Archives for posts with tag: theideacamp

The theme for the upcoming Idea Camp in Las Vegas is sex.

Oh boy.

For many of us in the church, myself included, this is a really tough topic. Talking about it can be awkward, embarrassing, or confusing. Throw on top of that the vast amounts of Christians who struggle with pornography and sexual-based sin, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for sweeping this conversation under the rug as fast as possible.

However, I deeply appreciate the leadership of Charles Lee (founder of the Idea Camp) in being willing to go there because these conversations need to happen. Sex shouldn’t be some shameful thing (no matter how badly our culture has skewed things); in the light of Christ and His redemption, it can and should be a beautiful thing.

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The Idea Camp, which has just launched a new site today!

On September 27-28, 2010, The Idea Camp will be hosting an important conversation about sex, the church, the world, and ideas for good.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m uncomfortable talking about this topic. However, it is simply too important for us, as the church, to look the other way.

I love the heart behind #ICSEX (the Twitter hashtag for this Idea Camp):

The issues related to human sexuality are too often misunderstood, ignored, or avoided in far too many churches. The Idea Camp will facilitate a safe and transparent environment of learning, sharing of insights from the respective fields of focus, and practical insights and examples of holistic care. As a faith-based conference, there will be an on-going focus on the importance of living as God’s loving expressions of grace and hope to the world through tangible acts of care in this area.

During the weeks leading up to #ICSEX, different bloggers will be hosting conversations around a topic each week.  The first week has already wrapped up, and there have been many honest, challenging reflections already.  Upcoming topics will include sexual abuse, gender, and slavery.  I’m looking forward to hosting one of these discussions here at headsparks* in September.

Being part of The Idea Camp tribe has been so life-giving to me: nowhere else have I found the friendship, collaboration, and inspiration I have found from this diverse group of like-minded people.  This time, what happens in Vegas could transform the church and change the world!

My postmodern side should be more comfortable with this paradox, but I still struggle with the ways in which the blogosphere (and the rest of the internets) can be such a beneficial and frustrating place, all at the same time. 

Finding My Tribe

For someone like me who works in vocational church ministry, the blogosphere can be a very life-giving place. Church work can be isolating and discouraging.  Over the last couple of years, connecting with like-minded friends and colleagues from around the country has carried me through tough times.

Friends from The Idea Camp tribe (#ideacampers are the best!) regularly encourage, inspire and challenge me. The ethos of collaboration and innovation, especially from within the IC tribe, have been reason enough for me to remain active in the Twitterverse.

Static Prevails

But, then, there’s the flipside…

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Part four of my ongoing series of reflections on The Idea Camp (catch up on part one, part two, part three):

I loved seeing a wide range of speakers and facilitators presenting from the main stage.  It’s not just diversity for its own sake (which can so quickly devole into tokenism).  As David Gibbons shared with us at the Camp, creativity and life come from the margins, from intersections you might not otherwise cross. When we hear the same people making the same rounds from the same book tour on the same circuit…. well, you get the idea. That’s why I appreciated William Paul Young, author of The Shack, urging the National Pastors Convention to highlight women’s voices from the main stage there (this past year, the main stage was not the most diverse bunch).

The diversity at The Idea Camp was more than just cosmetic: we heard from pastors, non-profit innovators, business leaders, men, women, young, old, people from a variety of racial & ethnic backgrounds, the tech-savvy, the well-known and the not-as-well-known.  Kudos to Charles Lee for his vision of bringing together a remarkable group of people to lead & share.

For me, as an Asian American, every conference I attend is a cross-cultural experience.  Occasionally my wife and I talk about how difficult it is to find our place in life & ministry – not quite here or there most of the time.  It was encouraging to be reminded that diversity is an important part of creativity and listening for God’s voice.

Part three of an ongoing series of reflections about my Idea Camp experience (feel free to check out part one and part two)…

After I came home from The Idea Camp, my wife commented on how completely my inner geek had been unleashed.  “I had no idea,” she said to me, shaking her head.  It’s true — I spent a good deal of the weekend bathed in the warm glow of a small army of MacBooks running TweetDeck.

I definitely experienced firsthand what Charles Lee wrote, “Social networking is more than a nice tool, it’s cultural architecture.”  For me, tech facilitated friendship.  In some cases, I was able to connect with friends who I had only known through the blogosphere; in others, I met people face to face and have since been connected online.  In both cases, the transition from online to offline friendship was pretty seamless.  Gives me some hope for facilitating online/offline friendship and community in our church.

In terms of participation, tech opened doors for people to be involved in many different ways.  As DJ Chuang observes, The Idea Camp was a great venue for connecting the online and offline worlds, “We had as many people online as in-person at the event, Q&A was interaction with both onliners and offliners, relationships initiated online came together in person, etc.”

On a personal level, it was so encouraging to gather with like-minded friends who are asking similar questions and seeking to build God’s kingdom in their local communities. Working in church ministry has an isolating effect, and sometimes it’s good to get together with people who are thinking in the same direction just to know that you’re not crazy. I heard that same refrain recently from Mike Bishop, author of What is Church?, in describing the close friendship he has built with a group of people around the country that started with the question, We’re not crazy, are we?