Okay, Here’s A Look

Passion Regional, Chicago. A collected assortment of musicians.

To be honest, I was surprised at how plain the formula was. And how long the sessions were. Without understanding the culture (just a little bit) that supports some of the structure and content, it would be easy to make the mistake of assuming that there is a lot more ego involved here that what I really think there is.

One of the main session presentations was John Piper on video. I was interested to see whether or not this as a teaching format could sustain the attention of the crowd. To my amazement, it seemed to – but perhaps this was more to do with the nature of the crowd. We’ve discussed this as an option for possible connections between camps, as a way of connecting into broader community. I’m not convinced, although I can think of a bunch of ways to experiment with making it work. However..I’m not prepared to experiment with it at the Eastercamp platform just yet.

I’m going to steal a word from Marko, because he supplied the word I had struggled to find. At the Passion conference were a bunch of people already sold-out to the Passion concept. So the ongoing promotion of the movement and values-therein seemed overkill. The audience were “compliant”. They would have loved whatever was dished up.

I was surprised at the lack of interaction between the content presented, the presenters and Passion ‘reps’. The volunteers were amazing, but I struggled to see obvious connection points between the presentations and the people, except for the easy laughs. I suspect that this would have been a dramatically different experience in breakout sessions and workshops, had it been a fuller programme.

I did really really like the consistency of response options. I thought it made it simple, clear and straightforward, although again, it seemed like there was a lack of intermediary leadership and response teams to people. The difference between a movement where your key constituency is actually nameless and faceless to a certain extent.

There’s every possibility that I’m sounding overly harsh. I don’t mean to in anyway. I thought there was some great teaching – particularly Louie’s rendition of Beth Moore’s pitdweller material. The “Do Something Now” project was simple and effective. I learnt a lot from watching Chris Tomlin work with the band at various points. I have a lot of respect and love for the passion of Passion, but I was really hoping to come away with a much clearer understanding of what about this movement is capturing people.

I think I certainly got a much clearer picture of the kind of people that Passion has really won over.

The tunnel between concourses at O’Hare International.

The palisades of Concourse B.

The Fifth Corner of the World.
There is a billboard advertisement to the left of Gate E7, Concourse E at O’Hare International. It says “O’Hare, waiting to take you to the fifth corner of the world.” I simply contend that O’Hare is the fifth corner of the world. So far this trip I have spent 40.5 hours in transit, 7.5 of them at O’Hare. No other airports smell the same. The place has it’s own culture, even down to the pilots, cabin crews and airport staff that share the concourses with passengers. There is a soft, smiling side to O’Hare that I haven’t seen at LAX, or Sydney, San Francisco, Indianapolis or even St Louis. Definitely not at home… it’s a sense that these people working in a different time & place from everybody else, in a world called O’Hare. Everything new is built on top of something old. The shoeshine stations in the midst of neon light sculpture. The relaying of new pipes under the feet of Concourse F. The older red on white lightbox signs of the 80’s, next to hanging clocks from the 90’s and the placid United blue in squares, circles, constant reinventions placed next to each other in four different upholstery patterns, five different seats.

O’Hare feels lived in, even though the bathrooms are crisp and pristine. The floors are clean, the information up to date. The waiting staff are friendly in the restaurants and diners, where there’s enough variety that you could hibernate within the terminal for several days not running out of places to eat, new bathroom facilities to try and books to read. It’s a comfortable kind of place so strangers feel comfortable to make conversation over sportscasts and peanut shells.

So I like it. Which is good – because I’ll be stopping there at least one more time before I go home, my trip to the USA comprising of eleven flights with four landings at O’Hare in total.

The falling leaves.

Indiana is one of the most beautiful places on earth, where I’ve only just begun to explore it. This is my favourite time of the year too, because the colours are perfect. I was out walking on Tuesday and I walked into the glade of the Maple Ridge Trail. There, the sun was slowly seeping out of a polaroid blue sky, letting the warm glow of light come in through yellow and gold sinew on the trees. The slowest breeze I have ever felt came dancing through the trees with a crinkle crush like someone rolling tin foil and baking paper together.

One by one, the leaves started to let go their trembling hold on tiny branches and sink their way to the earth below. It was a slow, gentle, swirling dance that let each leaf fall and play with the light above and below. There was no sense to it, it was just like being caught literally in a sunshower of falling leaves. The romance in the air was heady and sweet – almost reminding me of crushed kowhai leaves at home. On and on the breeze came through as I wandered my way through, as if my walking was enough to stir the wind in my trail. A confetti of autumn in slow motion raindrops.