a new response for me to a crappy speaker
Tuesday August 23rd 2005, 6:57 am
Filed under: faith, church

i’ve certainly heard plenty of really crappy speakers in my church experience (sometimes by merely listening to my own talks!). i mean, we usually have one or two at our conventions who really miss the mark. so it was no suprise or reason to judge the event that soulsurvivor had an awful speaker last night (though that is certainly only my opinion - most here seen to think he hit it out of the park. he was a skilled and funny communicator, but his message could be loosely summarized as:
“you suck. you sin all the time. this makes god mad, and you don’t want to end up like jonah. now who would like to come forward to repeat this prayer after me and become a christian? come on. come on. come on.”

so, i started doing what i normally do in this kind of situation: stewing, pissing and moaning, judging, being hyper-critical. but something weird happened to me. i started crying. not big croc tears or heaving. just surprising moistness catching me off guard in the corners of my eyes. it was really ticking me off, because i wanted to get on with stewing and feeling superior. but the little buggers wouldn’t go away.

so i started praying - not knowing what i was praying about. i think i started by praying some nasty things about the speaker. but eventually i discovered (it wasn’t really my intention) that god would protect students from the spiritually damaging message, and, that god would still somehow work in and through it, despite it (really, if anything good comes from my talks, It’s basically the same process).

it sure felt like a more helpful way to spend 45 minutes than in stewing!

anyhow, this is probably a “no, duh” to everyone but me. but it was a good growth moment for me.

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I’ve been that ‘crappy speaker’ way too many times. Although I hope my recent attempt was a bit more relevant to the listeners. Sunday night I returned from speaking at a weekend for young people in Kinsale, County Cork. It was draining and invigorating all the same. What a privilege to present Christ (as best we can) to younger generations. I am humbled that God has allowed me the opportunity to see a desire coming to fruition. That desire is to be a part of Ireland reconnecting with it’s past as the land of Saints, Scholars (& Artists) and reclaiming that title. I think I see it happening. Woo Hoo!
Marko, God’s been up to a lot in your life this past week. The fires of toil & trouble are giving rise to the opportunity for a greater depth of spiritual formation. We all have these opportunities but rarely do we choose to actively, persistently engage in that process - we miss God for the muck. Being in the middle of a difficult formative period is an ‘unpleasant’ kind of knowing on one level, and a superbly divine intercourse (used loosely) on the other. You are blessed brother. Keep in the thick of it! On a side note, I am very encouraged and excited to see that YS has a spiritual director (or Anam Cara - Irish for ‘Soul Friend’) on staff. I’d love to see this becoming the norm for Christians - a more intentional engagement with others in the life-long pursuit of the One who pursues us.
Every blessing . . .

Comment by Shane Tucker 08.23.05 @ 9:07 am

Your blog is so cool to read because of your honesty and humility in writing it.

I felt this way at Aquire the Fire this year.

Comment by Clint Walker 08.23.05 @ 8:00 pm

Thanks, Mark…when I read your blog, it inspires me to look for God in all things in my life and to search more for what He has for me in even the most frustrating parts of life. Maybe spiritual direction has helped you with this and I’m hoping it will for me, too. Anyways,…thanks!

Comment by lori rey 08.24.05 @ 12:04 am

thanks tony and lori.

Comment by marko 08.24.05 @ 5:55 am

Once I confronted a big name speaker on his integrity. He shared an “icebreaker” story (i.e. it’s supposed to make kids like him and thin he’s cool for an old guy) as though it happened the night before. That was great the first time my kids heard him… I actually believed it, too. Flash foward 6 months later and my kids and I were hearing him speak again… using the same story… as though it happened the night before.

His topic? “Integrity.”

I was ticked… my kids totally checked out of that session. Afterwards I prayed up a healthy spirit and I went to talk with him. Even though I shared some honest frustrations, I felt I was able to actually be gentle about it.

Man… the guy flipped! He said, “That’s just comedy! Everyone knows that! Don’t give me that crud.” After a few more heated statements, he left me.

Like you, I wondered… “My kids are damaged!”

Then I realized… they aren’t “my” kids to begin with. I know Whose kids they are…

and He’s the One with the band-aids.

Comment by Tony Myles 09.04.05 @ 2:46 am

[…] roy crowne is the exec director of british YFC, and we’ve had a partnership of one sort or another with them for most of my years at ys. so roy and i have intersected and interacted dozens of times over the years. i’m looking forward to skipping the one speaker i can’t stand to go to a pub with roy tonite. […]

Pingback by ysmarko 08.16.06 @ 10:49 am

Once about 10 yrs ago, you spoke at a Jr High Camp at Forest Home (plot point: I was there too). You used many many toilet and vomit illustrations and I thought, “how crappy.”

Of course later, I began to see how effective toilets and vomit are in discussing the Gospel, so I owe you an apology. And for the years that I used the God is Like a…books I shared my confession a gajillion times.

So sorry for the good ol’ fashioned Christian slandering and well, thanks for the um…fluid illustrations, fantastic resources and wicked cool blog as well! Have a wonderful rest of your trip.

Comment by chris 08.17.06 @ 3:42 pm

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