Several months ago when my friend Mark suggested that I attend Unco, I had no idea what Unco was. Now, after the first day of Unco12, I’m not so sure I have any better of an idea.
We all seem to be having a lot of fun. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard! The type of conversations I’ve had are, well… Here’s some of the things I’ve talked about today: John Calvin, vampires, heresy, she-bears, seminary professors, hymn tune names, naked mole rats, pot/s, spiking wine with Gatorade, and Doctor Who (for a start).
Then there’s the worship! I had the great predestination to be a part of the Unco12 East opening worship music team. In a short period of time I learned three new songs (thankfully, we sang one song I already knew). I sang and played the shaker. Or does one shake a shaker? Anyway, the worship was streamlined yet still complete and authentic. Instead of a formal sermon or reflection the scripture passage was read (2 Kings 2:2:23-25 Elisha and the She-bears), and then the group brainstormed ideas about the passage, what was going on that the scripture doesn’t directly say, and whether or not the passage has any meaning for our lives today. I’m calling it stream of consciousness preaching because “brainstorm” doesn’t quite get to the heart of what happened.
I have been pleasantly shocked at how many people here I know from Twitter and how many people have said, “I read your blog.” I was so excited about it I texted my mom before dinner to tell her. (She now thinks I’m famous.) Almost everyone here has a Twitter account, and they had a live stream of tweets during the opening welcome and announcements.
I find myself checking my phone for tweets far more than usual. I’m meeting a lot of people for the first time or in person for the first time. People seem less censored than they would be in other contexts. Not in a bad way, but in a “these people get me” way. What’s amazing is these people do seem to get me, and it’s liberating.
What’s amazing is these people do seem to get me, and it’s liberating.
I’m an extrovert (with some introvert tendencies); I like talking to people. My worry is how much I have actually talked today. I can easily get swept up in the energy of a conversation, and I wonder if I have listened to the other Unco participants as they have listened to me. There’s so much going on at once. It almost makes me dizzy. I don’t feel frantic or anxious; but I do feel like there’s too much to do, too much to look at, too many conversations to have.
I’ve never been to a conference before, not a real one. I’ve been to snippets and lectures but never a full conference. It’s kind of like camp for grown-ups. Several of the Unco leaders have said that people can’t do everything… but I still want to. We still have days 2 and 3. Maybe by the end I will be wise enough to listen to the advice I’ve been given.
It’s also been raining all day. I’ve never heard the rain sound so beautiful.
Emily Hope Morgan is student at Princeton Seminary and a candidate for the ministry of teaching elder in the PC(USA). She writes the blog Fight the Bees which deals with pondering questions from a Millennial’s point of view.