Just back from this particular Christian jamboree. If you've no idea what it's about, then it's a gathering of Christians from charismatic churches (mainly Anglican) for worship, teaching and some time away together. We got roped in as a family because a group from our church (St Thomas', Lancaster) go each year. It seemed a good chance to spend time with people and get to know them better, especially when you are camping together.
I've never been a great fan of the big meeting thing. The same feeling came to me when I went to Spring Harvest. Lots and lots of enthusiastic Christians in a confined space, all eager for a bit of a 'high' was never something that appealed to me. I can appreciate that if you are in a sleepy little church and struggle week by week, then it can be a welcome and refreshing break, but I prefer things less staged and more about building relationships between people.
The content concerned me a bit this year, too. I usually have a few issues with some of the smaller seminar sessions, especially if people start getting a bit stridently conservative, or seem to be pushing people to expect certain kinds of experiences of God. However, this year we had some interesting main stage addresses, which I heard bits of on the radio relay. One was particularly 'pentecostal' in style - quite forceful about healing in a way I wasn't happy with. Not having heard the whole talk and the context of what I heard, I shouldn't comment further, but the bit I stumbled across worried me a bit. There was also another address from someone who was very 'wacky'. I suppose you have to be careful in criticism - after all St Francis, St Cuthbert et al. would have also appeared very wacky to our sceptical western eyes. It was interesting that a lot of other people felt similarly, but perhaps a little less confident in venturing opinions.
This year I worked on the radio team, which turned out to be great fun. Some of it was just minding the shop while seminars and talks are relayed to people unable to attend the meetings. However, through the day there were shows with music, banter and interviews of people who were on-site speaking or staffing the variety of stalls from Christian organisations. I was a bit nervous beforehand, as it goes out over about a 20 mile radius, but once I got on the desk and in front of a mic. , I felt completely at home. Got some good feedback on the shows I did, too.
It was strange listening to a bit of a Radio 2 show on Saturday on the way home, with an interview, a record and a song in the studio thinking that a colleague and I had been doing exactly the same genre of content the day before, albeit on a much lower budget and in more difficult circumstances. Maybe a new vocation beckons!
Anyway, it's all over now. It was very very wet for most of the time, but at last we are all drying out and feeling clean again. Now's the time for a bit of reflection on how to feed back some of my thoughts into the leadership. Of course, they might read blogs!