'Twas the night before blog con, and all through the blogosphere...
Okay, nothing rhymes with "blogosphere." But it is the eve of the conference even so. A gathering conceived, in a sense, nine months ago when Thurman emailed to ask whether I thought it was a good idea to hold a convention for liberal bloggers of faith, and if I did, whether I'd be game to get involved in planning it. Endless emails, a ton of weekly conference calls, and a whole lot of planning later, we're actually on the cusp of doing this thing.
That our conference gestated for nine months is largely coincidental. When we started brainstorming and imagining what this project might become, we knew we needed a while to get a plan together. Some of us live by the academic calendar, so midsummer seemed like a fine time to gather. Having a nine-month planning period wasn't intentional, but the symbolism makes me laugh. This has certainly been a labor of love, and at times more work than I think any of us bargained for!
I don't entirely know what to expect. Sure, I know the logistical details: at last count we numbered about thirty confirmed participants, so our numbers will be somewhere in that ballpark. I know we are Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Jews and a couple of Pagans, too. I know we all care about faith -- whatever that term means to each of us -- and about social justice and the public sphere. I know what the panels and breakout sessions will be, and who's offered to run each one. I know who's leading the four different worship experiences. I know, at least in theory, how to find my hotel.
But I don't know what this is going to feel like. I've never run a conference before. I've never led worship for such an explicitly mixed-faith community. And I've never had the experience -- irreducible; un-duplicatable -- of sitting down with this particular group of people, and finding out who they are.
I'm trying to enter the weekend with as few expectations as possible. Expectations get in the way of reality, and I'd like to be fully alert and awake. I know there's a lot of cat-herding to be done, and I know I've probably forgotten something important, and I know it won't be possible for everyone there to have an amazing time every moment of the weekend. But I also know that we're creating something wonderful, something that's never existed before in quite this way, and I think there's a lot of potential here.
It's the eve of the first-ever Progressive Faith Blog Con. Laundry is tumbling in the dryer; my iPod and cellphone are charging. Maybe it's bedtime. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, and a long one.
To everyone I'll be seeing this weekend: I can't wait to meet you! And to those who won't be joining us, I hope you'll spare a thought for our enterprise, and wish us well.