally meander over to Mere-O.
  • Torrey students are still the best in the world, especially Chris Munekawa and his team.  What a treat it was to spend a little time with them.
  • John Mark Reynolds is still the best public speaker I’ve ever heard.
  • One of the things John pointed out in the Q&A is that our eschatology as Christians is an embodied eschatology.  We believe in the resurrection from the dead, and all that.  He used the point to suggest that as Christians using tech, we should point toward that final state.   That’s on the money.  However, the interesting aspect is that the proximity that comes from spatially co-located embodied presence is hinted at the story of the original creation as well, as God walks in the garden with Adam and Eve.
  • I tried to point out during my portion is that there is something of a depersonalizing trajectory in our current emphasis on communication and technology within the church.  In his talk, John Mark pointed out that taking strong stands inevitably leads to deeply personal attacks online from the lunatic fringes.  However, these personal attacks are exacerbated and made more plausible by the depersonalizing nature of many of our current tools.  Easier to rip on Rebecca Black, for instance, when not sitting in the same room as her.  And here I think the only thing that helps is actual presence together in the same place.

If there’s interest, I will post a version of the notes from the talk I didn’t give later this week.  Just let me know in the commments.

Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

  • “Torrey students are still the best in the world.”

    Forgivable hyperbole. :-)

    I’m glad you had fun at the conference, Matt.

  • You are too kind. The pleasure was assuredly mine.

  • As someone still trying to digest the discussion on Saturday, after being there and watching DJ’s video again, I would love to see your notes.

  • If only there were a conference governing body to whom I could file a formal protest against you and Dyer. It was bad enough that we were all slated at the same time without you two going all Wonder Twins on me.