Sunday, July 20, 2008

Reflections on Getsmart 08

Last night I went, for the first time in years, to a night at the popular Getsmart conference organised by Andrew and Janine Kubala.

The first thing that I was forced to notice was that it certainly hasn’t become less popular in the 3 or 4 years since I last went. When my friend said they were lining up at 5pm for the 7 o’clock session I knew it was going to be crazy. Sure enough I turned up at 20 past 5 to find the queue extending back a hundred metres or so. The line was full of excited, sparkly-eyed youngsters who obviously weren’t shy, so the first thing to say is that it is exciting to see this conference that is clearly about God’s business inspiring so many future leaders.

Anyway, my background with this conference is slightly turbulent. I was once one of those excited, sparkly-eyed youngsters. After a few conferences, however, I became more and more wary of the hype that goes along with this. I heard more and more stories (and saw them in my own life) of people going along and being powerfully inspired, only to return to school and see no real or lasting change, which bred doubt and cynicism in my mind.

So going into this conference, my hopes and prayers were that I could remain discerning and critical, able to tell truth from error, and between human hype and spirit empowered fervour. I also wanted to balance that with being aware of and getting into what the Holy Spirit was up to. Conversely, I didn’t want to miss something the Holy Spirit was genuinely working in that place. The two sides of discernment and excitement seem in conflict to me though. Somehow I don’t think they should be, but I don’t know how that can be the case. I would like to read Jonathon Edward’s The Religious Affections which I hope has some insight into this. In fact if anyone has read it and has something to contribute I would appreciate hearing it!

I shall (hopefully) write more on the Getsmart experience tomorrow….

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