A major thank you to everyone who was involved with our first ever mini-conference at the end of January. About 60 of us gathered for 36 hours at the beautiful Christ Episcopal Church in Pensacola, FL, to hear about “God’s Grace In A World Of Glory”. It was a blast!

The conference opened with dinner Friday night (Mbird cake!), followed by the opening talk from Dr. Mark Mattes: “The Theology Of The Cross Today” – the audio of which you can download by clicking on the title.

On Saturday, Dr. Mattes (pictured below) kicked things off with his characteristically profound “Luther As Pastoral Theologian” – a better distillation of the theological underpinnings of Mbird would be hard to find. Due to the absent-mindedness of the mgmt (DZ), this talk wasn’t recorded. Fortunately, Dr. Mattes has agreed to let us offer the text of it – here. Highly, highly recommended.

We then split into two groups for breakout sessions. I hate to play favorites but if there was a single high-point of the event, it may have been Gil Kracke’s “Like a Rolling Stone: The Law of Inertia and Human Psychology (starring Kanye West)”, a deeply creative look at how an object/person in motion will stay in motion and an object/person at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside Force. Do yourself a favor and listen now! Displacement shall be our watchword. Click on the title to download and here for the Powerpoint portion. Gil used three video clips: The Whale, Alec Baldwin, and Kayne/Leno (wherein the left hand of God takes the form of Jay Leno, producing genuine contrition with one swift blow):

I took the other group and spoke on the subject of Judgment and Love in Pop Culture, using clips from the TV show Friday Night Lights as my principle illustration.

Dr. Mattes addressed us after lunch on the subject of The Captivated Will – always a crowd-pleaser – you can listen to the audio here. I think you’ll agree that Dr. M really nails this difficult subject. Finally, yours truly tried his best to avoid embarrassment, bringing the event to a close with a brief sermon (major ht to JAZ and NL).

All in all, a wonderful and very life-giving time. Again, an enormous thank you to Christ Church for hosting us and to Jeff and Kerry Hual for going so far above and beyond the call of duty.

To download everything as one big file, click here.