Friday, February 6, 2015

House parties

I think I'm past house parties, unless they have the character of a conference, with decent accommodation, food and program that steers away from evangelical commonplaces.

It amazes me that Christians will happily spend the right $ to go to a work-related conference, to trip overseas on research (for their business or profession), and to holiday in pleasant surroundings, but seem to be reluctant to pay for a church sponsored weekend away in decent accommodation.

The church my family attended about 5 years ago went against the grain. For a men's retreat we booked accommodation and conference facilities at a modest hotel: the Carrington in Katoomba. One could have a single room with en suite (this one did), there was room service, good dining and interesting surroundings. Relaxed conversation in the bar of an evening was a plus.

As I recall, I'd under clothed for a cold snap and had to buy a sleeveless jacket at Mountain Designs, on sale, I'm happy to say; returning to the hotel, I happened by a second hand book shop where I bought copies of the New English Bible, Conzelmann's outline of NT theology, and, just to keep my hand in, Herbert Simon's Administrative Behaviour, a classic of organisation studies.

In earlier years I went to the conference centre at Stanwell Tops which had a quite good 'motel' style facility. This was a house party for young adults. In fact, I met my first 'proper' girl friend there (which was both good and bad...probably as it is for many).

That house party was fairly low key, absent the hype and excitement (over-excitement) of 'camps' I'd been on in younger years, and gave the opportunity for engagement of ideas. When one is younger, one is too tabula rasa for that. I blame skinny Sunday School teaching!

As I look back, the one thing that irked me about 'camps' was that the dining was almost exactly like that I experienced in an Army training camp (quality, distribution method, noise), but no pimply Second Lieutenants strutting around like over-cooked parking police. I much prefer waiters to bring me my food. I must say, it was much nicer at Victoria Barracks in the officers' mess.

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