Tag Archives: Together for the Gospel

Dispatches from T4G: Day Two–Cupcakes and Curses

Quick thoughts from another very long and very rich day.

1. The opportunity to connect with fellow like-minded Christians is simply breathtaking at a conference of the magnitude of T4G. If you have not attended a conference of this sort, I would encourage you to do so in the future. In the past few days, I have seen dozens of old friends. I’ve been able to talk with many people whose writing and work I admire. I’ve met total strangers who I had an instant bond with. Conferences of this sort (and the Gospel Coalition, among others) are a rich treat. Consider going to an event of this sort if you have not, even if you don’t know many folks who will be going. It will be good for your soul.

2. R. C. Sproul gave a masterful talk on curse motif of the Bible. As a speaker, he understands how to use every word, and every one seems carefully chosen. He is one of a rare breed of speakers who does not simply convey meaty content, but who does so in a textured, almost narratival way such that truth is not simply caught but felt. When he was talking about the idea of the sacrificial scapegoat, you could almost see the goat trotting away to its death in the wild. I would recommend that everyone listen to this talk when it comes out on mp3. You will be stirred in a way that is rare in this age of dumbed-down, simplistic communication, when rhetoric (and theology-fueled rhetoric) is largely a lost art.

3. There is nothing like hearing 5000-6000 people singing “And Can it Be”. Wow.

4. If you do not know much about Covenant Life pastor (and I Kissed Dating Goodbye author) Joshua Harris, you should. Simply put, he is perhaps the most humble, kind man I think I’ve ever met. I talked with him and a few others for a bit today, and he listened to me like I was telling him the secret formula for long life. Soak up whatever you can of his ministry–he is a man I think is marked by God for his humble piety.

5. The dark-chocolate cupcakes at T.G.I. Friday’s are sensational. Thanks, Paul Curtis–it was great to devour them with you.

6. I don’t want to make you jealous, but tomorrow morning I have the privilege of waking up and listening to 1) John Piper on sacrifice and 2) CJ Mahaney on pastoral ministry. Honestly, friends, this is slated to be one of the richest mornings I think that I (and 5000 of my closest friends) will see.

Now, if you add some cupcakes to said morning…

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Dispatches from T4G: Day One–Band of Bloggers and Our Own Pastor-Comedian

I’m writing this at an extremely advanced hour and am nearing my crash point. However, the T4G conference has been so encouraging, so moving, that it’s hard not to be energized in body by the refreshment of spirit I’ve received.

There’s much to say, but I’ll just give you a numbered list of interesting moments and thoughts from the first day of the conference.

1. It is good fun to watch Mark Dever lead a crowd of people. He’s this odd combination of brainy nerve, jovial demeanor, heartfelt piety, contrarian pique, and happy emcee. He manages to move you and make you laugh within the same minute. Even from afar, one can see that he is a naturally gifted leader. Some people just have it.

2. C. J. Mahaney could have been a world-famous comedian. He is able to bring out the humor from even the driest of crowds and speakers. When you’re pals with John Piper, John MacArthur and Ligon Duncan, this is a decided benefit, at least to those watching you be pals with the aforementioned men (as the T4G audience does during the panel discussions). C. J. is downright hilarious. I love watching him go after people. He’s a decided blend of gentle mockery and outright mockery. The balance is fun to observe.

3. The Band of Bloggers event put on by Timmy Brister was a smash. Despite being a UPS worker and a full-time student, Timmy engineered a terrific mini-conference on Christian blogging. I am repeatedly impressed by Timmy’s drive and ability to take on heavy responsibility and succeed, and this event was no exception. If you are not familiar with Band of Bloggers, check out the website. In coming days, there will be an opportunity for bloggers to join a Christian blogging community, which is great for connection to others, exposure, and the like. Check the website in the next several weeks for more information.

4. Great talks today by Ligon Duncan on systematic theology and Thabiti Anyabwile on racial identity. I’m sure you’ll be hearing a good deal about them on other blogs. Tomorrow we’ll be hearing from John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, Al Mohler, and Mark Dever. It’s a tough life here at the T4G conference.

See you tomorrow for another late-night posting.

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T4G Week at Consumed: Coming Up, Dispatches from the Conference

I’m heading off to sunny Louisville, KY with my wife and a friend. I have very little time to blog (none, actually), so I’m writing to let you know to check back in throughout the week. I’ll be writing about the Together for the Gospel conference and reflecting on the various talks that will be given by men like Piper, Mahaney, Dever and Mohler.

This is the closest thing to an “on-the-road” feature you’re going to get at consumed. Be sure to check in and find out what’s going on at a conference that seeks to exalt the gospel and to build a sense of organic evangelical unity around it. Here’s the blurb about the conference from the 2006 Statement of Faith–it’s a great starting point:

“We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause – to stand together for the Gospel. We are convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many churches and among many who claim the name of Christ. Compromise of the Gospel has led to the preaching of false gospels, the seduction of many minds and movements, and the weakening of the church’s Gospel witness.”

See you throughout the week!

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The Week-est Link, March 28. 2008: Blogging Tournaments, Disney World, Blog Gems, and Violence

1. Whew. It’s been quite a week here at consumed. This little blog has seen a relative avalanche of comments due to some controverted content. I’m really thankful for those who have weighed in, and it was interesting to hear another side of the Billy Wolfe saga. Thanks again to everyone who wrote in. I don’t have time to respond to comments, but I read every one of them, and I’m often pushed to think by them (as you can tell if you read my frequent follow-up posts).

2. Said at Southern has a terrific March Madness-like contest going on right now (replete with brackets and all!) that has the dual purpose of 1) finding out which SAS-related blog is the big dog on the block and 2) giving exposure to unknown bloggers and linking them to better-known bloggers. It’s a terrific idea, though Tony Kummer and Timmy Brister are known for terrific ideas. The “Madness” is in its second round, and somehow, inconceivably, consumed made it to the second round. Sadly, folks, we’re currently getting smashed. Oh well–I suppose this blog is something like NCAA cinderella Siena. At least, like them, we made it to the second round!

3. Together for the Gospel has multiple videos up from the 2006 conference. They will be well worth the time it takes to load and watch them. I was there to witness most of this content in person, and I can say that it made an impact on me. Less than three weeks to go ’til 08!

4. Slate ran a hilarious series exploring the weird sub-galaxy of Disney World this week. Not everything is nice (or rated PG), and I don’t love the paranoid, mocking nature of some of the author’s writing, but he also unearths some pretty realistic insights about this strange place. I don’t know about you, but animatronic robots give me the absolute creeps.

5. Introducing a new feature on this blog: “Blog Gems”. I want to bring to your attention worthy blogs that you may not have heard of. I’ll do this on Fridays, and I’ll generally only give you one link so as not to water this feature down. Today’s Blog Gem: Redeeming History, a blog written by Trinity Evangelical Divinity School PhD Student Mark Rogers. This blog, written by a very sharp Historical Theology student, is devoted to spreading the riches of Christian history. It is well-written, well-researched, and spiritually profitable. Mark is a good friend and a future scholar, and I could not encourage you more to check out his young but very good blog. I may not have many readers or much “virtual clout”, but many people have been very kind to me in giving my blog attention (Tony, Timmy, Justin Taylor), and I want to extend that kindness to others. Email me at owendstrachan [at] yahoo.com if you think you might qualify here.

6. Last words on the violence issue (I promise). Let’s cut to the chase: I think it’s rather foolish to think that one needs to watch shows devoted to acts of brutal, needless violence in order to train one’s son to be a robustly masculine protector. We need not freak out about violence, but neither should we think that the worst iterations of it (i.e., meaningless, needless violence) serve as the best instructors of our children. That’s just silly. If you want to cultivate a strong man, a good man, a man who knows his body and can use it for good, train him in biblical truth. Teach him. Show him how to use his body. Wrestle with him. Teach him about safe, bounded, harmless (relatively) violence. Allow him to participate in contact sports, albeit those (in my opinion) that do not glorify or rely on violence (e.g., basketball, baseball). In these ways and others, you will acquaint your son with his body, teach him to use it productively (an important word, no?), and ensure that he does not equate physicality with hurting people–which so many boys today, whether Christian or otherwise, do. This is productive training.

It is silly to think that we need to expose children to bloodsport to train them up. Simply put: we do not. Our children need not be awkward, unexposed to physical contact and play, but neither do they need to love violence and crave it to be robustly masculine men and protectors of others. Those who argue along these lines are overextending the bounds of credulity, in my humble opinion (though I appreciate my friend Reid’s thoughtful piece on this subject, even if we do come to different conclusions).

My father never watched a brutal fighting match with me, but he trained me to be a protector. I never played football, or wrestled, or watched brutal combat fights (either real or otherwise), and I never relished violence. I wasn’t a wuss, though; I loved sports, and I liked some degree of contact. My father oversaw all this, and he exuded a spirit of tenderness toward the women in his life, being primarily his wife and daughter. I never had any doubt that Dad would protect us to the death, and I don’t have any doubt that I would do the same for my family. I am thankful that he did not think that I had to become hungry for brutality to develop this instinct. He didn’t think that, and I didn’t need it. I simply needed what we all need: an unapologetically masculine, physically capable, compassionate man in my life, showing me on a daily basis what it means to be a strong but restrained, able but careful, manly but gentle man of God.

That, and not any form of violence-glorifying media, is what we need more of. Not UFC, but good dads. Not TKOs, but good dads. Not wrestling that hurts, or football that brings concussions, or chest-beating fury, but good, godly, wise, masculine dads.

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Registration is Open for the Band of Bloggers Event in April 2008

I’m pleased to make this announcement on behalf of the Band of Bloggers event to be held in April on the day the Together for the Gospel (T4G) convention begins: Tuesday, April 15, 2008, from 11:30am-1:30pm. This event will be concluded before the first session of T4G, which begins at 2:30. Below is information about the conference written by event founder Timmy Brister which I’ve taken directly from the Band of Bloggers blog, which I encourage you to check out.

2008 Band of Bloggers
“The Gospel Trust”
Tuesday, April 15, 2008 :: (11:30 – 1:30)
The Galt House (Louisville, KY)
Tim Challies, Justin Taylor, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Mark Lauterbach

“After a long process of working out the details, the 2008 Band of Bloggers fellowship is open for registration! The window of registration will be from February 18-March 31, 2008 (a total of six weeks). So be sure to help us get the word out to all the bloggers attending T4G this year.

A few things to note:

1. $15 for Registration

The Galt House (where the T4G conference was held in 2006) has agreed to host this year’s meeting and will be catering the attendees with a boxed lunch. Those of you who have been around downtown Louisville know how difficult it is to find a place to eat, moreover, a place that is affordable. We are committed to making the cost as affordable as possible, but given that we are working with no budget or any outside financial support, a small registration fee is required. Included in this cost is lunch and other treats TBA. If you plan to attend and cannot afford the $15, please email us at thegospeltrust@gmail.com.

2. Limited Capacity

The current conference room will allow us to seat approximately 150 people. Therefore, it is important that you register early. If perchance, we exceed this capacity in short order, we will pursue the possibility of a larger meeting room. We would like to make this open to as many as possible, so please do not procrastinate in signing up!

3. Location, Directions, and Time

The Galt House is located just one block away from the Kentucky Convention Center and can be accessed indoors (less than a five minute walk). For those traveling from the airport, I have created a Google Map and have pin-pointed the locations for both the Galt House and Convention Center. For those of you concerned that you will miss the first session of T4G, it does not begin until 2:30, and Band of Bloggers is scheduled to end at 1:30 p.m. that afternoon.

The purpose of this event is to provide all attending bloggers of the 2008 Together for the Gospel conference an opportunity to meet, fellowship, and engage in a fruitful, gospel-centered discussion with some of the leading bloggers today. It is our desire that you to be refreshed personally, connected corporately, and fueled Christocentricly. May the Lord use this time to burn in our hearts a love for the gospel and for one another.”

If the conference panelists do not show up, I may give a lecture on one of the following topics:

  • “Successfully Starting a Blog to Be Read By Your Parents, Best Friend, and the Occasional Total Stranger”
  • “Elite Marketing for Bloggers with Readership Below Twenty People”
  • “Lessons in Insignificance: A Multi-Part Lecture on How To Pontificate as if Someone Is Actually Reading Your Blog”
  • “Understanding Demographics: How to Attract the Coveted “Totally Random Search” Group to Your Blog, and How to Convince Them to Stay Once They’ve Realized Their Error”
  • “Magic & Light: Or, Writing Blogs on Days When You Have Nothing to Say and No One’s Going to Read it Anyway”
  • “How I Successfully Doubled My Readership”–or, “How to Take Your Readership Past the Dreaded Twenty-Person Mark in Just Under Two and a Half Years”

So there you go. You better hope those panelists show up, eh?

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Introducing the 2008 Band of Bloggers Event

I have a special opportunity to let you know about a special event coming up this April in Louisville. The editors of Said at Southern, led by Timmy Brister, are hosting a lunch and panel discussion on Christian blogging called the “Band of Bloggers”. Here’s the blurb straight from Brister’s website:

“With less than a month before the first Together for the Gospel Conference, I kicked around the idea of having a gathering of bloggers to fellowship together and talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The idea was well-received with 70+ bloggers in attendance which, according to some estimations, was the largest evangelical blogging meet-up to date.

Many of you know that the 2008 Together for the Gospel Conference is fast approaching, and many have been asking whether there will be another Band of Bloggers fellowship to coincide with the conference. I am happy to announce that indeed, plans have been made for the 2008 Band of Bloggers fellowship, which will take place during lunch (11:30-1:30) on Tuesday, April 14, 2008 at the Galt House in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Guest speakers and panelists for next year’s event include Tim Challies, Justin Taylor, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Mark Lauterbach–all men who I admire not just for their blogging but more so their passion for the gospel. The theme for next year’s conference, “The Gospel Trust,” will focus on what it means to be servants of God and stewards entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have created a new website specifically geared for the Band of Bloggers where you can find more information including bio sketches of the panel, articles, interviews, podcasts, and for those interested, registration for the event next year. The best way to stay informed on all the future developments regarding BoB is to subscribe to its feed.”

My take on this event: I want to encourage you both to come to this event and to publicize it. It will be both helpful and encouraging to hear men like Taylor and Challies speak about God-glorifying blogging. Also, those who come will have a great chance to connect with fellow Christian bloggers. There is no other event at which you can learn from and meet so many bloggers driven to glorify God through their writing. And remember–BoB takes place just before the T4G conference, and does not conflict with the conference schedule. Pass the word on!

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John MacArthur in Stretchy Pants

I’ve been on the road for a few days, but I’m back, and I’m here to give you what you were previously lacking in life: a picture of Dr. John MacArthur, renowned preacher of the Word of God, in what one can only call “stretchy pants” in a post-Nacho Libre world. With this fifth promo ad for the Together for the Gospel conference, I think we can all agree that this basic “lack” now fulfilled, we can all move on with our lives, and pretend as if none of this ever happened.

I just returned from a trip to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. I went to check out the school and to host a conference for the religious history scholars there entitled, “What Marsden and Noll Don’t Know, and Only a Humble MDiv Student Can Tell You.” The conference went very well, thanks, and I’ll be publishing the talks in a book later this year. If you believe all this, then you need to look once more at Dr. MacArthur in stretchy pants and give yourself a good shock to wake yourself up.

I understand that my posting has been a bit shoddy this last little while, but everything should improve in days to come. Thanks for sticking with Consumed, and I’m looking forward to sharing some great material I’ve compiled in days to come. And no, none of it involves spandex.

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