Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kent Hughes Workshop and Live-Blog Debrief

Kent Hughes cropped This is probably a post that should be two posts, but I am going to try to combine them into one.  Earlier today I tried my first experience at live-blogging.  It was also my first time to attend the Spurgeon Fellowship at Western Seminary. (I was half way to Multnomah Biblical Seminary before I remembered that I was headed to the wrong one!!)

As for the workshop itself and Kent Hughes, it was very very good. 

I told a young pastor who grew up in our church here in Tigard that it was very "dense."  There was a lot packed into every minute that Kent Hughes spoke.  I am going to have to go back to my posts and kind of review and debrief.  What you got was what I have.  I just took notes and threw them up whenever I could catch my breath long enough to tether to my cell phone and upload the latest post.  (I have gone back and edited a few very blatant errors). 

It was heavy on inspiration.  Not as heavy on application.  I say that although his discussion of passion and the three tensions of the preacher that create passion/intensity was one of the best discussions I have ever heard of that subject. 

Next time (in about a month) Todd Miles (The King of the Kingdom) and Don Carson (A Pastoral Theology of Suffering and Evil ) will be the presenters.  If you are near Portland I would suggest penciling it in on your calendar.

Frankly one of the great aspects was the networking.  I saw more people that I expected that I knew at the event.  And God even ordained that I sit with a group of guys from Vernonia, OR, one of whom I had heard about (and had almost hired his father in law to my staff a couple of years back). I also found out that the guys at have their warehouse half-way between my home and office.  With an inventory of 1500 titles, that may not be a good thing to find out!



As for live-blogging.  That is a different matter.  I am still debating whether live-blogging  was really needed at this event.  It was only 2-1/2 hours of material.  (Although that is why I chose it as my first live-blog...I wanted something short and simple). 

I made sure I had an Internet connection backup.  I thought that surely Western Seminary had WiFi, but in case it was locked & I couldn't get onto it, I could always tether my cell phone.  Incredibly Western does not have WiFi.  For a first class institution like Western, I was flabbergasted.  (A helpful SF person said it is on the long-term goal list for the school. Oh, come on, people...don't embarrass yourselves by not having WiFi. I would recommend a student go elsewhere simply for THAT alone! WiFi is a part of the current educational mainstream! If Western is so behind in that, what else are they way behind on?) Fortunately I was able to tether.  More clumsy & slower, but it allowed me to connect.

While I DID bring my digital camera, I didn't bring the right cable to connect it to my laptop (I thought I had, but I hadn't).  So the picture of Kent Hughes above is all you get! Some resources suggest posting video clips, using your web cam. I'm not ready for that yet. (Plus I don't have a web cam).

I only did the one picture after I realized I didn't have the proper cable.  I was also intimidated to be taking flash photos during the session.  if I had more "official" permission to live-blog this event (is that necessary?  I should really check that out), I might have been more daring about taking more photos. 

Beth Kantor says,

I also try to get several photos that capture the essence of what it was like to be in the room.  I'll photograph the speaker, selected slides or flipchart notes, and people in the room. If someone asks a particularly compelling question or says something, I will photograph that as well.  I upload the flickr photos using the uploader tool into their own set and annotate them with notes.  However, now that I've recently upgraded my camera phone - I will play with using email to flickr option.

I have discovered a little software called CoverItLive.  I may download it and experiment with it before next month.  (Next month I am planning on live-blogging Preaching magazine's Preaching West Conference in Newport Beach, CA. I am registered and have contact Michael Diduit--the editor--but no response yet as to whether he will officially recognize my live-blogging.)   My Windows Live Writer worked OK, but I think CoverItLive lets you be more immediate.  It says it also allows you to take questions, to post polls, makes it easier to post pictures, videos, etc.  We'll see.

I wish that I had had the guts to ask if I could announce that I was live-blogging.  But since it was really an experiment, that was OK.  The advantage of doing that, especially in a place that is wired for WiFi, is that other attenders can check on and get parts of the notes that they missed while the session is still going on.  But today, even without WiFi, it would have let people know that notes were available online.

Aaron Uhrmacher from says:

Live blogging allows those that aren’t at the event to participate remotely, and it also helps facilitate a conversation among attendees by giving them access to content they might have missed as well as a place where they can discuss it.

One advantage for me of live-blogging is that I am MUCH more thorough in my note taking than I would be if I were just taking notes for myself.  The disadvantage is that I feel like more of a scribe.  It is harder to process what is being said (particularly in a "dense" presentation like Hughes') in real time while you are live-blogging. 

So, was it a success?  Yes and no. I am not totally satisfied with the quality of the live-blogging notes.  There is NO online real-time interaction with the material.  Hopefully that will get better with experience.  And (as I said above) the WiFi situation was frustrating.

But it WAS a success in that I pulled it off. It WAS a success in that it helped me lay a groundwork to find out what I need to do better next time.  And (hopefully) it DID provide some gems for you to aid in your preaching.  If so, let me know.

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